We launched a new service today as part of our crusade for clearer communication. Our new micro-site, polifiller.com, is a jargon-removal tool for politicians.
I launched polifiller.com on the Today Programme on Radio 4 this morning – and on the Daily Politics on BBC TV. I explained to John Humphreys (and later in the morning to Jo Coburn and Andrew Neil) that there are two main issues with political language in this country.
The first is that the sanitised turn of phrase is ripped to shreds within seconds on Twitter, where contributors behave like a pantomime audience. The moment a politician says “I was talking to someone in my constituency this week” you can almost hear the unified digital cry “Oh. No. You. Didn’t.”
The second is that the lack of authenticity in political language is having a materially negative effect on perceptions of politicians. This morning I used the X Factor analogy. Most politicians sound like the jaded cabaret stars that the X Factor turns its contestants into, with every hint of authenticity scrubbed away.
What I suggested is that politicians should watch episodes of the X Factor series in reverse order and note what happens when the jaded air-brushed star gives up the limelight, returns to his/her roots and finds the qualities that had been lost in the rise to fame.
An authentic, jargon-free voice is as essential for businesses today. The days of acronyms and stock phrases are over. As we’ve discovered, the best opportunities for business come from wrong-footing expectations.
If there are any political cliches that you’d like us to add to our database, do drop me a note at email@example.com.
Here are the interviews in full: