In the middle of an election campaign the thoughtful cabinet minister is offered an answer to what the profound change might be amidst the crises and scandals. For now it comes in the form of a single word: Clegg.
Remarkable in any event but particularly so given what K Amis has to say here in his discussion of symbolic forms ('that class of word that stands somewhere between onomatopoeic words like cuckoo and sizzle on the one hand and ordinary non-echoic words like beauty and bedstead on the other'). The word that attracts Amis's attention is pig, and having dealt with its unfortunate beginning of 'pi-', one it shares with pimp, pish and piss, he moves across to its ending:
To take the other end of the word, of monosyllables with a short vowel ending in '-g', a large number again convey contempt, some of them again indelicate and several of them slang: bag, cag [?], drag, fag, slag, nag (in two senses), shag, hag, dreg, prig (archaic slang for a thief), frig, bog, hog, wog, quag (mire), bug (in two senses), slug, mug (in two senses), smug - and when we meet Silas Wegg in Our Mutual Friend, we know at once he will be up to no good.
But when first introduced to Nick Clegg - far from knowing 'at once he will be up to no good' - most of us appear to fall at his feet. What's more, clegg could easily have made Amis's list as it's another name for the horsefly, that most unpleasant insect.
Either NC's charisma is so vast as to blot out the connotation of his name, or it has all been an unfortunate oversight that will soon be rectified. But who knows? Normal rules appear to have been suspended.