Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Cutting words

Budget Day thoughts from Sarah-Jane Childs, our Leyton & Wanstead Constituency Campaign Manager

One of the beauties of the English language is its malleability; you may bend it to your will as you see fit. And then let’s not also forget its variety; it is often claimed to have one of the richest vocabularies amongst today’s global modern languages. So for a professional politician our language could present itself as a tool of great opportunity to really explain and illuminate all their policies; to reveal the hidden mechanics of ruling our nation; to create a truly informed electorate where everyone actually wants to vote because they are so engaged and proud of our political system.

Now I’m not so naive of politics to think that manipulation of English language would only be used for the power of good, but some days some spin leaves you spinning. A recent example would be Grant Shapps and his second job saga, where he now defends himself by saying he “over firmly denied” his former additional occupation. Most of us would surely translate this phrase back into simplified English as “lying”. But to steal the spotlight from Grant, a true artist of doublespeak approaches, no less than the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

George Osborne won’t be saying the word “cuts” much this budget day, unless it’s one of the many shiny baubles such as “tax cuts” (although even then, I bet he opts for “tax breaks” or “relief” for you poor “hard-working people”) which he will produce to lure the undecided toward the polling station come May. Instead, there will be a lot of “realignment, efficiency savings, redesign, reorganise, de-designate, rationalise...” But look through this smokescreen and one very clear word emerges: CUTS. And a hell of a lot more cuts too, as he intends to stick with his plans seemingly based on his grossly distorted version of reality. Not my own personal economic analysis there mind, but that of the Office for Budget Responsibility who, to describe the future cuts, chose a very descriptive adjective from our language which I hope grips your imagination and screams in both ears how big these cuts will be. The word? COLOSSAL.

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