Evenin’ all

Came across a new bit of prime officialese while attending to a glitch on my YouTube channel: “Met police use “tactical contact” to take down a moped rider who escaped by riding at speed through a park and down pavements.” ‘Tactical contact’ being shorthand for crashing into a fleeing rider, to knock them off their bike.

Good to see the police are maintaining their excellent record for tactical euphemism.


Just started reading ‘Tomorrow to be brave’ – the autobiography of Susan Travers – the only woman ever to serve in the French Foreign Legion. It’s a cracking read! She’s a very interesting writer, in that she’s really not that great a writer, but she’s a great example of simple, clear, just-tell-it-like-it-is exposition. Witness this account of her arrival in France, having been abruptly transferred from her English boarding school:

So vivid!

(Sitting here with snow falling in the back garden, how I would love to be teleported to Le Suquet in the spring…)

It’s the drugs

On my recent release post-surgery, I was given a sheet of instructions covering the goody-bag of drugs I’d been handed:

I suggested to the nurse that the information – really very important, and quite complicated – seemed to be a jumble of what, why, when & whether, with no real order or structure. Why present such varied messaging as an undifferentiated list of bullets?

Subsequently, and with a head full of opiates, I nevertheless came up with:

Doubtless this could be further refined, but compared with the original….

I do find it strange that communicating with the patient is palpably given such low priority in the overall scheme of things, when you would have thought it one of the key success factors.

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’.)