Author: StJohn Piano
Published: 2019-08-04
Datafeed Article 117
This article has been digitally signed by Edgecase Datafeed.
208 words - 46 lines - 2 pages

From an article by Daniel Finkelstein:

Every profession has its jargon, designed to allow insiders to talk to each other without accidentally enlightening outsiders. My first jobs were in computing, a field which raises jargon to an art form. But when I started in politics I found that didn't do too badly either.

The most important technical term I was taught was "LTT". This stands for line to take: the position every leading member of a party should take on any given issue. There is an LTT for everything, even the smallest question a politician might be asked. It is usually a single paragraph and then, to help if further detail is sought, a couple more paragraphs are provided under the heading "if pressed".

When someone in politics is described as "a safe pair of hands" it means they are able to remember the LTT on anything, even under pressure. They can make it sound convincing and as if they've just thought of it, even when, as is often the case, it isn't and they haven't. I recall one minister in the Lords following the LTT and then reading out loud the words "if pressed" before reciting the rest. This person was not "a safe pair of hands".

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I recently read this excerpt in an article by Daniel Finkelstein in a paper copy of The Telegraph (a UK newspaper).

I took a photo of it, for later transcription. The photo did not include the date or page number.

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