Author Archives: Alan Paterson

Take back our slogan

Amid the insanity, a comment of Trump’s last week set little bells ringing…

‘…to take back our country’. Now what does that bring to mind?

While it’s doubtless overstating the case to describe a snappy slogan as ‘the’ reason for Brexit, the essential message is clear – and worth a ponder for anyone wanting to get messages across, thereby (and this is after all the point of the exercise) getting people to behave in ways they otherwise wouldn’t: KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Let’s face it, no previous president has ever had such command of the simple.

Make America Sane Again

On the cusp, I was struck by a photo of Trump wearing one of those MAGA baseball caps. Idly wondering whether this was a first – for a candidate to use the exact same slogan in consecutive elections – it suddenly occurred to me that I couldn’t recall the slogan from the opposition camp. Judging by these supposed candidates reported by Wiki, it’s hardly surprising:

The enduring appeal of MAGA does make you wonder whether such slogans ever really make a difference. I suspect the answer’s yes. Amidst chaos and contradiction, their simplicity and clarity helps coalesce half-grasped convictions into a powerful, unified “Yes! That’s right!” that fires people up and drives them to the polls. (See also ‘Get Brexit Done’.)

Plusa Shoreditch

Largely to compensate for my abysmal thumbsmanship, I frequently dictate messages into my phone, letting Google take care of turning them into actual text. Mostly it does an excellent job, including learning my quirks, so that after I’ve corrected its interpretations a couple of times, it gets it right the third and subsequent times.

One thing that really does throw it, though, is foreign expressions. Even what you might think of as common and pretty obvious ones. I was tickled the other day by its groping attempts to get a grip on my (increasingly carefully pronounced) plus ça change, which I was trying to get, complete with cidilla, ready for copy ‘n pasting.

First attempt: Cruise fashion. Second: Flu sachets. Then Blue sessions. After Plusa Shoreditch, I decided it might be time to try a different route.


One man and his infographics

My daughter thought I might like this film:

She was right. One of the best bits of infographics I’ve ever come across.

A friend said ‘I knew about the Russian losses, but the scale of Chinese deaths was a revelation to me.’ It was to me too, but the thing that really struck me was the power of good infographics to make those Russian losses, which we all ‘know about’, come to life. You just sit there mouth agape watching the column grow, thinking ‘how much higher?’, and it just goes up, and up, and up…

Communication gets no better.