Austerity Measures

February 4th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Unspeak on the phrase ‘austerity measures’…

Take austerity measures, of the sort that “must” be imposed on countries by their own or other governments. Austerity implies a severe self-discipline of the kind that is laudable, virtuous in its serious asceticism. But who exactly is being austere in this picture? The Financial Times lexicon entry for “austerity measure” is, perhaps pointedly, ambivalent:

An official action taken by a government in order to reduce the amount of money that it spends or the amount that people spend.

Of course, these things are not unrelated, but a government that increases tax rates as part of its “austerity” programme is in the first instance asking people to spend more money – on it. I could be considerably more austere, in the sense of saving money, by refusing to pay my tax bill as well as not buying quite so many crisps. Naturally, though, we can see why a government proposing austerity measures would not want to call them “Give Us More Of Your Money And We’ll Spend It On Fewer Of The Things That You Want Measures”, or, I don’t know, wallet-fucking measures.

falsely retracting claims

December 16th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I try not to do pedantry, due to usually getting it wrong or making a glaring mistake myself, leaving myself open to ridicule. I should be used to it by now.

I do have an issue with a phrase that keeps popping up recently, though. It is to do with the recent discussion about how retracted rape claims are dealt with. Not the actual guidelines but a phrase that is used, especially by the BBC. It’s a variation on

…falsely retracted claims…

As far as I can see there are two reasons why a rape claim would be retracted 1) the claimant has been pressured to withdraw it or 2) the rape didn’t actually happen.

For either of these reasons the claim is actually retracted. The second reason the claim itself maybe false but the retraction is real. Surely because a retraction either happens or it doesn’t you can’t ‘falsely retract’ a claim?

The phrase that should be used is…

retraction of false claims

How come the media is getting this wrong, it seems so glaringly obvious.

Anyone care to enlighten me?

(Posted using my phone so, please, excuse the spelling)

Come one, come all

February 27th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

The Croydonian spotted someting in the Lords Hansard that could be filed under ‘Whoa! I wouldn’t have said that’…

“Baroness Warsi: To ask Her Majesty’s Government which religions and faiths are officially recognised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Equality and Human Rights Commission recognises all religions and faiths“.

Hmm. Let us say that I decide to subscribe to the First Presleytarian Church of Elvis the Divine or define myself as a Jedi Knight, should I then be able to avail myself of the full panoply of protections etc under equality law? Equally well, should the same apply to any ethical / moral system that I cook up which owes nothing to the divine?

As he says, an answer like that leaves you open to a whole world of trouble.

Big it up!

January 15th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink


Jag Singh is Chief Information Officer at the online campaigning agency, MessageSpace, which aims to connect the public with organisations by harnessing the new participatory processes taking place on the web.

So what exactly is the new particapatory process being harnessed when Messagespace, ahem, campaign on behalf ofNorwich Union, HSBC, Toilet Duck and Channel 4?

Carry a few political ads too and an ad agency can call itself a campaigner in the new way of doing thing s on teh internets. How very grand.

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