The Guardian • Issue #2079


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2079
Weasel Words heading


This shouldn’t be a weasel word. It’s good to be independent, and the Communist Party of Australia supports an independent Australia – kind of the opposite of what our two ‘parties of government’ support, ie an Australia that’s a working part of the US military.

Independent is weaselly when the users of the word pick and choose what they’re independent of. ‘Independent schools’ never want to be independent of the money of people who can’t afford for their kids to set foot on the grounds of one. Likewise ‘independent skills training providers’ cry out for neo-liberal governments to make them more dependent on subsidies at the expense of a quality free-for-all TAFE system. You can depend on it!


A columnist for Nine newspapers has described Victor Orban, Hungary’s Prime Minister as ‘radical’ because he’s announced a plan to give tax breaks to families who have at least four children – presumably the right kind of families, given Orban’s long record of racism and xenophobia. ‘Radical’ is just filling in because ‘bigoted’ needed a break.


Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong has practiced masterful weaselly understatement by calling for “restraint” from Israel, here meaning she’d like them to ease up on the mass murder of civilians thing.


Sometimes it’s good to be provocative – it might mean you’ve got exciting fashion sense, or that your opinions are different.  Sometimes, of course, ‘provocative’ is just a way of saying that somebody is an obnoxious racist/bigot but they get a lot of attention.

Sometimes it’s bad to be provocative. Just ask British PM Rishi Sunak who has described pro-Palestine, anti-war crimes demonstrations as ‘provocative’. Apparently 11 November, a day traditionally used to commemorate the end of megadeaths in 1918 is no time to protest against mass murder in 2023.


Tasmanian Liberal MP Bridget Archer has shown signs of having principles, crossing the floor to censure Scott Morrison over his secret ministries, and more recently voting against Peter Dutton’s idea of a race-based Royal Commission into child-abuse-but-only-in-Aboriginal-communities (see next item). It says a lot about the Dutton Liberal party that having any independence or principle is enough to classify Archer as ‘rogue.’

Dividing (by race)

Apparently a bad thing if it involves an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, what with Australia being a race-blind utopia and all, but a very good thing if it comes to having a Royal Commission into only Indigenous people, as suggested by Peter ‘not at all opportunist’ Dutton. The idea failed, leaving Dutton free to explore other ways of dividing the country along racial lines.

Executed (poorly)

More weaselly euphemism, this time describing the Defence Department deciding which lucky arms supplier would build our next lot of frigates for $45 billion – positively frugal next to AUKUS. ‘Poorly executed’ barely covers Defence breaking Commonwealth rules on buying things, and apparently losing, or at least clinging to, documents that might show how badly they stuffed things up. Defence must be a nice place to work – you try mishandling $45 billion at your work and see if they don’t say something a bit harsher than ‘poorly executed’.


The Israeli military is committing war crimes by practicing collective punishment on the population of Gaza. A ceasefire would mean that they stop doing that. Matthew Knott of Nine has described the desire for a ceasefire as “naive,” but goes along with the idea that Hamas and the Palestinian desire for an end to their oppression are two things that can be eliminated through bombing, so perhaps he should sit this one out.

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