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Mind your language

Who came up with the analogy of carrying a Ming vase?

22 June 2024

9:00 AM

22 June 2024

9:00 AM

‘Evelyn Waugh,’ said my husband when I asked who came up with the analogy of carrying a Ming vase. He was, in a way, right, but wrong too.

Every political commentator, it seems, has been talking of Sir Keir Starmer’s Ming vase strategy in approaching the election. In April 2021 Decca Aitkenhead was reminded of Roy Jenkins’s observation that before the 1997 election: ‘Tony Blair took such care not to make any mistakes, he resembled “a man carrying a priceless Ming vase across a highly polished floor”.’

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