Now, I want to make myself perfectly clear …
There must be no misunderstanding …
Make no mistake about this …
Blah, blah, blah. Such well-worn phrases. So overused. Every day, someone, somewhere is prefacing their remarks with such statements of clarity and precision.
And they are usually people of great (self-)importance whose pronouncements are keenly awaited; that are meant to be heard because of the influence they can have on events and the thinking and actions of other similarly (self-)important people.
Sadly, that rarely happens. Words that are promised as leaving no room for error or misunderstanding, merely confuse and bewilder those for who they are intended.
So very few of all the millions of words that tumble forth from the world’s opinion makers possess the clarity that is promised. And considering that much of this verbal torrent is painstakingly crafted by skilled wordsmiths, it has to be assumed that this is no accident.
This does not occur because of unlimited vocabulary or lack of grammatical skill. It is cold-blooded manipulation of the language to distort meaning and cloud understanding.
To describe the practitioners of this black art merely as spin doctors is mealy-mouthed and far too gentle; like calling the Great Plague a bit of a virus.
Take the following as but two examples plucked from the morass of meaningless mutterings that assails us:
“As I have said, and others have said, consistently, it would be irresponsible for the British Government not to look across at the changes that would be necessary regardless of the eventuality, and indeed some of the changes that would be necessary in the event of a no deal would be the same as changes that would be made in relation to us achieving a deal.”
Phew! Understood? All clear? No room for doubt or questions? Hmm, thought so. Maybe this will help:
“Given the way that things operate, it is highly unlikely that anything will be brought forward during that period that has not already started discussions through the European Union to which we are being party of until we leave and on which we would have been able to say whether or not there would be a rule that we would sign up to or a rule that we would not wish to sign up to.”
So there you have it; no wavering or room for doubt. As clear as the Great Bog of Allen on a dark night.
Both quotes come from Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, a world leader famed for wanting “to make this clear” and then doing exactly the opposite.
But she is far from alone, merely one of the mob building the Great Wall of Obfuscation to shut out any who seek meaning, common sense and clarity from those who shape our pitiful little world.
The Great Wall of China is crumbling, likewise Hadrian’s lesser edifice; people power ripped apart the Berlin Wall and the Trump’s misguided Mexican Wall will hopefully remain in limbo.
This latest barrier needs to befall the same fate before its foundations are too firmly cemented in. And there is but one weapon to use: words, words, words. But used sparingly and wisely, not sprayed mindlessly like confetti.
Let battle commence.
“The ill and unfit choice of words wonderfully obstructs the understanding” – Francis Bacon