Politics and the English Language and Nick Griffin

3309073013_38626089dfI enjoyed watching Nick Griffin flounder of BBC Question Time last night. David Dimbleby handled him beautifully, like an experienced barrister might toy with a petty rogue. He snared Griffin about 14 minutes in, using a speech the leader of the far-right British National Party made (alongside David Duke, leader of the KKK) in the US, where he said:

“If you put that [expelling non-whites from Britain] as your sole aim to start with you are going to get absolutely nowhere. So instead of talking about racial purity, we talk about identity. We use saleable words: freedom, security, identity, democracy. Nobody can attack you on those ideas.”

It was over 50 years ago that George Orwell (right) in Politics and the English Language remarked how such words were often used by politicians with the intention to deceive:

The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. 

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