Archive: The Importance of Language

Posted on 2nd April, 2020

A few days ago, Boris Johnson complained of "terrible collaboration" between some MPs and the EU. Collaboration is usually an excellent thing but in this case, associated with the word "terrible", people were clearly meant to conclude that underhand activity was going on. The language was chosen to evoke images of war time betrayal, with the EU cast as the enemy and the MPs as traitors. In fact, of course, they are elected representatives conducting legitimate discussions with an organisation that we belong to.

 

Since then the prime minister has complained that the backstop in Northern Ireland would be "undemocratic". That too is deliberate misuse of language. There is nothing democratic or

undemocratic in the backstop; it is a device to prevent Northern Ireland being used as a route for unregulated trade into the EU.

 

These are just two among many examples. In an earlier life Boris Johnson was a journalist and he knows very well how  to use words to manipulate people. No excuses should be made for him. Remember, too, his claim of £350 million per week for the NHS on the side of a bus during the referendum campaign. 

 

We are coming up to a critical time in our country's future but somehow we have got saddled with a prime minister with a reputation for deception. We should all realise that nothing he says can be taken at face value.

 

Would you buy a used car from this man? Why then should we trust him when, despite all the evidence that it would be a disaster, he is trying to sell us No Deal?

 

Roger Porkess

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