Disbenefits. Not a real word, and not a thing.

As if the world isn’t depressing enough already, along comes Boris Johnson on Newsnight the other day, prattling on about runways at Heathrow and referring to the “disbenefits” of building a new one.

Disbenefits? Hasn’t he heard of drawbacks, disadvantages, or losses?

Sadly, Boris didn’t invent disbenefits, which is a shame because it would be another good reason to dislike the floppy-haired loon. The word has been doing the rounds of the airless, stifling offices of the management consultancies for a number of years, and has now made it as far as being on the telly. Quite why a bunch of fresh-faced, over-keen graduate trainees are allowed to coin new phrases and then persuade the mayor of London to say them out loud on the BBC is anyone’s guess. But it’s evident that we either need common sense to prevail or an equivalent of the Academie Française to police the language before the whole thing gets out of hand.


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