I do hope that current events in the Vatican are not a sign of linguistic developments to come. I mean, Wikileaks was one thing – it took the idea of a Wiki, and the idea of Leaks, stuck them together, and came up with a title and a concept which, basically, worked.
But that doesn’t mean that -Leaks has now become an acceptable suffix which can be ramrodded onto any story about the unauthorised release of sensitive information. And yet, Vatileaks is now all over the news.
Is this the start of a new Leak inspired linguistic habit, a way of encapsulating a particular kind of scandal with a new language shorthand. I do hope not. As I wrote earlier this year, my loathing of the -Gate suffix was not helped by the Horsegate fiasco, and recent events in Downing Street, involving the Chief Whip and his bicycle, saw the arrival of Gategate, surely the nadir for -Gate and the point when, one hopes, it will finally die its natural death.
If we are ever to be freed from Gate, please do not let Leaks come into its place. We don’t want a language scandal called Leaksgate, now do we?