The Strange Case of the Assassination of the English Language During the 2017 General Election

Let’s talk about the English language. Specifically, how it has suffered throughout this dire and needless election campaign.

Do not be surprised if on Friday 9th June a battered, bruised and heavily swollen amorphous figure turns up at the Royal Courts of Justice, on the Strand, central London to sue all the major political parties, except for the Greens. That figure, my dear readers and fellow bloggers, will be the English language.

Where to start? Enough has been said! Actually, that is a good place to begin, “enough”. Was it used as an adjective a few days ago, describing adequacy and sufficiency, or as an adverb, meaning “fully” or “quite”? Or perhaps it was deployed as an interjection? Enough is enough!

But the truth is that enough has been enough for quite a long time. What the speaker forgot to add was that when it comes to cutting police numbers to the bare minimum, thus, putting the UK population at risk of terrorist attacks, enough is enough. That on the subject of stripping the education budget to the bare bones, leaving headteachers holding a begging bowl instead of a book, enough is enough. That when it comes to privatising our free healthcare, one of this nation’s proudest achievements and leaving it under-resourced with overworked staff, enough is enough. There, I sussed it for ya.

If you happen to be a businessperson and you are desperate to close a deal, especially one where you have not got the upper hand at all and you are at the mercy of the other party, how can a “no deal” be better than “a bad deal”? Especially, if your livelihood and that of your tribe depend on it. English language, I beseech thee, pray, tell me, is the world going mad or is a transaction that can always be improved in the future not a better option than one where there is no transaction at all and no bargaining possibility?

Sometimes the best answer is honesty. Of course, I am not saying that every time an interviewer asks a question, the interviewee should answer: “Honesty”. What I mean is that if you don’t know the answer, please, just say “I don’t know”. You see? That’s easy. Or, “I don’t know the answer to that question now. I do have the figures you asked me about but I am going to have to check them and come back to you.” Fluffing your lines, being seen checking your iPad and mobile, doesn’t cut it. And the worst thing? That amorphous figure on the corner. It has just been decked once again.

I am aware that in the world of fake news we all suffer, including language. I am just hoping that the English language can mount a challenge, a counter-attack against those who have mistreated it so much recently. Perhaps we could help. After all, enough is enough.

London-based, Cuban writer. Author of “Cuban, Immigrant, and Londoner”, to be published by Austin Macauley. Has written for The Guardian and Prospect.

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