Friday, August 26, 2005

Fluent in human

Andrew Marr, the former BBC political editor and soon-to-be replacement for David Frost on Sunday mornings, has criticised politicians for their inability to "speak human". In a report in today's Guardian Marr claims that politicians' jargon prevents them from communicating clearly to the general public and that many MPs lacked the power to speak "crisply, clearly and vividly".

Fair enough, you might say: most of us know that politicians live on another planet. But isn't this a bit naive from someone who's used to the devious doublespeak of today's PR-conscious self-publicists ? Maybe politicians are perfectly aware they're not making sense to us, because they know we'll switch off and let them get on with their dodgy dealings unhindered. After all, voter turnout has slumped over the last decade and has reached almost laughable levels in some working class areas where none of the main parties are seen as being able to deliver anything worthwhile.

So why talk straight when you can carry on talking rubbish?

For a great insight into the language of politics - its obfuscations, euphemisms and hoodwinking newspeak - take a look at this link to George Orwell's brilliant essay, Politics and the English Language, written 60 years ago but still pertinent today.

Useful for:
ENA1 - Language and Representation
ENA6 - Language Debates (language and ideology)

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