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Lyndon Hood: An Election-Year Glossary

Lyndon Hood's Election-Year Glossary

Are you weary of trying to decipher exactly what various parties will do if elected?

Having trouble sorting out the scandals from the storms-in-tea-cup?

Have you been left drowning and helpless in waves of catch-all buzzwords and empty political rhetoric, and that even though actual campaigning hasn't started yet?

You are not alone!

Your humble lexicographer is in much the same boat.

But, not being one to let ignorance get in the way of a good definition, he submits the following in the hope of cutting through the fog of political war:

Billboards - A device for the refining of factoids into something shorter, vaguer, and more misleading.

Common Sense - What I think. Thus, any party professing common sense is in total agreement with me. Actual, announced policies are just gravy. If particular assertions are declared to be 'common sense' then they require no testing through reason or experience.

Cricket - Cricket still carries the reputation of being a game played by gentleman. In fact, it is played by professionals. This lexicographer is not certain which is worse.

Crime - That which one is tough on. It is to be understood that being 'tough on crime' primarily involves giving the police more powers and being crueller than normal to prisoners - as distinct from doing things that actually reduce crime or discourage re-offending.

Economy - So much has been said about this, with so little agreement and causing such strife, that many are tempted to conclude that it is in fact a figment of the human imagination, though perhaps a necessary one. The Economy is unique and indivisible but all things are contained within it. It is the almighty power motivating all things, and if we keep her precepts always in our thoughts, she will smile on us. Exactly what the true path is appears to be a matter of faith.

Election Date - Usually announced a couple of months in advance or less. The opposition is therefore understandably in an uproar over the fact that Helen Clark, with a mere ten weeks to go until the last possible date, remains stubbornly silent. They all want a date from Helen. But if she gave a date to everyone who asked, what would happen to her reputation?

Family Values - If this political catch-phrase does not in fact refer to buying stuff, eating, watching television and playing playstation then this lexicographer must be thinking of the wrong family.

Foreigners - Bad people. Certain conservative voters instinctively understand the way that tolerance of diverse cultures has historically tended to produce cultural, technological and economic progress. This, they realise, would be change. Which is bad.

Mainstream - Generally believed to refer to old, rich, white men. This interpretation tallies admirably with the term's youth/pop culture meaning of 'someone with whom I do not wish to be seen dead'.

Nukes - A class of object that, when operating normally, emits much less radioactive material than the average hospital, and when exploding, doesn't. We should consider letting these into our harbours, say the people who wanted us to help invade Iraq.

Policy - For a major opposition party, this is something to be released in enough time for it to be analysed, but not enough time for how stupid it actually is to sink into the public consciousness. Minor parties are spared this balancing act because their policies are not required to make sense or, indeed, exist. For a current government, policy is something with which you have been annoying the public for the last term.

Surplus - The difference between the Government's expenditure and its income. The question of what income and, more controversially, which costs should count towards this equation is most safely left to politicians. How can it be that we have a seven billion dollar surplus yet also have increasing Government debt? This is clearly bad magic, and should not be meddled with.

Tax Cuts - A method of dissipating a surplus or reducing services or increasing debt. Note that these options are not mutually exclusive.

Tax Relief - A way of seeing that taxes don't get any higher. At least, not by accident.

Vote - Your chance to influence the future of this great nation. Unless, of course, you're going to vote for the Alliance or, like, ACT, in which case you may as well just stay home and update your weblog.

*************

homepages.ihug.co.nz/~lghood
fightingtalk.blogspot.com


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