Newspeak, 2011-style

Brent council in north London has just rubber-stamped the closure of six of its libraries. We all know why this is outrageous (try: the £100m cuts imposed on the local government being equalled in Brent by spending £100m on a new town hall). That is not what astonishes me — that’s just standard Tory contempt for those with less money (close libraries), and Labour jobs-for-the-boys (build premises for yourself).

What is astonishing is the Newspeak that passes for English. I don’t expect politicians to tell the truth. In fact, I expect them to lie. (And God knows, they never disappoint.) But I do expect them to show just a tiny smidgeon of respect for the people who vote them in (or out! please God) of office. Councillor James Powney (Kensal Green) has justified the closure (note the word — closure — keep it in your mind) of the libraries by saying: ‘Opening our libraries seven days a week will make them more accessible, not less, and enhance the service for many people.’ (My italics, of course.)

So a man who is closing (I’m doing this slowly, for the hard-of-thinking) libraries, defends them by saying he is opening them.

I’m not that smart, I admit. My grasp of English cannot always be relied on.  But is that George Orwell we just heard spinning in his grave?

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