Friday 25 May 2018

Meaningless words mask rotten system

Language has become a tool for politicians to hide the fact they've ceded power to bankers, writes Gene Kerrigan

Pat Cox
Pat Cox
Gene Kerrigan

Gene Kerrigan

Here are a few words from one of our foremost public figures, as seen on the RTE Nine O'Clock News. This gent admitted a current controversy is "very challenging". He said "we need to draw a line under" it and "move forward". It's the kind of meaningless gobbledegook we hear all the time from the people who run our world. Calming, soothing -- assuring us everything's under control.

As it happens, it was Pat Cox -- talking about the Limerick City of Culture debacle. But it could be any CEO or manager or consultant, any big shot from the public or private sectors. And he or she could argue for something, or argue against that same thing -- and the language would be precisely the same. Challenge, draw a line, move forward.

The function of this language is to provide a comforting impression of what's happening, while keeping the underlying reality out of the debate. It's the language of the PR consultant, the language of the professional insider. It's the language of the Taoiseach.

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