05 Aug 2010 0

A great insight into the use of language in government on the Today programme earlier this week.

Officials at the Department for Education have drawn up a memo with the title “The language of the new government”, which shows that we are leaving behind “delivery” and moving to “implementation”, casting aside the “state” in favour of “society” and abandoning “targets” in favour of “results”.

Having had a look through the list of old and new words, I’m really not sure what these changes signify. Some of the terms are more down-to-earth, but not all, and some are just there to bolster the coalition government’s “Big Society” message. For the most part this is differentness for its own sake – people are tired of Labour’s jargon, so let’s give them some new jargon.

Alistair Beaton also comments that some of these words, such as “empowerment”, may turn out to be more sinister than they seem, when we realise that that what they really mean is, “We in government are going to stop doing what we used to do, and if you don’t do it as a volunteer we’ll close it down.”

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