Having a pop at ‘business speak’ is – as we’ve said at least once before – a fish-in-a-barrel job. With big fish, small barrels and automatic weapons. An online acquaintance pointed out a recent example from The Watford Observer, quoting Mayor Dorothy Thornhill on the topic of local authority budget setting:

Once this budget is put to bed, we need an away day to do a bit of blue sky thinking and see where the red lines are.”

We’re not snide people: we congratulate Mayor Thornhill on her repeated electoral success as a directly elected Mayor. But we can’t help but be slightly alarmed that a former assistant head teacher could come out with a sentence like that. We’re prepared to give the Mayor the benefit of the doubt, but doing so would imply that either the reporter (Michael Pickard) or an unknown communications professional in the Council’s employment produced that deathless sentence. (We hope not, given that both are paid to string sentences together.) Whoever was responsible, they seem to have forgotten one of the first considerations of any communication: the audience, who are likely to read that sentence and be a) cross, b) baffled or c) overcome with giggles.

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