I am grateful to Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of North Korea (not a phrase I thought that I would ever write), for introducing me to the word chukjibeop.
The journal of the country’s ruling party has had to confess, probably with a heavy heart, that the regime’s leaders are not in fact able to bend time and space, the word’s meaning, and that Kim Jong-un does not possess mystical powers. “In realistic terms, a person cannot suddenly disappear and reappear by folding space,” the paper admitted.
Frankly, I find this announcement a bit of a disappointment and just hope that the editor cleared this with Kim before going to press. Still, as Kim himself said recently: “Mystifying a leader’s revolutionary activity and appearance would result in covering the truth.” Even so, with no more shape-shifting leaders, I feel that a little magic has left the world.
To more earthbound matters. Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist, has been musing on the shape of the recovery of our battered economy. “It’s perhaps still a V but it’s a relatively lopsided V and the risks to that probably lie on the downside.” Mmm. Economics is not my strong suit but, at a guess, I’d say he hasn’t much of a clue either.
Most neologisms leave me cold but, just occasionally, they work rather well. Such is the case with “quaranteens”, those young people whose educational hopes seem to be taking a beating. That is unless they are just snowflakes in disguise, in which case they should just brace up.
And so, inevitably, to Dominic Cummings. Channel 4 News offered up a typically belligerent talking head, who claimed that the adviser “literally drove a coach and horses through the regulations”. No comment.
•Jonathan Bouquet is an Observer columnist