Listening to the endless anti-Brexit caterwauling of Britain’s political and media classes brings to mind (again) George Orwell’s essay, ‘Politics and the English Language’, first published in 1946. Political language, Orwell wrote, ‘is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind’. More than 70 years later, political language is being redesigned to make killing off Brexit appear respectable.
The point of Orwell’s essay is not only that all politicians – ‘from Conservatives to Anarchists’ – tell lies. It is also that the corruption and degradation of our language reflects and reinforces the debased state of our politics.
For proof, look no further than the rows about Britain’s departure (or not) from the European Union. The way words have been twisted in this discussion shows how far the Remainer elites have taken over the debate about Brexit.
The dread word ‘Brexit’ is rarely allowed out on its own these days. Instead it must always be accompanied by a minder – an adjective whose job it is to warn us that Brexit is a very bad boy. Instead of leaving the European Union on 29 March, Britain is facing a ‘Brexit disaster’, a ‘cliff-edge Brexit’, a ‘car-crash Brexit’ or a ‘catastrophic no-deal Brexit’.
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What all these phrases mean is: Brexit, aka leaving the EU. That is the true disaster for the Remainer elites, the ‘catastrophic’ fact that 17.4million dared to ignore their instructions and voted to Leave, and that the majority might get away with it. Political language must be designed and deployed to delegitimise…