Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson face up in the Mayor of London election campaign, provoking the question on the DT blog of whether KL really is “scum”. Well, in some ways a silly question of course, but semantically speaking I’ve always been puzzled by the word “scum”, which is a perfectly normal phenomenon, is totally unselfish and indeed unfeeling and though a bit unsightly does no harm.
All this is a long way removed from KL of course. Nope – we are going to have to find a better word than “scum”. I mean, which among us does not leave scum after a bath? Except non-workers who lounge about and take three baths a day, thus not having time to build up enough hard-working dirt on their soft skins to leave any scum.
“Pest” would be better, deriving from the French La peste = plague. Plague is surely more appropriate for the Newtkeeper.
“Scab” is analagous of course. Indeed, without a scab you’d probably get septicaemia, so its use as a term of opprobrium for non-striking workers is silly.
Still, Homo Sapiens didn’t get where he is today by not being silly ……