Friday, 14 May 2010

Dave or David, Nick or Nicholas?

Given names often cause problems. I happen to have a Welsh one which gives people a lot of problems. I shortened it from 'Wynford' years ago. (There used to be a Welsh televison broadcaster called Wynford Vaughan Thomas who was a kind of sidekick to David Dimbleby on state occasions: I am not named after him!)

It is becoming increasingly common to call politicians by their first names as celebrity culture takes hold. It all started with the last London mayoral election when it was 'Ken' or 'Boris' or sometimes the affectionate 'Bozza'.

In private before the election David Cameron used to say 'Call me Dave!' But now he is prime minister, we must refer to him as David. But why is it Nick rather than Nicholas? I was talking with a colleague yesterday who specialises in culture and the media and she suggested that 'Nicholas' was a child's name.

Obviously it's 'Ken' Clarke as he is so blokeish. William Hague tried to be blokeish as opposition leader, but never shortened his name to 'Bill'. Just as well now that he is Foreign Secretary. George Osborne changed his first name from Gideon which was a smart move. I suppose one could shorten 'Theresa' to 'Tessa', but 'Theresa' sounds better for a Home Secretary. Incidentally, I have met her and I think that she is both very pleasant and very sharp. Choosing distinctive shoes is a smart branding device.

On the Labour benches, it's 'Ed' rather than 'Edward' Miliband. But David Miliband is not 'Dave'. I think he should become 'Dave' now to enhance his populist appeal. I knew their father slightly and I have to say that he is one of the few people I really disliked and not just because he was a Marxist. I actually find Ed a lot smarter and more likeable than Dave and it appears they are going to stand against each other for the leadership. Whether Yvette Cooper will stand against her husband remains to be seen, but she is smarter and more likeable.


Anonymous said...

There is a lot of talk about what will happen in relation to tax increases with VAT going up - how much can the new government realistically increase VAT - to 20%, or more?

Wyn Grant said...

20 per cent would be the max, it boosts inflation and hits the poor. Of course, they could widen the scope of VAT as so many things are exempt: food, children's clothes, books and newspapers, electricity/gas at 5 per cent. I think a 1 per cent increase is more likely in the first instance (and only marginal widening).

Anonymous said...


Do you think there is any possibility of Cruddas becoming Labour Party leader (if he enters the contest)? They say he has the support of trade unions, which forms one third of Labour's votes. Or do you think it is a straight horse race between the Miliband brothers?

Wyn Grant said...

But not all unions will support him. If one gets a crowded field however, the outcome becomes more uncertain.