RE: Rant - Re: News story: GB gov't improves communication standards

Subject: RE: Rant - Re: News story: GB gov't improves communication standards
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2009 14:57:31 -0400

Peter Nielson sez:

> The article mentions the word "stakeholder." The word seems to have a
> political purpose, and I suspect its users will be loathe to
> surrender it.
> In the UK, an Englishman's home is his castle. In the US, you
> own your
> property; uncompensated taking of property, as well as
> searching without
> warrant, is un-Constitutional.
> Current legislation in the works in the US aims to convert
> property-owning farmers to "stakeholders" on "premises". The words
> "owner" and "property" do not appear. (Some of the related material
> seems to regard a premise as a singular of the premises, but that's a
> battle grammatical, not legal.) A rancher's livestock disappear into
> "the national herd". So instead of owning your property, you
> become one
> of several stakeholders, that is people who have some degree
> of interest
> in what used to be your property.
> Is it mere words, or does choice of language have consequences?
> The following paragraph worries me:
> "While some of the phrases are laughable, the LGA says
> there's a serious
> point to simplifying language, believing that many people miss out on
> government services because they don't understand what's on offer."
> I contend that government "services" cannot be understood. I still do
> not know why I failed to qualify for unemployment the only
> time I ever
> applied for it. Others qualify; I do not. Apparently I'm too
> rich or was
> too early or too late or something. Surely I'm not the only
> one who does
> not want to be serviced by the government. I don't care how they
> describe it; I want them to go away and leave me alone.

Don't move to Canada if that is important to you.

We don't own property here.

Every speck of land is considered to be owned by "the Crown". The
language might have changed when our pretend constitution came across
the pond a couple of decades ago, but the concept remains. We have deeds
and title and other such terms (and associated documents), but all they
really amount to are delineations of our privileges with respect to our
leases on this-or-that piece of property. The government is the ultimate
owner of everything, and can take it back upon a [dressed up] whim.

People in Canada like to talk about all the lovely "rights" that were
set out in the patriated "constitution", but close reading reveals that
the most basic right of all, the one upon which all others would have to
be built if they weren't mere window-dressing verbiage - the right to
own property - is not present.

No techwriters were used in the preparation of those docs. No real
lawyers were, either. Only politicians (elected or otherwise).


Many people mistakenly quote Shakespeare's play King Henry VI (2) "The
first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." as being contemptuous of
lawyers. In fact, it's the opposite - it was conspirators speaking. Real
lawyers were seen as a defense for the little people against tyranny and
corruption, and thus must be gotten out of the way before the bad guys
could trample unopposed over the rights and freedoms of the people.

These days, in civilized countries, they don't kill the real lawyers
anymore, they just throw endless waves of corrupted, co-opted
formerly-lawyer-like creatures at 'em, until the lawyers collapse under
the onslaught or are totally tied up and rendered ineffectual. It's
more expensive than bullets or quick sword-thrusts, but when your purse
is the tax-base, expense is a trivial consideration.


Regardless of the few picky things that we've knocked, about that becta
document, I would love to have seen the authors of that document set
loose on the Canadian "constitution" before it became entrenched.

Same again for whoever did the bullet-point translations of the Aviary
Terms and Conditions page.

I imagine that votes would have gone differently if that degree of
simple, organized clarity had been applied and widely publicized.

In other words, a good technical writer (or an uncorrupted lawyer) is a
good antidote to spin.

- Kevin
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News story: GB gov't improves communication standards: From: arroxaneullman
Re: News story: GB gov't improves communication standards: From: Chris Morton
Rant - Re: News story: GB gov't improves communication standards: From: Peter Neilson

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