While some people in government may be ‘genuine’ (there must be at least one?), far too many put more emphasis on rhetoric than on truth… George Orwell once (1946) argued that "political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness" and “such language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable."

 

These examples are for English-speaking politicians: undoubtedly they are directly translatable into, and applicable in other languages.

 

 (a bumper sticker popular around the world is ‘no matter who I vote for, a politician gets elected’)

 

When a politician says

 

A politician could mean

 

 

Public/Private partnership

=

A process of the privatisation of taxation (which allows the government to claim a reduction in taxation), where:

·         if they make a profit they get to keep it,

·         if they make a loss it comes out of the taxpayers’ money

·         if they don’t make an good profit we will make up the difference (out of the taxpayers’ money)

·         if they go ‘belly up’, somebody else other than the government can buy it dirt cheap and begin the process above again

·         see also ‘commercial in confidence’

Confidential

 

 

Commercial in confidence’

=

Sweetheart deal

 

 

 

Confidential matter

=

Something to be ashamed of

Consultation

 

 

After consultation… (1)

=

The big end of town tells us…

 

 

After consultation… (2)

=

My Secretary told me…

 

 

After consultation… (3)

=

My partner’s hairdresser’s next door neighbour says…

 

 

After consultation… (4)

=

A standard clause we add to every press release in the hope that nobody will ask…

 

 

After consultation… (5)

=

I went to a photo opportunity and was in the group photo…

 

 

Meaningful consultation…

=

I went to a photo opportunity and was in the group photo AND got a sound grab on TV…

 

 

Public consultation

=

Photo opportunity

 

 

Deep and meaningful consultation…

=

The US State Department demands…

 

 

I have been misquoted

=

I have changed my mind

 

 

That is out of context (1)

=

I have changed my mind

 

 

That is out of context (2)

=

Nobody is supposed to remember what I said yesterday

 

 

We want to be guided by the experts

=

We don’t want to take the blame - let them take the flack

 

 

 

We will have to go to desalination (of water)

=

We cannot cope with the population

 

 

 

desalination

=

A retirement home (i.e. a seat on the board) for ex-MPs

 

 

 

Toll road

=

A retirement home (i.e. a seat on the board) for ex-MPs

 

 

 

The future fund

=

Financial security for parliamentary pensions

 

 

 

This would mean cuts in hospital and education funding

=

You don’t seriously expect us to cut funding to our non-essential (pork barrelling) expenses

 

 

 

Expert opinion

=

Someone who agrees with me, or

Anyone who agrees with me

 

 

 

Extremist

=

Anyone who disagrees with me

 

 

 

Immigration policy

=

Dealing with today’s headlines

 

 

 

Further coming initiatives

=

We will think of something (anything?) by tomorrow

15 Jan 2009

 

 

‘…security…’

=

Either:

  • I was trying to find ANY justification, and ‘security’ is always worth another run, or
  • We have a check-list to justify our actions, and ‘security’ is on the list…, or
  • My PR team could not think of anything else

 

 

We must put politics aside

=

I am selling you a pig in a poke

 

 

 

Government

=

An ‘interesting’ word used to:

·         Obfuscate by attempting to blur the difference between the levels of government

·         Share the blame

·         Gain credit when it really means the taxpayers funds

·         Hide behind the (failed) Nuremburg defence principle

 

 

Consumers will be protected

=

My parliamentary superannuation will isolate me from the price increases

 

 

The Future

=

The next election

 

 

 

Far into the future

=

The next election

Leadership

=

Follow’ship

 

 

 

Look to the Future

=

Scramble back to the past

 

 

 

In reality

=

In some parallel universe

 

 

 

I am not in denial

=

I am in denial

 

 

 

They are in denial

=

They don’t agree with me

 

 

 

Strengthening democracy

=

Creating a police state

 

 

 

A true leader

=

A follower

 

 

 

An initiative

=

Something that did not work overseas

 

 

 

A major initiative

=

Something that did not work in many countries overseas, despite many attempts

 

