Monday, March 06, 2006

Bad English is evil

Here's a refreshing start to a Monday morning. A post on the Authority blog sends me off to read Orwell. Specifically, his excellent essay Politics and the English Language

This isn't altogether expected. The Authority blog is written by journalist Michael Cross and sponsored by local authority IT supplier Civica. And, from my experience of local authorities and IT suppliers, neither world is particularly concerned with good English.

But a look at the essay reminds me of two things:
  • Bad English is evil. Not unfortunate or disappointing but, by allowing sloppy thinking that might permit evil, actually evil.

  • It is actually possible to stand against this sort of evil.

There's a third, somewhat depressing thought, though. Orwell was writing of the decay of politics in 1946 - just a year after the Labour party arrived and when - from our prespective - politics was really alive. The welfare state was being started, and Churchill was out, on a 72.6 percent turnout in the 1945 general election.

Compare that with now. You don't need me to draw the comparision. Over here, the politicians have nothing to offer but words. Those words are now without meaning. And over in the US, you can get up an invasion on the basis of lies and fudge.

And even Orwell has become the thing he hated: an abused cliche.

1 comment:

Peter Kanssen said...

Campaign for plain English - Local Authorities send their workers on their courses!

The advice is similar to Orwell's