'Aspiration Nation' and other Tory leadership campaign bullshit translated

CONSERVATIVE leadership hopefuls are using phrases like ‘personal responsibility’ and ‘aspiration nation’ in their speeches. But what do they really mean?

‘No comforting fairy tales’

Rishi Sunak pledged to get tough and confront the problems facing the country head on, rather than telling people ‘comforting fairy tales’. Which translates as ‘everything is going to be f**king awful but I’m still trying to sugarcoat the truth because I want you to make me prime minister’.

‘Low tax, small state, personal responsibility’

All of these phrases, used by Penny Mourdant in her campaign launch speech, are firm favourites with Tory voters. In their ears, they translate to ‘keep your money for yourself rather than giving it to dole scum scroungers’ and ‘you can afford to pay for private health care so f**k everyone else’. No wonder she’s one of the favourites to win.

‘The Ben & Jerry’s tendency’

Kemi Badenoch used this phrase to hit out at businesses who show an interest in social justice as well as profit, but she might as well have just yelled ‘Go woke, go broke!’ like a demented Twitter troll. However, given that Ben & Jerry’s made $170 million last year, it doesn’t seem that their ethical approach is doing them much harm.

‘Our party has lost its sense of self’

Penny Mourdant again, showing plenty of tact with this phrase when presumably what she actually wanted to say was ‘Our party has lost its f**king mind’. A sly little dig at the carnage of the Boris Johnson years, here Penny is promising to get the Tories back to being competently awful rather than chaotically awful.

‘Aspiration nation’

Part of Liz Truss’ campaign speech, ‘aspiration nation’ translates to ‘I reckon I’ve already got this in the bag so I’ll say some vacuous shit that rhymes and not worry about having any policies with real substance’. Unfortunately for Truss it looks like Mourdant is trouncing her, so she may be regretting this snappy little phrase now.

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Six summer garden fun products you already wish you hadn't bought

WANT to make your garden the envy of your neighbours with fun features and activities? Here are some suggestions that are guaranteed to end up as landfill.

A waterslide

A plastic sheet you unroll on the lawn and connect to a hose is great for children who weigh very little. Several friction burns and bruised ribs later you’ll be saying it’s a dangerous product, rather than admitting that hurling a heavy, unfit adult male – ie. you –  onto it at a sprint is actually quite stupid.

A pointless gazebo

Keeps the sun off, but this grey plastic eyesore looks every bit as cheap as it was. With the sides down it’s like sitting in a tiny, flimsy warehouse. Perhaps you shouldn’t have developed a detailed fantasy of sipping G&Ts and having witty, flirtatious conversations with pretty Edwardian ladies in a gazebo in the gardens of your imaginary stately home.

A ready-made plastic pond

Very relaxing, and the aquatic life will be educational for the kids. Until you realise you know f**k all about ponds and should have installed a water pump. Now you’ve got an evil-smelling vat of murky water, and the kids shriek with terror not delight as they discover a decomposing frog floating dead-eyed among the algae, like a horror version of The Wind in the Willows.

Giant jenga

Not as naff as giant chess, but the novelty soon wears off and they’re just sitting there like an unsightly pile of wooden house bricks. You could try using them to light the barbecue, but the varnish might be toxic. Looks like you’re having a very expensive bonfire this year.


The most frustrating activity known to man. The smallest bump in your lawn will send the ball off in a random direction. You’ve had a good game if just one of them edges through a hoop. During croquet’s many appearances in period dramas, the characters should be saying: ‘I must confess to a certain fondness for Miss Charlotte GO THROUGH THE F**KING HOOP YOU F**KER!’

Gladiators-style inflatable pugil sticks

Totally harmless fun, right? Now spend hours comforting sobbing children who’ve been smacked in the face repeatedly by an evil sibling. Or an over-competitive, super-fit friend comes over for drinks and gives you a surprisingly vicious and humiliating battering. Off to the shed they go, never to be spoken of again.