Belfast Telegraph

Going forward, John, can you just re-profile the way that you speak

Bu Nuala McKeever

It hasn’t taken Education Minister John O’Dowd long to get into government-speak. Announcing his plan to offer a very large redundancy package to older teachers, he said this would allow his department to “re-profile our educational workforce, going into the future”.

Now, never mind the hideous, meaningless nonsense that is “going into the future” it’s the use of the word “re-profile” that really takes the biscuit in that sentence. Everybody knows he means “get younger teachers in who’ll work for less money”. So why can’t he just say that? Do politicians (and their speech writers) not realise that such jargon only makes them seem even more distanced from ordinary people? Nobody speaks like that in the real world.

You don’t say, after dinner, “Right, I’m away into the kitchen to re-profile the dishes”. (Maybe you do, if so, don’t invite me round, please) Or, “This oul car’s banjaxed, I’ll have to re-profile my driving option.”

It’s bad enough coming from business people, but a man who’s in charge of educating our children really ought to set an example of clear, jargon-free language in everything he says. We’d be lucky to get a programme called ‘Yes Minister’ nowadays. It’d be more likely to be called ‘Absolutely, Minister, just as soon as we’ve revisited the impact going forward’.

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