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12 Jan, 2008 06:55

UK ruled by Orwellian newspeak: thinktank

A respectable right-wing thinktank in Britain – the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) – says the UK government is increasingly using language to control people's lives. The CPS has put together Lexicon 2008 – a guide that de

The CPS is concerned that New Labor spin doctors have taken the manipulation of language to a new level over the past 10 years.

For example, when a politician says “the real issue” – it often means they just want to talk about what they want to talk about and ignore the other person’s view.

CPS Director Jill Kirby says it brings to mind the novel 1984.

“Orwell talked about ‘Newspeak’ and the language of government controlling the way people thought. Ultimately Orwell’s phrase was that language isn’t just changed by us but changes the way we think and governments can change the way people think possibly by the use of language,” Kirby said.

People joke about Gordon Brown being Stalinist in his approach to government. There is always some truth in a joke like that. So far Brown likes to make big announcements about long term plans in the way that socialist regimes have always done.

Ed Fordham, a member the Liberal-Democratic Party, doesn’t regard the CPS's lexivon as a joke.

“I certainly feel nervous at the government picking language, picking words deliberately, and combined with ID cards and CCTV cameras and what sort of feels like state intrusion on my life,” Fordham said.

He remembers using some of its vocabulary himself.

“Quite often you say: ”Look, we have to address this!“ which is code for ”we have to get it off“. I thought oh my god, I’ve used it myself”.