What politicians say

Image thanks to Portland Communications

I’ve been digging out a pampas grass from our front garden. No smutty comments thank you. 

It had been there for thirty odd years and did absolutely nothing for the rest of the garden other than invading every bit of spare ground possible. It had to go and in the end it became a battle of wills between me and it. I won though it took me four brown bins and two trips to the tip before I declared myself the victor.

To pass the time I listened to ‘The rest is politics’ a podcast series with Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell, one former Conservative minister and one former Downing Street Director of Communications under Labour. Both are from different sides of the political spectrum and it is both good and entertaining to listen to them discuss today’s issues and interview people in political life. The podcast shows that you don’t always have to agree to be able to talk and get on.

A couple of weeks back they had a short discussion on what politicians say that irritated them. Two immediately sprang to my mind though neither was on their lists.

My two are ‘look’ and ‘I am being clear’.

Whenever a politician says look, I think it started with Tony Blair, it is meant to make them come across as forthright and decisive. Instead, at least in my mind, it makes them sound like an angry teacher or parent. The word look implies that you don’t understand what they are talking about and it should be obvious if only you were more intelligent. It comes across as patronising and is an absolute turn off for me.

Believe me that when a politician uses the word clear, in any context, it means that what follows will be a demonstration of the art of verbal obfuscation. When they have finished they will have not answered the question and you will be more confused than ever. They use the word as the complete antithesis of its true meaning. ‘Let me be clear’ and ‘I am being absolutely clear’ are again phrases that mean it’s time to switch off as I have lost interest.

Unfortunately the two candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party are devotees. Sunak says look all the time and Truss is determined to make it clear. I’m not sure I can take much more.

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