In a recent issue of The Spectator, I came across the following phrase: “…if there were a competition to find an entity less trustworthy than big tech to decide what all the world’s citizens can say, know and hear, then the European Commission and von der Leyen would surely be a shoe-in.”

“Shoe-in”? What on earth can that possibly mean? We have come to use the expression to mean a doddle, a dead cert, a no-brainer, but what has that to do with shoes?  Could the phrase intended be “shoo-in”? “Shoo” being a common interjection with the sense of hustle or hurry, often accompanied by gestures implying urgency or compulsion. It’s particularly used to get children or animals to move from one spot to another, or away altogether. But even with that spelling, what is “shoo-in” doing in our daily speech? I’ve met several “shoe-ins” lately, so the phrase must be catching on. Perhaps those using it haven’t quite twigged what it means?