After googling unsuccesfully for 20 minutes or so, can I ask if any of the learned rightpondians here can identify the quotation, attributed I believe to Ernest Bevin, which goes something like: "The honourable gentleman's speech was a disgrace; clitch after clitch after clitch ...."

Judging by the number of references on google, it seems that the expression "cliché after cliché" is itself something of a clitch.
Philip Eden
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After googling unsuccesfully for 20 minutes or so, can I ask if any of the learned rightpondians here can identify ... expression "cliché after cliché" is itself something of a clitch. Philip Eden a disgrace; clitch after clitch after clitch ...."

The curse of spell checker strikes again?
After googling unsuccesfully for 20 minutes or so, can I ... Philip Eden a disgrace; clitch after clitch after clitch ...."

The curse of spell checker strikes again?

No, that's how Bevin pronounced it.
m.
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After googling unsuccesfully for 20 minutes or so, can I ask if any of the learned rightpondians here can identify ... the number of references on google, it seems that the expression "cliché after cliché" is itself something of a clitch.

A 1981 (London) Times book review of David Carlton's Anthony Eden: A Biography says that Eden was the subject of Bevin's supposed malapropism. Here's an earlier reference in another Times review:

Anglo-Catholic upper crust, by Laurence Cotterell
Review of: The Seven Ages, Their Exits and Their
Entrances , by Christopher Hollis
The Times (London), Thursday, May 02, 1974; pg. 12

Remembering Ernie Bevin's description of Eden's oratory as "Clich, clich, clich", Mr Hollis tells us that Bevin "was unaware that cliché was a French word", but Bevin was a great one for pretending to be what others expected him to be, and his self-parody could well have been lost on the Etonian.
The curse of spell checker strikes again?

No, that's how Bevin pronounced it. m.

Oh, right. I wonder if there's a term for deliberatly mispronouncing foreign-sounding words - like Churchill taking the /t/ out of 'Nazi'. Bevin wasn't a man to do it out of ignorance. In Oldham Lancs people always pronounce 'clique' as 'click'.
DC
After googling unsuccesfully for 20 minutes or so, can I ask if any of the learned rightpondians here can identify the quotation, attributed I believe to Ernest Bevin, which goes something like: "The honourable gentleman's speech was a disgrace; clitch after clitch after clitch .."

Certainly many others believe it was Bevin. I've seen it quoted as "awful" rather than "a disgrace". I also got some hits on "clich". But like you I couldn't find any original record.

Mike Barnes
Cheshire, England
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After googling unsuccesfully for 20 minutes or so, can I ... speech was a disgrace; clitch after clitch after clitch ...."

A 1981 (London) Times book review of David Carlton's Anthony Eden: A Biography says that Eden was the ... pretending to be what others expected him to be, and his self-parody could well have been lost on the Etonian.

Thankyou. How oddly appropriate, slightly disturbing even, that I should have sought the identity of a namesake.

Philip Eden (no relation)
A 1981 (London) Times book review of David Carlton's ... his self-parody could well have been lost on the Etonian.

Thankyou. How oddly appropriate, slightly disturbing even, that I should have sought the identity of a namesake. Philip Eden (no relation)

To Ernie is attributed also a mot on the Council of Europe - 'If you open that Pandora's Box you never know what Trojan 'orses will jump out.' and, to Lord Strang after officially recognising Communist China, ' I didn't ought never to have done it. It was you, Willie, what put me up to it.' It is also said that FDR found him so wise he asked where he was educated and Ernie allegedly replied 'Sir, I gathered my knowledge on the hedgerows of experience.'
I suspect that, like many Trade Unionists of his generation, Ernie read widely and found it advantageous to underplay his literacy.

BTW Philip - saw you on that five Documentary about London, speaking wisely of the Thames Barrier. You never let on you were so dashingly handsome ...
John Dean
Oxford
No, that's how Bevin pronounced it.

Oh, right. I wonder if there's a term for deliberatly mispronouncing foreign-sounding words - like Churchill taking the /t/ out of 'Nazi'. Bevin wasn't a man to do it out of ignorance. In Oldham Lancs people always pronounce 'clique' as 'click'.

There was a well established tradition by his time that Labour politicians of working-class origins kept the accent they grew up with. The dropped aitch was a particular characteristic, and used to annoy the Tories no end. J.H.Thomas, in the generation before Bevin, once complained of an 'eadache. A Tory colleague waspishly suggested that he should take a couple of aspirates. Bevin could certainly have "talked posh" if he had wanted - but he didn't want.

Don Aitken
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