Control The Language, Control The People

I have a languages background.  One of the intriguing points that comes out of that is how language is used as a tool of suppression and suggestion, often to induce opinions.

“That’s not me” you say, but the odds are you’ll be wrong.  As an example, all who have used the phrase “the taxpayer” at all in recent months in particular, check out now.  The shadowy “taxpayer” is a paragon of virtue, a source of social inspiration on whom we all rely, to the point that if something is perceived as slightly ignoble, well, it’s a waste of “taxpayer’s money”.  And you swallow it, hook, line and sinker, despite it being the rallying cry of an increasingly dark government.

“Oh, government” you say, rolling your eyes at me because you fancy I’m going to go cabinet-bashing against those socially responsible millionaires in the hotseats doing a wonderful job for “the taxpayer”.  Well, no.  Suppression and misdirection of language goes back forever – the Spanish Inquisition burned books, French postal authorities would not deliver to an address in Breton, Franco suppressed Catalan, Basque, Gallego under pain of sanction and imprisonment.  There’s many other occasions but ultimately, since the Inquisition was not repealed until the 1830s, these are not going back to the days of the Dark Ages – this is a consistent modern history.

Well, you can judge a government by the language it uses.  “The taxpayer” we’ve already covered, but you can all but play “blackshirt bingo” with successive governments.  Here’s a few examples

  • “Affordable” – this is an almost mythical get-out for any claim on anything that incurs cost.  “Pensions need to be affordable” is the cry.  That they arealready affordable is not addressed because their response will state that
  • “Comparable with the private sector” – is cited as a benchmark.  Public sector pensions are of course an element of pay and plundering pensions is little more than a pay cut you didn’t have the balls to do on salary.  That and the pension in the already-affordable format is so unattractive to privatisation as although affordable, a private company will want to tear into that.  Maxwell, anyone?
  • “Choice”.  Choice in the market place might be sold to you as a positive idea but is it?  I don’t want choice in my health provider, I want treatment from someone who will look after me and try to make me well.  Any private provider has the vested interest of keeping me well enough not to die but sick enough to generate revenue.  That’s what “choice” means in healthcare – the government turns you into a tradable commodity while selling Nye Bevan down the river.
  • “Growth”.  No-one in government has ever explained the principles of “growth”.  The reason is because no-one knows what it actually means.  It’s a vague number that has even vaguer implications and will not impact on your buying milk for breakfast.  Very important in telling you that everything is peachy, even when it isn’t.
  • “Revision”.  Means “increase”.  Fares and fees, charges and tariffs have not been increased in thirty years but they are “revised” twice a year minimum.  And they never go down.
  • “Reform.”  The antithesis of “revision”.  Reform will involve job cuts, reduced funding or worse conditions for users and providers alike.  Reform’s ultimate goal is one single unit of industry providing everything (whether it be a machine or a human machine) for an increasing board of directors and shareholders while surviving on recycled air.

There is one that falls out of the frame.  That is “scrounger”.  The reason “scrounger” fails is because a scrounger is deemed to be someone who provides nothing, who merely takes without putting in any effort in creation of items or wealth.  The trouble with that definition, however, is that it is entirely interchangeable with “shareholder”.

The recent “argument” that has begun to surface is that “1% are providing 28% of the country’s tax” and they should somehow get thanks or relief for that.  This taxation is somehow seen as a blight on the 1%. 

The clear implication from that to me is that if in excess of one quarter of the nation’s tax is produced by one hundredth of the population, then there is a clear problem with salary and distribution of wealth.  I will quite happily see that reduced if it means that the telephone number salaries that allow such a taxation disparity are suitably addressed.  You don’t see that argument, though.  You get told “we’re earning to keep you, you ingrates, we should be allowed to keep more of our filthy lucre”.

The control of the people in presenting this anti-majority rhetoric then produces a remarkable example of brass neck.  The amazing “we’re all in this together” is used to strip every penny and more from those who need it the most.  Under the yoke of the words “contribution”, “equality” and “taxation”, “benefit” as if it is owned by someone else rather than it being an “allowance” to which your circumstances entitle you, the poor get the unrelenting privilege of becoming poorer out of some sort of sense of community.

The same sense of community allows MPs to make up their own salaries, run up expenses for their job in the way that you and I cannot and also court and be courted by business interests whose concern, when everyone else has to contribute more, suffer pay freezes and lose out through loss of tax credits, cuts in entitlement and increased pension payments, is in arranging a 10% tax cut.

We pay more, they pay less.  How does that work?  Well, it will stimulate growth (see above) and increase jobs, production, demand… 

No, what you are saying is it will stimulate profit for investment which you may then choose to invest.  Really?  Sorry in the face of the language, then, that I don’t trust you.  I’m not interested in your profit.  Your own arguments show your profit is “the taxpayer’s” expenditure and as such all profits should go to “the taxpayer”.  In those terms, I would retain current levels and demand you invest your profit now – or we’ll increase your taxation level. 

It surely follows that if tax breaks increase profits through investment, then it is investment that creates profits.  Invest now, therefore, from existing profit.  You’re a private concern, raise your funds privately.  Speculate to accumulate, as the saying goes.  Don’t try and take my country’s taxation to offset yours and stop thieving from the “scrounger” to pay the shareholder.

That’s such an appalling attempt at robbing the poor to line the wealthy coffers with silk that you’d have to subvert the language, subvert the people to try and wear it.

You end up believing your own propaganda while the great unwashed don’t and for some reason you all look surprised when people riot and loot.


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