Alex Massie

Department of Government Gobbledygook

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Bill Jamieson has been having some fun with the ghastly nonsense that is Government-Speak. Some favourites:

BENCHMARKING - Clipboard activity suggesting that measuring a problem is the same as doing something about it. Gives illusion of purposeful action, as in David Milliband: "A diversity of approach allows us to spread risks, to test out different ways of working, and to benchmark best practice."

COMMUNITY GROUP - Special interest group with a grievance, or group of people a politician wants to flatter or appease. Participation in community not relevant.

CUSTOMER - Someone who has no choice over the public service he or she is obliged to use.

ECO - Three letters to attach to any development seeking a fast track through the planning system.

ECO-HOME - A house made with planks.

FRAMEWORK - Incoherent set of ideas; a miscellany. Often used in conjunction with 'National' and 'Strategic' to give 'three lemons' bonus pay-out in Buzzword Bingo.

STAKEHOLDER - Anyone with any interest in a service or utility apart from (a) those who have to use it and (b) those who pay for it.

And, of course:

SMART SUCCESSFUL SCOTLAND - Weblink disabled; no longer operational.

Your own favourite examples of this dreary corruption of language?

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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