FORA Politics

Season 2008 Episode 1102

Battle of Ideas: Learning Jargonese

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Episode Summary

Battle of Ideas: Learning Jargonese
The language of politics today seems to be all hat and no trousers, with politicians muttering about 'inclusive diversity culture' and the 'values vacuum', or holding forth on 'sustainable development', 'extraordinary rendition' and 'joined-up government'.From the smooth on-message spin of New Labour in its heyday to the sibylline malapropisms of Bush and Rumsfeld, we all agree politicians' words mean less (and perhaps more) than they seem to. Politicians are liars, circumlocutors or blathering fools, and worthy candidates for little more than 'bad English' awards.Dare we ask, then: what's wrong with political jargon? Are new-fangled buzzwords necessarily about obfuscation, or do they simply reflect the fast-changing character of contemporary politics? Do politicians use managerial terminology to pull the wool over our eyes, or does obscure language simply reflect the growing distance between the political class and the public?The emergence of Barack Obama in the US has led to suggestions that inspiring political rhetoric is making a comeback. Is this to be welcomed, or are silky speeches just another species of spin? Shouldn't we judge politicians more by what they do than what they say they think they mean? - Institute of Ideasmoreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

See All Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions Trivia & Quotes
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