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Councils clamp down on Strategy Boutique Newspeak

The end of blue sky horizon scanning coterminosity

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The Local Government Association (LGA) has issued a jargon death list featuring 200 of the worst Strategy Boutique abuses of the English language which will in future be consigned to the dustbin of linguistic history.

Among the outrages marked for proscription are "blue sky thinking", "holistic governance", "paradigm", "rebaselining", "synergies", "horizon scanning", "coterminosity" and the rather sensational "Predictors of Beaconicity".

According to the BBC, the LGA insists these and other affronts to common lexicographical decency must be avoided so that council staff can "communicate effectively".

LGA chairman Margaret Eaton said: "The public sector must not hide behind impenetrable jargon and phrases. Why do we have to have 'coterminous, stakeholder engagement' when we could just 'talk to people' instead?"

The main aim of the purge is, Eaton explained, so that people can "get access to the 800 different services that local government provides with taxpayers' money" - in plain English.

She added: "Unless information is given to people to explain what help they can get during a recession then it could well lead to more people ending up homeless or bankrupt. If a council fails to explain what it does in plain English then local people will fail to understand its relevance to them or why they should bother to turn out and vote."

A Plain English Campaign spokeswoman weighed in with: "This gobbledegook has to go. Jargon has its place within professions* but it should not be allowed to leak out to the public, as it causes confusion. It could even be used to cover up something more sinister. Churchill and Einstein were both plain speakers and they did OK. Councils should follow their lead."

If your nerves can stand it, ComputerWeekly has an extended list of the offending vocab here. ®

Bootnote

*We cordially invite the spokeswoman to spend a holistic power lunch brainstorming with Vulture Central's very own Strategy Boutique, after which she'll probably change her mind on that point.

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