In the prevailing cloud of evasions, half-truths and downright lies and the vague mass of imprecision, one now and again stumbles across a paragraph which is utterly without meaning. I found such a paragraph this morning in Theresa May’s Christmas message to the nation:
“As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let us celebrate all those selfless acts – and countless others – that epitomise the values we share: Christian values of love, service and compassion that are lived out every day in our country by people of all faiths and none.”
Where to start in the search for a hint of meaning?
Let us begin with her second word, “We.” Who are this “we”? She answers, the “we” who “celebrate the birth of Christ.” But as we read on, we find “we” are also those “people of all faiths and none.”
But people of all faiths and none don’t celebrate the birth of Christ.
O come on, Mullen! Why are you forever gnawing at the heels of this unfortunate woman? At least give her credit for speaking to us at Christmas about “Christian values.”
But in her vacuity-spk it turns out that these values are shared by that reliable crowd of “people of all faiths and none.”
So what is Christian about these values?
Does it really matter? Isn’t it a well-known fact that most of what politicians say is mere waffle – stuff that we shouldn’t take seriously?
It matters because words – in which are framed his judgements and by which he makes his promises – are the politician’s stock-in-trade, his wares. And, as with any other sorts of wares – toys or tablecloths – we don’t like being passed off with shoddy.
Soren Kierkegaard offers us a nice image: “If in Copenhagen you see a sign in a shop window, SUITS PRESSED HERE, don’t take your suit in to be pressed. It is only the sign that is for sale.”
The precise word for this is fraud, false pretences.
May is the epitome of the political fraudster