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May 15, 2015

In all the anguished soul-searching following Labour’s dismal showing at the polls last week, one word has been much to the fore: the problem, say critics, is that the party has been taken over by pointyheads. That’s a strange expression, isn’t it? It means intellectuals, theoreticians, people who are more enthused by abstract ideas than the reality of actual politics on the ground; and I think it’s only ever used of leftwing intellectuals. Apparently it was coined by George Wallace, the segregationist governor of Alabama in the 1960s, who referred contemptuously to “pointy-head college professors who can’t even park a bicycle straight”.

Not sure what I think about it. On the one hand it is quite funny, evoking a pleasantly weird image of a cone-headed alien. But on the other hand it doesn’t seem quite the right image. Wouldn’t someone with an overdeveloped brain have a big, bulbous head rather than a pointy one?

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One Comment
  1. I agree Brandon, although I remember (and prefer) the term Tefal Head

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