Monday, April 29, 2013

Is That What You REALLY Want To Say?

This week, some of us in the UK have the opportunity to vote in our local council elections. This means that the various political parties have been pushing their campaign material through our letterboxes. This is some of the funniest material about, often conveying information that the political parties probably didn’t intend to convey.

For example, the political party in control of my local council has put out campaign material promoting their achievements whilst they’ve been in office. One such achievement focusses on improving the county’s broadband infrastructure. In one sentence they mention that they “found £8 million.”

Now, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the main definition of the verb found is: “having been discovered by chance, or unexpectedly.” I wonder if this political party want voters to think they manage money in such a slapdash manner that they have discovered by chance, or unexpectedly, the sum of £8 million. (It suggests that the cleaner came across it one day, fallen down the back of the filing cabinet.)

I have to say that this particular political party did not help their cause when they went on to say that they were going to use this £8 million and put it with the £8.2 million already set aside, to enable them to spend £16.7 million on improving the broadband infrastructure. Now, it’s been a while since I was last at school, and I was never any good at maths, but I’m fairly confident that 8 + 8.2 does not equal 16.7. 

Perhaps, there was another £500,000 that had been earmarked for this project, but this wasn’t mentioned in the campaign material. As a result, this leaflet suggests the political party aren’t in control of the finances, unexpectedly discovering by chance some money, and are completely inept at basic accounting!

So, next time you write something, edit your work and choose your words carefully. Are you conveying the message you really want to convey?

Good luck.

(PS. Unfortunately, the campaign material from the other political parties is just as dire!)