Friday, October 03, 2008

Majestic turn of phrase

I like the wording of the press release:

The Queen has been pleased to signify her intention of conferring a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life on the Rt Hon Peter Mandelson.

My first thought was that “has been pleased” suggested that while she spent some time in the past being pleased about this, she no longer has been for quite a while. But really it’s not a question of tense: it’s the passive voice. Somebody else has pleased her to signify this intention.

A bit uncomfortable, having to say that you want all these things that the Prime Minister has decided in your name – still, that’s constitutional monarchy for you. We get to elect people to use her prerogative for her, and she gets to live in a load of big houses for free.

And I’m sure Lord Mandelson will be pleased for quite some time to come.

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