I was listening to the radio this morning when the word palimpsest cropped up in a conversation about Tory canvassing in Yorkshire. This is one of those words that I thought I had probably heard before, but never troubled to look up in the dictionary.
The context in which it was used was quite apt. A palimpsest is a parchment which has been erased, or partially erased, in order to make room for a new text. The Yorkshireman being interviewed was referring to the wiping away of recent promises made by David Cameron’s Tory government, replaced by more austere measures proposed by Theresa May’s Tory campaign team. No more guarantees for those nearing state pensionable age and means testing for the pensioners’ winter fuel allowance.
Some promises are carved in stone, such as the ‘Edstone’, Ed Milliband’s general election pledges. Unfortunately, Labour lost that election and the 8ft 6in, two-tonne slab of limestone is also seemingly lost.
The embattled current Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn’s catchphrase for Labour’s election hopes is “for the many not the few”. I feel a landslide coming…