Sunday 7 March 2010

Kangaroo Court

The Labour-dominated Commons Public Administration Committee will hold a one-day inquiry later this month into the whole affair. The three Conservative members of the committee have said they will not attend what the party regards as a "kangaroo court".

As a child I used to, quite literally, dream of kangaroo courts. As parrots can speak and beavers build, so I faithfully believed that kangaroos were the only mammals to have developed a fully working parallel legal system. It seemed the perfect place to try a cat burglar. In fact, though, it is a kangaroo court because it proceeds in leaps. Oddly, the phrase is not Australian but popped up in mid nineteenth century Texas. There's an important linguistic lesson to be learned from that, but I'm not sure what it is.

1 comment:

  1. The Antipodean19 June 2010 at 08:36

    That's amazing: I somehow thought it was connected with being fake or amateur, and when I stop and think about it, there is no logical connection between kangaroos and those attributes. My belief in the kangaroo's international reputation for integrity is restored.

    So it's a court that jumps to conclusions, hey?