The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog


Gated community of "scandals"

The non-events of our times.

The well-oiled though creaky journalistic shorthand that is the "-gate" suffix has made it into the headlines again -- this time in the form of Gordon Brown's "bigotgate". I won't go into the details of this latest pseudo-scandal, which James Macintyre has written about elsewhere on this site, but here's a list of the top-five most pointless "-gates" in recent history.

1. Scarfgate (2008)

. . . in which Sarah Palin -- already at the centre of Troopergate and Wardrobegate -- showed up on the campaign trail in a "Vote Democrats" scarf.

2. Tigergate (2009)

. . . in which a famous and wealthy sportsman was revealed to have had affairs. The humanity.

3. Toiletgate (2006)

. . . in which a chess player went to the toilet too many times during a game.

4. Closetgate (2006)

. . . in which a cartoon featured a closet.

5. Gatesgate (2009)

. . . in which the word "gate" was used too many times by lazy copywriters just because one of the people involved was called "Gates".

There's a comprehensive list of other "-gate" scandals here on Wikipedia. I blame Nixon.

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