Friday 13 February 2015

Euphemisms about Politics (in Quotes, Part II)


patriot: Somewhere on the Right is an anonymous genius at creating memes. Sarah Palin floats a suspicious number of them – Death Panels, Ground Zero Mosque, 9/11 Mosque, Terror Babies. Her tweets are minefields of coded words; for her, “patriot” is defined as, “those who agree with me”. When she says "Americans”, it is not inclusive. (Roger Ebert, 19 Aug 2010)

people: Remember Ian Paisley's refrain “the people of Northern Ireland”? Meaning Protestant people of a particular party. (@hughpearman)

political elite: people who disagree with me (“Peter Oborne says the euro debate was ‘manipulated by the political elite in an anti-democratic way’ – the way he describes people with different opinion to his own. Oborne's is a classic ‘my opinion is authentic and courageous, yours is manipulative and part of a plot’ piece of self-love.” @DAaronovitch)

politically correct: “Why is it that anything the Tories disagree with is politically correct?” (Sun commenter)

red tape, petty bureaucracy: “‘Red tape’ seems to be today's euphemism of choice for laws that protect working class people. #BBCNews” (Connor Beaton ‏@zcbeaton, January 2014)

refine: change (“They have had to refine their message.” Jeff Chu, Does Jesus Really Love Me?)

right to choose: [The young voter would pick] Al Gore because: "I like his environment policies". But, she added, "also I want to defend the right to choose." This phrase is a codeword for abortion rights, and many women feel strongly on the issue. (

partial destruction “the biggest shake-up in Britain’s rail network” (BBC News, 27 March 2013)

social: It seems the word “social”, related to social media, is being used more often to mean “egalitarian”. Good. (Matt Ranson/@matr77, March 11, 2012)

speak out: give liberal viewpoint, speak up (Jordan's Queen Speaks Out, Pope to Speak Out on Abuse, Gen Petraeus speaks out against Koran-burning. Pauline Pearce “spoke out” against looters in the week of the 2011 riots: “I hope that I will encourage other people to speak out, to protect their communities.”)

sterile, stale: In the Met Commissioner glossary "sterile debate" = a question on falling police numbers. "Stale debate" = any follow-up question on police numbers (@AdamBienkov)

sustainable intensification of the livestock industry: factory farming, cows in megasheds (JOG)

take tough decisions: cut budgets, build eyesores, make people redundant, close railways, cut welfare, cause suffering (Beeching “made the tough decisions that anybody would have had to make”, spokesman on BBC Breakfast, 26 March 2013)

tribal, tribalistic: toeing the Labour Party line ("‘Labour supporters... vow Coalition is unthinkable. But they need to think again.’ Some solid reasoning by the usually tribal Polly Toynbee.” @Eugene_Grant)

trustworthy: right-wing (“You used to be able to trust the BBC!”

tumult: unrest, disturbance, uncertainty “Jane Norman has collapsed into administration as another 1,600 jobs are put at risk by the high street tumult.” (The Times June 27, 2011) “Tumult” means crowds milling about.

well-intentioned but naïve: socialist (“To Where our Well-Intentioned but Naïve Legislative Creep is Leading Us” headline from Civitas website)

women’s traditional roles: denying women equal rights with men (Men and women have "traditional roles". That's a quaint way of saying "women are subservient". @woodo79)

More here, and links to the rest.

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