Control orders, tax exiles and extraordinary rendition: political vocabulary as messaging

“Control orders” could be called “secret detention directives”. “Tax exiles” could be called “tax fugitives”. “Extraordinary rendition” could be called “government-sponsored kidnapping”.

In all three cases a fairly benign phrase has been adopted by both sides of the debate, despite the phrase very much favouring one. Having a bit of order doesn’t instinctively sound too bad. Exile even has a whiff of the honourably martyr about it. And “extraordinary”? Well, that’s usually a good thing, isn’t it? Especially if we’re talking about “rendition”, i.e. a word that is well outside common usage.

Does it matter? Not if an issue is at the centre of public attention. But when an issue only gets brief interest from the public, or minimal media coverage that gets little beyond naming the issue and quoting two different politicians disagreeing, then yes it does – as it frames the way in which people judge the issue.

That, of course, is one of the reasons why the Yes campaign for the forthcoming referendum on the alternative vote is Yes To Fairer Votes rather than Yes To An Acronym You’ve Not Heard Of.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/22702 for Twitter and emails.

4 Comments

  • So, Stephen, are you seriously suggesting that FPTP is faier than AV?

    Many here will of course say that there are many fairer systems than AV, especially PR in its various guises. However, FPTP is surely so horrendously unfair that pretty much anything is better, and AV most certainly is.

    I’d also say that on a constiutuency level, AV has the potential to making a real difference, as candidates need to reach out to a much larger proportion of voters.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?




Recent Comments

  • User AvatarStephen Donnelly 30th Aug - 9:17pm
    There is nothing in here that I disagree with, but it is all pretty meaningless. I don' t you have said anything that most people...
  • User AvatarGeoffrey Payne 30th Aug - 9:04pm
    I am undecided how to vote, but I must say I love the ambitious positive tone of this article. Of course the questions have only...
  • User AvatarGeoffrey Payne 30th Aug - 8:58pm
    Lets hope if there is a Lib Dem leadership election in 2015 that the Picketty book will be influential amongst the candidates.
  • User AvatarT-J 30th Aug - 8:56pm
    Martin is right about what would be best. Sadly, he's also right about the chances of that actually happening. With the greatest of respect to...
  • User AvatarT-J 30th Aug - 8:44pm
    GF. the US hasn't annexed any territory since... what, the purchase of the Danish West Indies in the early part of the last century? Something...
  • User AvatarbrianD 30th Aug - 8:10pm
    I am tempted to ask "who is Tamora?" I am sure she is one impressive woman but what has she actually achieved? Gerald's record is...