'Omni-shambles' – give credit to the great Armando Iannucci

Apr 19, 2012
Nigel Horne

It's the word of the moment, but both Miliband and Naughtie need to credit their source

BBC RADIO Today programme co-host Jim Naughtie became the butt of online ridicule this morning when he credited Ed Miliband for coining the phrase "omnishambles", used by the Labour leader at PMQs yesterday to describe the fallout from George Osborne's Budget.

Naughtie is clearly not a regular viewer of writer-producer Armando Ianucci's brilliant political satire, The Thick Of It. It was, of course, Iannucci who coined the phrase for his fictional Scottish enforcer Malcolm Tucker  - played by Peter Capaldi - along with such gems as "clusterf**k" and "He's as useless as a marzipan dildo".

PoliticsHome editor Paul Waugh was first out of the blocks to correct Naughtie, tweeting: "I think someone shd tell Jim Naughtie that EdM didn't 'coin' the phrase 'Omnishambles'."

Iannucci himself had already responded to Miliband's "borrowing" of the expression at PMQs yesterday. Miliband told David Cameron: "This Budget comprehensively fails the test of fairness and it spectacularly fails the test of competence...

"We are all keen to hear the prime minister's view as to why, four weeks on from the Budget, even people within Downing Street are calling it an omni-shambles Budget."

Iannucci tweeted: "Fantastic. With the royalties from Miliband's 'omnishambles' quote we've now secured enough funding for a new series."

It's now fast becoming the word of the moment. Former Tory party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft used it in a piece about the UKIP threat for ConservativeHome today in which he wrote that the Budget fallout had been "unkindly... but, sadly, correctly" called an omnishambles.

It's even been employed today to describe the disarray at the Home Office over the deportation of Abu Qatada.

The only question remaining is how do you spell it? One word, or hyphenated – omni-shambles? I'd ask Malcolm Tucker but I know what the response would be:



"NOMFuP. N-O-M-F-P. Not My F***ing Problem."

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