The Meaningless Political Cliches Drinking Game!

Recently I penned an article about how clichés used in political discourse harm the way we think and damage our methods of persuasion as certain phrases/maxims lose their impact due to overuse.

After posting the article this issue has been troubling me for some time, but not due to the ethics of how we should use language but just out of sheer irritation* at the frequency of the linguistic-seizures foaming out of politician/journalist/pundit’s mouths. Certain phrases used in talk-shows, speeches are either so overused, meaningless or incoherent that it has infected the way I think. It’s very difficult not to use a cliché because there are so many – so many that I have created a list…or rather: a drinking game.

Thus a good measure of how poisoned politics has become with clichés is to see how quickly one can get drunk via sipping alcohol accordingly to when the maxims and words listed below are used in a speech or a discussion-show (i.e. Question Time or Newsnight).

Behold, The Meaningless Political Clichés Drinking Game…

Nigel Farage holding a pint of beer

Nigel Farage holding a pint of beer

PHRASES – 1 SIP OF DRINK

  1. “Hardworking Families”
  2. “Tough Decisions”
  3. “The War on **insert cultural phenomenon to which current government is having an ideological battle against**
  4. “The something for nothing culture”
  5. “The us and them mentality”
  6. “A tough love approach to…”
  7. “We’re cracking down on…” (Crime, drugs, extremism, benefit fraudsters, tax-dodging etc)
  8. “Frontline services”
  9. “Communities” (especially “vibrant” ones)
  10. “Diversity”
  11. “Inclusivity”
  12. “Change”
  13. “Dreams”
  14. “Aspirations”
  15. “Goals”
  16. “British values” (when used with this strange – and arrogant – assumption that British people are the only people in the world who have representative democracy, trial by jury, who queue in shops, who use sarcasm, or who eat fish and chips)
  17. “Democracy” (the word itself being used as a piece of persuasive rhetoric/a political buzzword to attack the opposing side…i.e. “this isn’t democratic”, “this policy goes against democratic values”)
  18. “This is the 21st century” (Saying this condescending phrase as an attack against someone with socially-conservative/traditionalist values)
  19. “Draconian”/“Medieval”/“Ice age” (Using a word/phrase which implies/states the concept of ‘the past’ to criticise a policy – “the bedroom tax is something you’d see in medieval times”, “these draconian measures…”)
  20. “Party politics”
  21. “Political point scoring”
  22. “Benefit scroungers/spongers/thieves”
  23. “This is the worst….since….” (i.e. “This is the worst economic situation since Wall Street”, “This is the worst crime rate since 1987”…)
  24. “Raising awareness”
  25. “We’ve all seen the images” (in reference to a famine/war which is obviously not in a 1st world country because said person loves being all judgemental and assumes everyone in middle-eastern countries a cannibalistic barbarian because they’ve “never heard of democracy”)
  26. “Broken Britain”
  27. “We’re all in this together”
  28. “United we stand”
  29. “Change for the better”/”Change we can all believe in”
  30. Adding a word before the noun “Britain” to apply it with an ideological attribute: “alarm clock Britain”, “multicultural Britain”
  31. “Yes we can”
  32. “It’s the economy, stupid”
  33. “The International Community”
  34. The portmanteaus “Europhile” and “Eurosceptic”
  35. “The Westminster Bubble”
  36. “A New Politics” (in particular reference to the idea that this speech is about changing political culture, specifically ending political corruption)
  37. “Educated at Cambridge/Harrow/**insert wealthy educational establishment here**” (Randomly referencing – usually a Tory – politician’s educational history to suggest that they’re not representative of the majority of the people)
  38. “The Liberal Elite”
  39. “The Metropolitan Elite”
  40. The suffix “-gate” used to describe a political scandal (i.e. “Plebgate”, “Bigotgate”, “Cablegate”, “Watergate”…)
  41. “The mainstream media…” (Randomly mentioning the “mainstream media” to criticise political bias to divert attention from your own mistakes and thus criticise the way you/your party has been represented as opposed to the actions of you/your party)
  42. “Will you let me finish”/“I let you speak, you’ll let me speak”/“As I was saying” (Phrases used in political interviews/debates/discussions where specific panel members are “rudely interrupted” and thus have to start their point ALL OVER AGAIN)
  43. “Look…” (Starting a sentence with the word “Look” with a brief pause and a pointless hand-gesture to signal the fact that you’re going to say something which probably involves a difficult time in the future due to “tough decisions” having to be made)
  44. “At the end of the day…”
  45. “Let’s deal with some HARD facts”
  46. “The West” (Using this pointless generalised phrase when all you really mean is just “America”)
  47. “The East” (Using this pointless generalised phrase because you assume that all middle-eastern Muslim countries aren’t as civilised as us Westerners – generally said in a very patronising tone)
  48. Using the word “deeply” for extra impact (usually in reference to a scandal where a media-personality/politician has said the N-word for example… “this was a deeply offensive thing to say”, “this has deeply offended the XYZ community”)
  49. Just the word “offensive”
  50. The words “inappropriate” or “unprofessional” used when stronger words would do (usually used to describe a media-personality/politician saying something “offensive”… “his comments were deeply inappropriate considering his high-position. A total misjudgement and totally unprofessional”)
  51. “We need to get out of Europe!” (A meaningless phrase which what they really meant to say was: “We need to leave the EU”)
  52. “Boom and bust”
  53. “The squeezed middle”

RHETORICAL METHODS – 3 SIPS OF DRINK

  1. Meaningless hand gestures
  2. A specific word/phrase/sentence said 3 times for rhetorical impact
  3. Stating a statistic but using it entirely out of context, thus warping the statistic to fit your own point/argument
  4. Taking a longer than usual sip of water (provided by the BBC taxpayer) just so you can think of a point
  5. “Doing a Michael Howard” – i.e. not answering the question at all and instead resorting to saying (and indeed repeating) a meaningless sentence over and over again to divert attention from your/the party’s own mistakes/actions/decisions
  6. Comparing a politician to a previous infamous one – i.e. Margaret Thatcher, Enoch Powell
  7. Comparing a politician to a famous dictator (usually Hitler because that was the first fucking dictator that came into said person’s tiny brain)
  8. Confusing Communism and Stalinism/saying that North Korea is a “communist/socialist country” (and any other versions of the same mistake)
  9. Linking UKIP to extremist parties like Golden Dawn and Front Nationale (or just saying general crap like “Nigel Farage is doing exactly what the Nazis did”)
  10. Using “liberal” and “left” interchangeably, or just saying “liberal left”
  11. Confusing “multiculturalism” with “multiracialism” (and vice versa)
  12. Saying bizarre phrases to mock left-wingers: “guardian reading, Godless, beret-wearing, tree-hugging socialists” (etc)
  13. Saying bizarre phrases to mock right-wingers: “daily mail reading, ultra-Christian, white-supremacist, bigots” (etc)
  14. Mocking the media-image of a politician as opposed to their policies/ideology/what they stand for (i.e. laughing at Ed Miliband for looking like a very famous children’s stop-moton character, and being substantially poor at consuming a bacon-butty)
  15. Using the metaphor/image of a door, a gate or a bridge to describe issues surrounding immigration
  16. Journalists who use nasally intonation on specific words for theatrical effect (journalists include Jeremy Vine and Nick Robinson)
  17. Inserting a word in front of an ideology or party-name to imply that the party has “moved on” from its old ways…i.e. “One Nation Labour”, “New Labour”, “Compassionate Conservatism”…etc
  18. Making a politicians name into an adjective/or another word form, i.e. “Thatcherite”, “Neo-thatcherism”, “Blairite”, “Milibandism”

REALLY CRAP JOKES AND CHEAP GIMICKS – FIVE SIPS

  1. Politicians trying to be funny
  2. Journalists trying to be funny
  3. Awful play on words-gags such as turning “Blair” into “Bliar” or combining the names of the political parties to represent your view towards them “I CONDEM the conservative and the liberal democrats (maybe even phrases similar and including “Clegg-mania”)
  4. Journalists ending a report with a play on words which references the theme/topic of the video…i.e. if it’s about sport “Britain is going to have run the extra-mile/jump a few more hurdles if it really wants to stand a chance at gaining gold in terms of the quality of PE lessons”
  5. Silly over-the-top graphics employed to demonstrate a point, i.e. to show that the economy is rising, present a bar-chart increasing but the bar in the bar chart is replaced by lots of gold coins stacking onto one another

 

*The following drinking game is probably too harsh/pedantic in certain points