The Queen of England’s Double-Speak Speech
The Queen has today delivered her Speech. Her government will this and her government will that. I know I should be interested in the legislation to protect freedom of speech; strengthened oversight of the security and intelligence agencies (yeah, right); and the rather worrying Data Communications Bill.
But of course we don’t know enough about any of these yet. The devil will be in the detail. But it’s the detail that worries me. Was this the Queen of England speaking? The Guardian of the Queen’s English?
“My Government will seek the approval of Parliament on the anticipated accession of Croatia to the European Union.”
Anticipated? No, my dear, that’s wrong. You might mean ‘expected’ or ‘forthcoming’ or even ‘imminent’; but you should not use ‘anticipated’ – that has a completely different meaning. And that’s what really worries me. Her government is likely to use words to describe ‘strengthening oversight of the security and intelligence agencies’ and accessing ‘vital communications data under strict safeguards’ in words that are at least misleading if not downright wrong.
Perhaps, of course, ‘anticipated’ was a deliberate mistake – a coded warning to us not to accept the accuracy of what her government tells us.