Features > Word of the undead

19 June 2014 | by John Morrish

Word of the undead

IN THE wake of the recent Budget, one phrase was used over and over again on the airwaves. Various Opposition figures told us that the Coalition was a “zombie government”, and the BBC’s commentators joined them. It was as if they’d lost control of their own mental processes.By a “zombie government” they meant one that had effectively died, but carried on living, after a fashion. It is a striking metaphor, though not a new one. I would trace its vogue in Britain back to Jon Ashworth, MP for Leicester South and shadow Cabinet Office minister, who used it in an article in the New Statesman in February. A month before that, it had appeared, attributed to “Labour figures”, in a piece in The Independent; a piece detailing just how little legislati


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