Thursday 30 September 2010


Sometimes I just like to sit around and contemplate a word's original meaning. Undermining, for example, is an old military technique used in sieges. One way of getting through the castle walls was to tunnel underneath them until the collapsed. Thus all this talk about David Miliband undermining his brother gives me the image of a bunch of Blairite politicians with pick-axes and miner's helmets chipping away in the dark beneath Labour HQ.

Incidentally, the idea was not that the tunnel would collapse upon the diggers, although I'm sure this often happened. The attackers would dig a little mine under the walls, then they would put an explosive in there, light the fuse and run. That's why explosives are to this day called mines, because that's where they were left. Thus a connection between miners and minefields.

The Inky Fool was interrupted mid-attack

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