Enid blyton

The mechanics of ‘backlash’

‘Lashings of ginger beer?’ asked my husband when I mentioned backlash. He thought the phrase came from Enid Blyton, though it occurred only in the television parody Five Go Mad in Dorset, first shown in 1982 — 40 years ago, for heaven’s sake. Backlash, now in vogue, is often misused. The Guardian wrote about ‘the mass protests in the light of the George Floyd murder and the backlash to this movement’. That usage seems correct. But when it said that Chanel ‘recently faced a backlash online for the contents of their Christmas advent calendar’, backlash was the wrong word. The metaphor backlash comes from mechanics. It is pretty much a

What Meghan Markle can learn from Enid Blyton

The year is 2070 and English Heritage are unveiling their latest Blue Plaque: ‘The Duchess of Sussex, children’s author, lived here 2017 – 2018’. The accompanying online guide praises Meghan for her work promoting inclusion and diversity. I have no idea whether Meghan will one day be rewarded with an iconic plaque for her services to literature. But she’s certainly heading in the right direction. Following this week’s announcement that her debut book The Bench has topped the New York Times’ bestseller’s list for children’s fiction, the Duchess took the opportunity to declare: ‘While this poem began as a love letter to my husband and son, I’m encouraged to see