Bernard Ingham: A definition of good sense in this world of nincompoops

Gyles Brandreth, a one-time Tory MP, has inspired the latest column by Sir Bernard Ingham.
Gyles Brandreth, a one-time Tory MP, has inspired the latest column by Sir Bernard Ingham.
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AT last I have discovered my value to the nation. That troubadour of stage, screen and radio, Gyles Brandreth, reports that a Devon publisher has compiled a list of 600 English words that have either gone out of fashion or are fading fast. I am doing my best to keep them alive.

I am certainly not often these days called a curmudgeon. In any case, I prefer cantankerous. Nor have I lately heard my views reasonably described as antediluvian.

Sir Bernard Ingham laments the decline of statesmen like President George H W Bush who died last Friday.

Sir Bernard Ingham laments the decline of statesmen like President George H W Bush who died last Friday.

Which brings me to lickspittles, ignoramuses and nincompoops. I often hear myself uttering these splendid words when I read of the foibles of human nature in newspapers.

Nincompoops exactly sums up this generation of chief constables. They witter endlessly about cuts, manpower shortages and indicate they are not much interested in burglary, theft, shoplifting or such fiddle faddle, as distinct from so-called hate crimes.

They can always find the resources to pursue them – and deck their cars with the colours of the rainbow in solidarity with “Gay Pride”.

As officials supposed to earn their emoluments (another endangered word) upholding the law, they must be daft ha’porths if they cannot see all this encourages crime. I am inclined to believe that if only they would vamoose the crime wave would plummet.

The NHS must think we are all ignoramuses when it, too, ululates – i.e. screeches – about cuts, or, more accurately, getting less than it demanded. Yet we are told that nearly 102,000 jobs are vacant as another killer winter approaches. That must be saving a tidy packet.

I am not surprised at their staff problems, as the grandfather of a junior doctor, when the General Medical Council tells us that a quarter of trainee doctors feel burnt out.

Are they just there for exploitation or does the system want to retain their services?

As for lickspittles, I can think of no better word for all those in authority who cave in to the latest manifestation of ultra-sensitivity in our society.

These “snowflakes” (a new word) are ubiquitous – in local and national government, public and private services, industry and especially education.

Dammit, if Marks & Spencer or any other draper wants to flog ladies’ 
scanties – or unmentionables as they used to be called – as Christmas presents, they are perfectly entitled to do so without the malign attentions of feminist termagants.

I am also convinced that the LGBT lot would put the flag out shouting “Yes” – or preferably “Yoiks” – if they could cause me to doubt my sexuality after sticking happily with my birth gender since 1932.

This brings me to animal rights militants. I abhor cruelty to dumb animals – and to garrulous ones, too – but they are zany when they take a dislike to the village of Wool. I do hope they are made of stern stuff down at the 
Woolpack and that old Bradfordians still speak with pride of the old wool capital of the world.

And to think they are blathering on about wool when assorted plastic fibres are poisoning the planet. They must be juggins – which is another more attractive way of saying simple-minded.

You can be sure the juggins are everywhere when a Russian KGB general and pal of that well-known assassin, Vladimir Putin, gets considered as head of Interpol.

They must also be in charge of justice when old soldiers are persecuted to the grave while IRA terrorists get off scot-free.

I am filled with inspissated gloom when the Bank of England, following the discredited Treasury, suggests Armageddon is at hand if we leave the EU without a deal and poverty if we half escape its clutches. Enough of this shilly- shallying.

On the basis of the dire – and duff – advice given to Margaret Thatcher in 
1981 by 364 economists, I know that we shall prosper mightily, after a hiccup or two, if we just walk out on March 29, next year

Gadzooks, you may be saying, about my discontent with the world as I find it.

But take heart. The late US president George Bush senior was none of these things. He is esteemed for his old- fashioned concept of public service. In my direct experience, he was honest, decent and kind. These people do still exist.

Endangered language can also warm the heart. Nothing caused my grandson as a boy to fall apart helpless with giggles more than my shouting “You blithering idiot” at some road hog.

The world is in a blithering mess but nil illegitimi carborundum: don’t let the so-and-sos grind you down. George HW Bush didn’t.