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Artillery Row

A guide to British electoral vocabulary

From “adviser” to “woman”, here is what it really means

Adviser (n.) Enabler.

Apathy (n.) A mysterious condition that causes voters to believe that they have no good options.

Brexit (n.) 1. The best reason to vote for the Conservatives. 2. The best reason to vote against the Conservatives.

Campaign relaunch (n.) An attempt to refresh inferior material. (See also: polishing a turd.)

Canvassing (n.) The creation of a tissue of lies.

CCHQ (n., archaic) Election winning machine.

Coalition (n.) Two failures somehow becoming a success.

Community (n.) Ethnic group.

Count Binface (n.) A satirical character, expressing ridiculous opinions in order to make a joke of British politics. (See also: “the Green Party”.)

Debate (n.) Professional wrestling for even more maladjusted viewers.

Devolution (n.) The opposite of evolution.

Dog whistle (n.) An opinion somewhere to the right of David Cameron’s.

Doorstep (n.) A quasi-religious site that MPs visit, pilgrim-like, every election cycle to ask for forgiveness.

Extreme (adj.) Disagreeable to Times columnists and Goalhanger Podcasts presenters.

Frosty (adj.) The feeling of being on a list but not in fact being wanted.

Hustings (n.) Events at which prospective MPs address voters. The worst idea for a date night in the world.

Jeremy Corbyn (n.) An ancient curse. 

“This is a man who stood next to Jeremy Corbyn. OOGA BOOGA BOOGA!” (See also: “Liz Truss”.)

John Curtice (n.) The Father Christmas of elections.

Major row (n.) Passing commotion.

Manifesto (n.) The most tedious genre of fiction.

Moderate (adj.) Agreeable to Times columnists and Goalhanger Podcasts presenters.

Modernise (v.) Make worse.

Pandemic (n.) A mythical period of consensus. (See also: “the London Olympics”.)

Payne (n.) The sensation one experiences after being denied a safe seat.

Plan (n.) A series of goals which politicians develop before elections and forget afterwards.

Pledge (n.) Bait.

Podcast (n.) Where political and journalistic careers go to die.

Polling (n.) Advanced guesswork.

Proportional representation (n.) The ideal voting system for opinion commentators — if it wasn’t for those damn voters.

Punditry (n.) Glorified unemployment.

Realignment (n.) 1. The process by which a party magically aligns itself with your political perspective. A fantasy of opinion columnists.

Russian disinformation (n.) The only reason people disagree with your politics.

Safe seat (n.) 1. A safe Labour seat. 2. A marginal Conservative seat.

Sleaze (n.) Sin for Godless people.

Spin (n.) Lying for nerds.

Spoilt ballot (n.) A once clean piece of paper marked with the names of politicians.

Standing down (v.) Fleeing a sinking ship.

Turnout (n.) A means of gauging the national depression.

U-turn (n.) The turning of a politician from one insincere opinion to the next.

Voter ID (n.) An attempt to exclude people from the democratic process by making casting a vote as difficult as buying alcohol in your twenties.

WhatsApp (n.) 1. A safe platform for private communications. 2. A goldmine for journalists.

Woman (n.) That which must be defined.

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