We are going through ‘Hard Times’.
You’ve heard this phrase often enough over the last few years and, it seems, you’ll be hearing it for a lot longer. Harsh economic realities should never be masked but I wonder how much of this talk and, yes, language, is greasing the slippery slope?
Statistics are one thing. No mistake, most of them make for grim reading at the moment. You need a microscope to measure growth, the Eurozone crisis threatens to throw most surrounding economies into freefall, and US politicians dance about looking to the gods for answers while dangling their population over the financial abyss. Add this to global warming, floods, war and pestilence and it’s a wonder anyone bothers to get out of bed in a morning.
Few people, I would guess, really think about the impact of the language they use. Even politicians, often pariahs of linguistic acrobatics, don’t seem able to see the damage they are doing simply by talking up the negative. But when people are told on a daily basis that we are not only having a ‘spot of bother’ but we are ‘entering the icy storm of a never-ending economic disaster’, can anyone blame them for putting the brakes on their spending?
The fact is that the economic situation is not good. But people are still working, businesses are still trading and most people I know are not yet living in a shoebox eating gravel off the road. We need to oil the wheels with positive language as well as negative. Remember that, in these lean times, things are worth investing in because one day we are going to be out of this mess and the sun will shine once again.
You won’t read that on the front page of the Daily Express, though. Last week, it screamed that we were heading for a new ice age as the freezing arctic winds would bring a cold front to the UK and kill us. Okay, that last bit wasn’t true but, in the event, neither was the rest of it. Sometimes, I just wish these people would bugger off – I’d love to use something stronger but professionalism negates that.
We all want something to smile about. Indeed, many people here are still smiling despite the everyday doom and gloom coming from the media.
Oh look, the sun is shining. I’m going outside to cheer up!