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June 29, 2008

Buzzwords Are Out In British Local Government

If you are a British bureaucrat it is time to drop all of those helpful buzzwords that work to confuse us common folk. There will be no more vague words with meanings that are contrived by bureaucrats with meanings that really do not mean what they seem like they should mean. From now on, people should be able to understand what local government officials are talking about.

It is interesting when you listen tot government officials. There tend to be a number of words that are used to represent different situations that occur in government. As the British Local Government Association calls them, these non-words do not get the message across any better. I mean really, what do you mean when you say “empowerment,” “coterminosity”? Well, apparently it means a situation in which two organizations watch over the same geographical area. Surely that could be conveyed in another way than those to triumphed up words.

I do commend the British government for wanting people to be able to understand what is being discussed. At times I think that politicians work hard to make it very difficult for average people to understand what they are doing. Buzzwords can get people on board when it comes to policies and laws. If you only understand half of what is being said you may end up voting or accepting policies that you really don’t want.

There are 100 buzzwords that have been listed and labeled as non-words. The goal is to stop officials from hiding behind words that are cloudy and vague. Will this help everyone understand what is going on in government? We will have to wait and see. It is interesting to watch the British House of Commons interact. Occasionally I watch the House of Commons go at it on C-Span. I generally understand what they are talking about but there are times when I wonder exactly what the speakers are trying to say.

Another aspect of these buzzwords is that the public could possibly become more educated about the buzzwords that are being used by the government officials. I know that some of these words are not that useful but are all of the buzzwords unproductive? I don’t know. Perhaps some of them are useful and learning just a few new words would not hurt anyone. I guess that question is, are the buzzwords really a problem for the British population? Or is this something that officials are making more out of than is necessary?

One word that did not make the list but was in the running was brainstorming. There was a concern that the word might offend those with Epilepsy. However, a survey by the National Society for Epilepsy found the members were not offended by this term. Even though Epilepsy does produce a sort of storm in the brain at times, I really don’t think that the term brainstorming is new or offensive. I have been hearing that term since I was in elementary school. So brainstorming is neither a new word or a buzzword. It is just a term that refers to coming up with a flood of ideas.

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