 

 

A ground-breaking initiative

=

Something that did not work in many countries overseas, despite many attempts – and is going to cost a LOT of money

 

 

 

In the public interest (1)

=

I’m getting flack over this in the newspapers and on TV

 

 

 

In the public interest (2)

=

My mates can make money out of this

 

 

 

In the public interest (3)

=

There are votes in this

 

 

 

In the public interest (4)

=

I could get a seat on the board when I retire from politics

 

 

 

A matter of grave public interest

=

Will still be in the newspapers and on TV for a few more days

 

 

 

A matter of security (1)

=

I don’t know the answer

 

 

 

A matter of security (2)

=

I know the answer but I don’t want you to know

 

 

 

A matter of security (3)

=

We have not completed the cover up (yet)

 

 

 

A matter of security (4)

=

If everybody knew, I would lose the advantage

 

 

 

A matter of security (5)

=

We have not be told yet

 

 

 

A matter of security (6)

=

There is no answer

 

 

 

It’s a matter of principle

=

It’s about the money

 

 

 

The cost should not be a consideration

=

It’s about the money

 

 

 

This has been costed

=

The blow-out will be about 100%

 

This has been carefully costed

=

It will cost more than double

 

This has been fully costed

=

We don’t know how much but it will cost the earth

 

 

 

Of great financial benefit

=

 It will run at a loss but we (meaning the taxpayer) will cover the deficit later in next year’s budget and nobody will notice

 

 

 

Fully budgeted

=

Buried in next year’s budget

 

 

 

Totally innocent

=

Will never be proven in court

 

 

 

Statesman

=

Another politician from my party

 

 

 

True statesman

=

Ex-politician from my party

 

 

 

Truly great statesman

=

Dead ex-politician from my party

 

 

 

Bit of a rogue

=

Mate (of questionable integrity)

 

 

 

Rogue

=

Politician from another political party

 

 

 

Outright rogue

=

Somebody from another political party who has been caught

 

 

 

Trust me

=

 I hope you will, but I wouldn’t

 

 

 

In the fullness of time

=

Hopefully, after the next election

 

 

 

Immediate

=

Maybe the media will forget this in the next couple of days

 

 

 

Highest priority

=

Mañana

 

 

 

High priority

=

Even later than mañana

 

 

 

Priority

=

After the next election

 

 

 

Some urgency

=

Not in my lifetime

 

 

 

Support

=

A term of unknown meaning (used whenever possible)

 

 

 

Full support

=

Meaningless term

 

 

 

Full and total support for…

=

I am close to getting the needed number of votes to roll him

 

 

 

Without question

=

Questionable

 

 

 

Without question by any reasonable person

=

Highly questionable

 

 

 

Major impact

=

Will benefit the big end of town

 

 

 

Marginal impact

=

Will help us win in a marginal electorate

 

 

 

If you leave the politics out of it

=

It’s about politics

 

 

 

Voluntary compliance (1)

=

(when applied to the general public) Compulsory

 

 

 

Voluntary compliance (2)

=

(when applied to mates) Un-enforceable by law

 

 

 

Voluntary compliance (3)

=

(internationally) The media will find something else in the next few days

 

 

 

United Nations Convention (1)

=

Something that seems a good idea at the time

 

 

 

United Nations Convention (2)

=

Thing to be quoted when it supports my case

 

 

 

United Nations Convention (3)

=

Thing to be explained away when it does not support my case

 

 

 

We have made the hard decision

=

We have taken the easy way out

 

 

 

We have a mandate for… (1)

=

We won the election, even though most people were against…

 

 

 

We have a mandate for… (2)

=

We won the election, proving that you can fool enough of the people some of the time

 

 

 

Carbon trading scheme

=

Government-backed scheme for making very rich people even richer

 

Carbon Tax

=

Government-backed scheme for making very rich people even richer

 

 

 

Carbon pricing

=

Government-backed scheme for making very rich people even richer