Why it’s ‘Ukip’, not ‘UKIP’, and why I find that amusing

There, fixed it for you

It’s one of the weirdest ongoing arguments that rages in the comments underneath Telegraph Blogs – more heated, at times, than whether or not Muslims are behind the global warming scam, or if the moderators are in the secret pay of Brussels. The argument is: is it Ukip, or UKIP?

Underneath Ambrose’s piece published a little while ago, for instance, someone angrily said that we should spell “BBC” as “Bbc”, for consistency. (He also claimed that the BBC are “traitors to this country” and a “vile nest” of various things which I probably shouldn’t repeat.)

For the record, according to Telegraph house style, it’s Ukip. It’s an acronym – a word made of the initials of other words – and we have chosen the convention to write them with only the first letter capped. Other examples are Nasa, Nato, and Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

Initialisms, abbreviations in which you pronounce individual letters separately – like MP, or GLA, or indeed BBC – we usually write them in all-caps. (Sometimes the initials of smaller words are capped down, like the “of” in MoD.)

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There’s nothing inherently superior about this system – other newspapers do it differently – and, in fact, were I to rewrite the entire Telegraph stylebook myself, I might drop it: I think in some cases, like Dfid (Department for International Development), it looks unnatural. (Amazingly, though, I have never been asked to rewrite the entire Telegraph stylebook myself.) But it’s our system, so we stick to it.

Unfortunately for fans of Ukip, it so happens that the acronym “Ukip” looks a little silly when written like that. I think it’s because it emphasises the “kip”, which is quite a funny syllable: kippers, snoozes. But anyway. C’est la vie, as they say in Europe: them’s the breaks.

The trouble is that it infuriates a certain kind of Ukip-supporting commenter beyond all reason. I have never quite understood why, but this certain kind of Ukip-supporting commenter is also, as I have mentioned before, a gigantic crybaby. Waah, waah, the mainstream media is trying to hide us away (by putting Nigel Farage on the front page of every newspaper every time he has a cigarette); waah, waah, the Lib-Lab-Con establishment is conspiring against us (by chasing pitifully after your votes with Ukip-friendly policies); waah, waah, the Telegraph style guide is engaged in a campaign to keep us down by writing our name in title caps rather than all caps and it’s all so unfair. There will, without doubt, be a large number of people whining almost exactly those three things in the comments underneath this piece.

And it’s always very funny. So that’s why, every time I write it “Ukip”, I chuckle to myself.

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