There was no greater enemy of jargon than George Orwell. Were he alive today I have no idea whether he would be a ‘Leaver’ or a ‘Remainer’ – but I do know he would write something about how the debate has become incomprehensible because it is cluttered with jargon. A few months ago the big argument was whether we should have a “hard” or a “soft” Brexit, but did anyone really understand the difference? Now we have the “implementation period” – is it better that this might be “prolonged”, or not? Is it the same as a “transition period”? The EU occasionally has “tunnel negotiations” over the UK, whatever that means. What is the “backstop position”? How does that differ from a “sub optimal functional border”? What would a “Canada plus” deal mean? Is a “facilitated customs arrangement” a disease, a kind of transport, or an imported sausage?
With the language that surrounds the European Union such a feast of the highly jargonised and the clotted cliché, can any normal human being make a balanced decision?
For more verbal howlers, take a look at our Illiteracy Watch.
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