The Rabbit liked this one.
We all note that Mister Howard, Mister Andrews, and all the rest of the crew inevitably speak of WORKPLACE REFORM. Well of course they would. The thesaurus makes clear how the word sits in the connotation stakes:
alteration, amelioration, betterment, change, correction, enhancement, improvement, mending, modification, rectification, reform, reformation, remedy, repair, revision
What they are actually proposing is WORKPLACE CHANGE, which could well connote:
abatement, backsliding, comedown, cropper, decay, decrepitude, degeneracy, degeneration, descent, deterioration, devolution, diminution, dissolution, dive, downfall, downgrade, downturn, drop, dwindling, ebb, ebbing, enfeeblement, failing, failure, fall, falling off, flop, lapse, pratfall, recession, relapse, senility, skids, slump, wane, waning, weakening, worsening.
They chose their words carefully. They are well trained in this respect, robotic almost.
Linguist George Lakoff explains very clearly how it works. He is in a noble tradition represented last century by, for example, George Orwell on the left (that’s his “Politics and the English Language”) and S I Hayakawa on the right.
Like the US Right, our Republicans (even if many are actually Monarchists) like John Howard follow the great linguist Newt Gingrich in his seminal 1996 thesis “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control”. Please note the following, from Propaganda Critic:
This is the list of “positive, governing words” that GOP candidates were told to use when speaking about themselves or their policies.
Eliminate good-time in prison
Pro-(issue) flag, children, environment
Works a treat, especially when a bit of neurolinguistic programming is stirred into the mix. Mark Deavin of the near-as-can-be-to-Nazi British National Party certainly seems to think so:
DEVELOPING RAPPORT: According to this theory of communication, even the most fundamental truth will have little effect unless it is presented in a manner which, by developing a substantial amount of natural rapport with the targeted audience, is capable of achieving effective persuasion. Such persuasion, moreover, is ultimately dependent upon the extent to which a sophisticated tactical flexibility is employed by the communicator to enable him to establish the necessary ‘agreement frame’ with the particular audience he wants to persuade.
How to produce this ‘agreement frame’ most effectively forms the underlying basis of the NLP philosophy. The proposed method has been aptly described by Anthony Robbins, author of Unlimited Power, as ‘Aikido politics’, whereby the communicator seeks to produce the least possible resistance in his targeted audience. The idea behind this theory is that, rather than pushing aggressively or trying to bludgeon an acceptance of an argument, a successful communication is best achieved through gently ‘aligning’ an opposing viewpoint with that of your own by finding points of agreement, and then gradually ‘leading’ the other viewpoint around to your position. By this method, it is argued, an ‘avenue of redirection’ can be created which can often adroitly sidestep any possible or expected hostile response.
I am not suggesting, of course, that Howard and company have all that much in common with the BNP, but you can look forward to the technique just outlined being followed as the government propagandises for their alterations to workplace relations.
The Great Newt also has a list of words to use to clobber your opponents. Some of them have been hurled at the ACTU already. Not “liberal” though: a bit embarrassing that, in Australia.