Friday 13 February 2015

Euphemisms about Politics (in Quotes)

Metropolitan elite
The difference between David Cameron and Tony Blair is that Blair was better at disguising his intentions. He would never have announced, for example, the sale of public forests. Instead he might have promised "a world-class forest estate" in which "walker-led beacon-foundation woodlands" would be managed through "partnerships with a plurality of recreational providers". Ten years later we would discover that our forests had mysteriously fallen into the hands of timber companies, and were being felled in the name of customer choice. (George Monbiot, The Guardian, May 17 2011)

People say: 'Can't say that these days. Political correctness'. They mean 'I'm sad I can't say things with certainty others won't disagree'. (@MarkOneinFour)

(From golden throne, atop pyramid of skulls etc): "It's the friends I've made along the way that really matter to me." (‏@WillWiles)

Child cruelty debate on #r4today it's all lessons learned & we've taken lessons on board, it's middle management talk for covering our backs. (@Bloke_On_A_Bike)

“The government loves ‘hard-working’ people, but hard-working people who organise in defence of their labour rights are obviously despicable.” (Steven Poole Feb 2014)

We are still very far from living in the meritocratic society I believe is a moral imperative. (Michael Gove Does this mean “the weak go to the wall”?)

politically partisan: leftie
lefties: people who want to take my money
taking my money: taxation

unipolar: The US has too much power. “At a certain point [the US] seemed to think that it was the only leader and a unipolar system was established.” (Vladimir Putin)

a multipolar world (Jacques Chirac, 2003): He means a world not dominated by America as the sole superpower. “To further Paris's goal of a 'multipolar world,' which is really a euphemism for constraining US power.” ( (You can’t have more than two poles, north and south.)

aspire: “Aspire” is mushy talk of politicians with nothing to say. See also “crackdown”, “get tough”, “hard-working families”. (Twitter)

bedrock: Spare us please every sentence with the words “bedrock”, “core”, “traditional supporters”, “abiding values” or “Conservative fundamentals” in it. What do these words mean – what in terms of doable legislation that this Government is not already enacting or committed to?… Phrases like “Northern voters” or “core Conservative values” are really ciphers for something that is not tied to region or party: populism. (Matthew Parris, The Times, May 5 2012)

British Bill of Rights: For MPs, this is code for riding a white horse to Brussels and on to Strasbourg, bayonet in hand, to declare war on the entire European human-rights edifice. (Anne Treneman, The Times, February 16, 2011)

broken: “People think our justice system is broken – thinking too much about the criminals and not enough about the justice.” (Chris Grayling And by "justice" they mean "punishment".)

Building Stable Communities: “In 1996, the policy ‘Building Stable Communities’ – the selling of council homes in marginal wards to potential Conservative voters… was deemed to be illegal.” (Woman’s Hour) “Dame Shirley Porter called her gerrymandering Building Stable Communities; Labour called it Building Sustainable Communities.” (Owen Hatherley, author of A New Kind of Bleak)

carefully choreographed (funeral procession for Kim Jong-il, BBC): "I appreciate what the BBC is trying to do there, to remind us that Communist North Korea is not free, [but] it was the funeral procession of the head of state. What do you think we’re going to do when the Queen dies? Wing it?" (Giles Coren, The Times, Dec 2011)

Choice means no more nanny state, you work it out for yourself, and pay for it.” (HC)

concerns: prejudices (“I have always understood the genuine concerns of hard-working people.” David Cameron, March 2013, talking about immigration)

controversial: right-wing (“Britain’s feistiest and most controversial commentator.” The Sun on Katie Hopkins. And by “feisty” they mean “brutal”.)

culture of excuses: “Rejection of ‘the culture of excuses’? Hmmm. Sounds suspiciously like a culture of ‘blaming the victim’.” (AG)

dignity: word used by religious people to defend the status quo (Gay people should retain the “dignity of difference”.) Or does it mean “adequate wages, reasonable hours and safe working practices”? “Workers everywhere need dignity at work, based on decent wages and decent, safe jobs.” (Petition responding to the Dhaka factory collapse, 2013. Note the “decent”, as well.)

family breakdown: "A certain kind of rightwinger fits the riots into the pattern of moral and social decline that she imagines has afflicted British society since the 1950s – multiculturalism, soft policing, family breakdown (sexual tolerance and feminism), liberal teaching, welfare dependency and immigration are all part of this elaborately imagined world." (David Aaronovitch, Times 11 Aug 11)

outrage: Always left-wing. People who complain about the anti-homeless spikes are just “hopping aboard the outrage bus”, said Katie Hopkins on BBC News, June 2014.

hard: cruel “They seek primarily to absolve Westminster from hard, unpopular decisions that will inevitably have to be made, one way or another, in the near future.” (Deborah Orr in The Guardian on the NHS bill, March 2012)

Jamahiriya: Gaddafi's most famous literary work is The Green Book, published in 1975. This treatise on "Islamic socialism" defined the concept of Jamahiriya, a state without parties that would be governed directly by its people. Which, in practice, translates as a military dictatorship, headed by – you guessed it – Gaddafi! (Guardian blog, Mar 2010)

key worker: public-sector worker, key voter, “the euphemism now used for low-paid public servants” (Aditya Chakrabortty, Guardian May 2014)

lobby: “One person's lobbying is another's bit of essential advocacy.” (@DAaronovitch)

localism, interference, activism: "The High Court judgment has far wider significance than just the municipal agenda of Bideford Town Council,” said Eric Pickles. “By effectively reversing that illiberal ruling, we are striking a blow for localism over central interference, for freedom to worship over intolerant secularism, for Parliamentary sovereignty over judicial activism, and for long-standing British liberties over modern-day political correctness." In 2012, the Bideford councillors were forbidden to put prayers on the agenda paper (to bring them in line with the law). Following a mass hissy fit, Eric Pickles unilaterally overturned the decision and justified it as above.

marginalise: “A lot of these guys were marginalised – i.e. imprisoned – as ‘incorrect philosophers’ in the Soviet era, but now they have been rehabilitated.” (Tim Dowling on the Russian Cosmists, April 11, 2011)

media frenzy: “What Liam Fox refers to as a ‘media frenzy’ was actually investigative reporting into breaches in ministerial conduct.” (@fatcharlesh)


metropolitan: left-wing

“That tiny spectrum of metropolitan elite left wing opinion the Guardian et al regard as ‘acceptable’.” (Commenter on the Guido Fawkes website)

Metro elite gay activists.” (Nadine Dorries, 2012)

“Many believe that we are dominated by the political agenda of the metropolitan elite and this sits uneasily with the social conservatism of much of the rest of the country.” (Liam Fox, 2012)

“The metropolitan classes, of course, despise our readers.” Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre, 2013)

nanny state: “So when it's government intervention conservatives hate, it's 'nanny state'. When it's dictating morality, 'decency'. Just so we know.” (@gaipajama)

orchestrated Twitter storm: “If a significant number of people on twitter react to something, it's now assumed to be some 'orchestrated Twitter storm’.” (Sarah M /@sazza_jay)

our unique social fabric: our unique social hierarchy “Instead of the common law of England we have the abstract idea of human rights, slapped upon us by European courts whose judges care nothing for our unique social fabric.” (Roger Scruton, The Guardian, 11 May 2013)

outspoken and controversal: liberal and inclusive (Daily Telegraph obituary of Rev Colin Slee, Nov 2010)

More here, and links to the rest.

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