The Guardian • Issue #2053


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2053
Weasel Words heading

Working poor

This term comes to us from whatever combination of spin doctor and focus group that gets words into Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s mouth. It refers to people who work hard, but are still poor, so they don’t deserve to be poor, (unlike the unemployed who deserve to starve if the actions of our two major parties are anything to go by). Dutton is upset about this group of worthy workers. Not so upset that he didn’t vehemently oppose increasing the minimum wage, mind you. Certainly not so upset that he was against tax cuts that only benefit the, ummm, working rich. Working poor, Peter Dutton has your back when it comes to using you as an excuse to whinging about interest rate rises he’d do absolutely nothing about if he were in government. Thanks for helping out.

Real Reform

Reform is good, everyone knows that. Real reform must be really good. Of course one person’s “real reform” is another person’s savagely regressive tax increase. Just ask Nine-Fairfax senior economics correspondent Shane Wright who has been boldly arguing that the Stage 3 tax cuts should go further and should be paid for by increasing GST. This regressive tax which applies equally to the poorest and richest in the land should be raised and extended to fresh food and education. Wright’s idea is really something, that’s for sure, we’re just too polite to say exactly what.

Effective (symbolically and tangibly)

Like reform, effective is one of those things that’s always good. This weasely use of it comes to us from Marco Rubio who is wringing his hands about the prospect of the US not controlling the world’s finances one day. Rubio doesn’t want the US to stop controlling finances because of sanctions. Sanctions have been “symbolically and tangibly” effective, he claims. This shows how elastic the term “effective” can be. Sanctions haven’t stopped Cuba from being an inspiration to socialists the world over for 54 years, but they have made Cuba a lot poorer, so maybe that’s the sort of symbol that’s effective if you’re Marco Rubio. Then again, sanctions have starved a lot of children in Cuba, Syria, Iran and Iraq. Starving people are tangible, inasmuch as they can be touched, and we’re sure their parents would just love to touch Marco Rubio

Deeper debate

When one is a respected former PM, “just asking questions” isn’t profound enough. Julia Gillard, who is extra-respected in the light of the terrible Prime Ministers who came after her, has ’fessed up in a recent very respectful interview to getting marriage equality wrong. Julia, butter not melting in her mouth, claims that she thought that a “deeper debate” was needed, back when both she and Penny Wong believed, deeply of course, that keeping the SDA and the conservative Right of the Labor Party on side was more important than letting same sex couples get married. Even now, when she’s safely out of politics, and burnishing her reputation with reverent interviews, Gillard can’t be that frank, so “deeper debate” it is. Sadly none of the queer Australians who went through vilification and a survey from the spineless Turnbull government which confirmed what all the polls had told Turnbull anyway were there to let us know how much they enjoyed the depth of the debate Gillard gave them.

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