Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The evasions of Alison Saunders

Nigel Dudley has written three fine posts examining the evasive language used by Alison Saunders and her spokespeople in announcing and defending her decision that Greville Janner should not be prosecuted.

They are:
To give you a taste of them, here is a quotation from the second:
First lets look at the phrase: "The DPP (Saunders) was not unduly influenced by anyone…". 
Note the use of the passive tense which makes it possible to evade identifying who has done the influencing - the phrasing is clever as it initially has you nodding in comfortable agreement. 
Then you notice that the stement says "unduly influenced." In this particular case the DPP should state who has "influenced" Saunders’s decision, rather than cower behind the passive tense – I find it interesting that the DPP is admitting that she can be influenced but does not feel the need to say who has done the influencing. 
Then there is the use of the extraordinary word "unduly," which means either "without cause or justification," or "unrightfully, undeservedly" or "to excess, beyond the due degree." Those words imply a very extreme degree of behaviour and allows an enormous scope for what could be deemed "due" influence. 
In other words the phrasing reveals nothing. Look at the gaps that are revealed when you use an active verb and meaningful adverbs.

No comments: