Prince Philip has been admitted to hospital. An NHS hospital, by the way, the NHS that is the flagship of the socialist utopia that Danny Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony masterpiece was devoted to brainwashing us into believing that we all live in. (No, that’s not my opinion, but it is Richard Littlejohn’s. Yes, he is a poisonous **** isn’t he?)
Anyway, back to Phil the Greek. The Queen’s husband is in hospital but, we are told, this is a “precautionary measure”. What does that mean, exactly? Is the old git ill, or isn’t he?
“Precautionary measure”? Are NHS hospitals in the business of admitting people into their wards who aren’t actually ill, but who might be ill at some point in the future? I would guess not. So has he been admitted to hospital because he is ill? Again, I’m guessing, but I think the answer is “Yes”. So why not just say so?
What is this meaningless “precautionary measure” phrase, and when did it start being used in official announcements as some kind of soft soap way of dulling our undoubted horror at the thought that, for instance, a 91-year old man might get ill now and again? Can we, the Great British public, not be trusted to battle on through our lives if we are told the whole truth, that the Queen’s husband, a hero of anti-political correctness bores up and down the land, is not going to live forever?
Isn’t it funny that a press statement concerning the health of a man whose fame (leaving aside his choice of bride) is built upon being straight-to-the-point, calling-a-spade-a-spade, and having little time for tact or diplomacy, is so steeped in language of which, I suspect, he would most heartily disapprove?
“Just tell them I’m bloody ill”, I can imagine would be his instructions to his underlings.
But no, we, the people, cannot be trusted with such plain-speaking, we have to be coddled and soothed with “precautionary measure”, lest we panic and storm the Bastille.
Or at least the local Morrisons.
Some other phrases that should be hung, drawn and quartered
(1) “Cautiously optimistic” : Meaning what? It’s so general that it means precisely nothing. Nothing at all. Anyone who utters it can claim to have been “correct” when the scenario is played-out to its conclusion. Things go wrong and they can say “Yeah, I was cautious”. Things go right and they say “Yeah, I was optimistic”. Oh, well done. Dickhead.
(2) “I’m going to be honest with you” : Well that’s a huge relief, but logic tells me that if you have decided to say that now then you weren’t being honest on previous occasions when I spoke to you, otherwise why would you say it? So come on, tell me when it was that you lied to me.
(3) “It is what it is” : A favourite, at least a while ago, of Tiger Woods. “Tiger, you shot 72 today, how do you feel about that”?
“Well, it is what it is”.
Yeah, thanks for that amazing insight.
(4) “I’m not being funny but…” : I’ll tell you what…I’ll be the judge of what’s funny and what isn’t. You don’t need to tell me if you’re being funny, I’ll be able to work it out for myself. If I laugh, you were being funny. If I don’t, you weren’t. It’s a system I’ve used all my life. Twerp.
(5) “Don’t get me wrong” : The only reason for saying that must be because you know that what you’ve said could be misinterpreted. That being the case, why not expand on what you said, thus making misinterpretation of your words a complete impossibility? Your efficient use of language will ensure that I don’t “get you wrong”. If you have the vocabulary of a cricket bat, then I may well be guilty of “getting you wrong”. Which would be your fault.