Scoop X 3

BBC News opens a report on whether there will be a second independence referendum in Scotland with a reference to Waugh’s novel Scoop. The report is filed by the BBC’s Scotland political editor Brian Taylor:

So is that it, then? Are we definitely set on course for an early rerun of the independence referendum? Up to a point, Lord Copper. Fans of Evelyn Waugh’s fine novel, Scoop, will recall that phrase is a circumlocution. It means, in practice, no. Without being too precise about it. The reason for this Boot-like vacillation? There is seldom much that is certain about politics. And these Brexit times are particularly redolent of disquiet and imprecision…But, to be clear (OK, to approximate clarity), Nicola Sturgeon has not set out detailed plans for a second independence referendum. Not in yesterday’s interview with the commendable Robert Peston. Nor anywhere else.

In its latest author interview, Powell’s Books talks with Mark Adams who has written several travel books, most recently Tip of the Iceberg about explorations in Alaska. When asked for his favorite quote from another writer, Adams came up with this:

From Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop:

“Mr. Salter’s side of the conversation was limited to expressions of assent. When Lord Copper was right, he said, ‘Definitely, Lord Copper’; when he was wrong, ‘Up to a point.’
‘Let me see, what’s the name of the place I mean? Capital of Japan? Yokohama, isn’t it?’
‘Up to a point, Lord Copper.’
‘And Hong Kong belongs to us, doesn’t it?’
‘Definitely, Lord Copper.’”

Finally, to complete the journalistic hat trick, Waugh’s novel has been selected by as one of its recommended summer reads:

Scoop, Evelyn Waugh. William Boot, owing to an editorial mix up, is taken away from his column of nature notes and sent to a (fictional) African country as a war reporter. He is innocent and inept and eventually ends up in the middle of a civil war stirred up by the British press. Scoop is one of Waugh’s funniest novels.

Why is it a holiday read? Steal Boot’s telegram style for postcards home: “Weather here good stop no news today.”

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