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.