BUSINESS QUESTION – LABOUR JARGON – 22 November 2001

Dr Julian Lewis: Did the Leader of the House [Robin Cook] see today's report in The Times which read:

"Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, is to announce the death of Cool Britannia, the slogan that summed up Tony Blair's flirtation with youth culture … She will describe the label … as meaningless."

May we please have a statement from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport so that Opposition Members can congratulate her on that sudden outburst of candour, and may we offer a similar incentive to other Ministers who have been promoting meaningless slogans similarly to dispose of such catch-words and catch- phrases as "stakeholders", "communitarianism", "the third way", "joined-up government" and – last but not least – that, under Labour, "things can only get better"?

[Robin Cook: I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his preparation. He has elevated the question to an art form and deserves congratulations from both sides of the House on entertaining us. Whether, as well as entertaining us, he illuminates politics in our time, I am more doubtful. I have heard "cool Britannia" buried three times over the past three years, and I am not surprised to hear it all over again. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman will find that the phrase has been used by any Government Minister for a very long time.]