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Rhetorically speaking…
Speechwriters Blog on Speechwriting

Word War II

I’m all for using words with powerful connotations but John Prescott went way over the line calling Alan Milburn a ‘collaborator’ for accepting a role as social mobility csar in the new coalition government.

Whether it was Prescott’s intent to invoke associations with the Nazis or not that was certainly the effect. And that’s not really fair on an issue where Alan Milburn has such impeccable personal and political credentials.

It’s the same as when people label climate change sceptics ‘deniers’: by invoking the Holocaust, it raises the emotional register to such a pitch that reasoned debate becomes impossible.

But that was presumably the aim, because any rational analysis would show Alan Milburn is doing the right thing, pulling together with his opponents in the national interest at this time of national crisis.

After all, ‘collaborator’ is not the only word with WWII connotations. There are also pretty powerful connotations to the word ‘coalition’.


Posted by Simon Lancaster on August 16th, 2010 :: Filed under Random
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