Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
21 January 2014
Never trust the buggers, whatever they say!
Hardly a day passes without further evidence – as if we needed it – that statements by public figures, particularly politicians, should be simply ignored unless there is rock-solid third-party confirmation of the truth of the assertion being made.
Britain was recently subject to widespread flooding.
According to yesterday’s London Guardian newspaper, environment secretary Owen Paterson falsely claimed that government spending on flood protection had increased, “as his junior minister Dan Rogerson has now admitted”.
However, according to the newspaper, instead of frankly acknowledging that the environment department had got it wrong, Rogerson merely said that the figures were “subject to minor discrepancies”.
Nice one, Cyril!
The paper goes on to list a number of other well-known euphemisms.
Winston Churchill, UK prime minister during and after the Second World War, is said to have once accused an opponent of “terminological inexactitude”. What he meant was that his adversary was lying.
Another famous euphemism is attributed to former Japanese emperor Hirohito. When Japan, defeated, surrendered to the Yanks at the end of the Second World War, Hirohito informed the population that the war “had developed in a way not necessarily to Japan’s advantage”.
Of course, the resort to euphemistic obfuscation is not confined to politicians.
In a case involving testimony given by US actress Jayne Mansfield, a policeman asked whether she had been lying. No, Mansfield replied, she had not been lying. She had simply “redimensioned the truth a little”.
Playing with a straight bat is not a feature of public life.
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
5.Ladder (21 June 2012)
6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.