10 NOVEMBER 1990, Page 9


TRAGIC EVENTS As in 'rebuilding confidence after the tragic events of 4 June,' the phrase appears consistently in Foreign Office material that is in- serted in the press. Lovers of the mot juste may prefer to say 'rebuilding confi- dence after the colossal massacre,' rather than 'tragic events.'

NUCLEAR. It can mean 'evil' in some engage mouths. I am not convinced that nuclear power is evil. The trouble with it is that the power stations run on poison, and make poison as a by- product of electricity. If the poison is kept in bottles and pipes all the time, then everything is good, but if the poison is not, then things can get very bad indeed.

STATUS SYMBOL The cant content is that only symbols of high status are acknowledged as status symbols, and the term has a missing hemisphere of white socks, gold chains and orange Ford Capris. Electronic parole tags, personal vermin, and any kind of shop- ping bag with wheels are good examples of unacknowledged status symbols.

Nigel Burke