Editorial: Omnipresent stuff ups enshrined in 12 letters

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Word of the Year 2012 - "omnishambles." Photo / Thinkstock
Word of the Year 2012 - "omnishambles." Photo / Thinkstock

From BBC scandal to Kim Dotcom saga, the Word of the Year is on the money.

Every 12 months, the Oxford University Press chooses a word that best reflects the mood of the year. Rarely can it have been so on the mark as in the selection of "omnishambles" as its 2012 Word of the Year.

Around the world, there has been ample opportunity to use the word, which was coined by writers of the satirical television show The Thick of It and is defined as "a situation that has been completely mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations".

OUP might well have been thinking of Britain's gaffe-prone media and, more particularly, the BBC. The latter has stumbled from an appalling failure to report on widespread child sex abuse allegations against one of its biggest stars, Jimmy Savile, to mistaken claims by its marquee news programme that a politician sexually abused children. The word might also have been appropriately applied to the fallout from former CIA Director- General David Petraeus' extramarital affair with his biographer.

Yet New Zealand also merits more than passing mention in any references to omnishambles. How else to describe the saga of Kim Dotcom, in which no one involved has escaped some sort of dent to their reputation or wellbeing? Or the Government's plan to partly privatise state-owned power companies. Suddenly, the vexing issue of water rights was thrust into the limelight, and the Government's woes multiplied when Rio Tinto started talking of renegotiating the electricity supply to its Tiwai Pt smelter. All in all, an omnishambles indeed.

- NZ Herald

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