Maddy Bunting Sensible Column Shocker!

No, really, she\’s actually managed to make contact with the same planet the rest of us live on:

No, Brown is much too savvy a politician; he\’s been wary of going anywhere near this most difficult of public debates. Yet in a poll in the summer, voters put reducing immigration as the task they most wanted the new prime minister to tackle, well ahead of health or education. He may dodge the issue today, but at some point Brown has to get stuck into how you persuade the voters that: a) migrants bring economic benefits – indeed, parts of our economy would collapse without them; b) rapid migration is not a cost-free option; and c) it\’s worth paying for.

What is the world coming too when we\’ve got good sense from the Mahdi in The Guardian?

10 thoughts on “Maddy Bunting Sensible Column Shocker!”

  1. Mark:

    The expression has not–at least ordinarily in American English discourse–the negative implications of either of your suggestions, nor even of another you might’ve included: “clever. ” It’s something a bit different, implying total but, more especially, practically-oriented comprehension.

    These words that attempt to convey the state of a person’s knowledge (or sophistication in a certain respect) are all somewhat inexact, though their intention is to augment meaning rather than to merely “slangify” it, though such tendencies are, themselves, somewhat in the nature of trying to improve on the terms provided in standard language. Thus, a couple generations ago, arose (from jazz musician-speak, apparently) “Are you hip?”, “Dig?”, etc. Yiddish provided another which can be heard occasionally (though less nowadays) in common parlance: “fishtay?” (actually a slang rendering of the German “Verstehen?”).

    Words such as “know,” “be aware,” and “understand” are all serviceable but also, in some respects fall short of the meaning-transmission some attempt to remedy through the use of other expressions. How well they succeed, I couldn’t begin to say.


    I don’t believe the term is especially an American expression; I’d guess it to have Latin roots and to be related to a word like “savant” or even the Fr. expression “savoir-faire.”

  2. Mark, Gene beat me to it. Your words are synonyms for sure, but they do not mean exactly the same thing. Cunning or devious implies something underhand, whereas savvy does not really carry that connotation. “Clued-up” maybe a bit closer but to me seems an uglier expression that savvy.

  3. New words for new things are just fine. But no feature of the character or intellect or behaviour of a politician can possibly be new. So “savvy” simply marks the failure to choose a suitable word from the existing stock; a mark of impatience or ignorance or affectation. Up with which I need not put.

  4. Ok, I’ll buy that. I agree, I prefer shrewd to savvy. Still, Ms M so rarely talks sense, it seems churlish to pick her up on that on the one time she says something worth hearing

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