Councils’ Anodyne Nonsensical Drivel


Yesterday I wrote an article about a scheme being run by a county council somewhere in deepest South West England. It will effectively provide free publicity for the scheme, which has admirable aims, throughout several towns within its catchment area. I duly did some research and churned out exactly 500 words. As a courtesy I sent a draft to the appropriate council employee. It turned out I’d made one or two factual errors; I was more than happy to correct them. But then it started.

  • Users of the scheme face certain difficulties, but I should explain what it does without referring, or even alluding, to any of them.
  • Actually, I’m not supposed to call users of the scheme ‘users’. It has to be ‘clients’ (this in spite of the fact that users receive the non-professional services on offer free of charge and are not really clients at all).
  • In fact, I’m not supposed to refer to the scheme as ‘the scheme’ either. Instead I should trot out the name in full each time I mention it (that’s McDonald’s Cola, okay?).
  • It was suggested, on several occasions (four, in point of fact), that I should include the phrase ‘rolled out’. As the story has nothing at all to do with the aerospace industry, whence this particular corporateballs phrase originates, I have refrained from so doing.
  • I had mentioned that several entities had signed up or enrolled upon the scheme. This was verboten too. They had ‘applied to join’.
  • Those places that are part of the scheme display an identifying sign in their windows. Except they don’t. They display a logo.

While I appreciate these people exist in an entirely separate universe, one in which it is essential that everyone is empowered by leaders through collaborative processes to ensure best practice is delivered in a target-rich environment for low-hanging fruit, it really would be better for wider society if they made sure this crap remained safely confined within the meetings they seem to love attending.

I have just rewritten the article, transforming it from a fluid, interesting and informative piece into an unreadable mishmash of sanitised corporate crap – perfect for a local authority. My writing is never going to win any awards. This is partly because I’m a straight British male of Anglo-Scots heritage who was born with (and remains entirely comfortable owning) a penis, but it’s mostly down to a distinct dearth of talent. Some people do (clients, as it happens), however, pay me to come up with this stuff. This must mean that they trust I am at least reasonably competent at communicating in simple bloody English.

If we continue to allow the natural flow of language to be usurped by this anodyne, nonsensical drivel, human communication will be reduced to nothing more than a series of linking managementspeak bollocks. Nobody will understand a bleeding word of it and nothing will ever get done.

Councils… Good grief.

Matthew Corrigan is a Country Squire Guest Writer and a superb author whose excellent novel OSPREY shines a satirical light on a dodgy politician with a flying wind turbine scam. His books can be found here

One thought on “Councils’ Anodyne Nonsensical Drivel

  1. This is because normal people use words to communicate meaning whereas organisations employ them to obscure their intentions.
    Latest bull-sh*t word to have come my way, was a couple of days ago when my bank e-mailed me to say that “my income would reflect in my account”. Had to point out that moving my own money about was not “income” and they shouldn’t describe it as that (in case it could be taken for taxable income) and that rather than “reflecting” it would “appear” or “be paid into” my account.

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