If we end up with a no-deal Brexit, but no one calls it a no-deal Brexit... will anyone hear the tree fall? Presumably Number 10 thinks not, because it would appear they're literally banning people from using that phrase.

Tory MP, former minister and staunch Brexiteer Theresa Villiers appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live this week and kept referring to an "Australian-type deal" in an interview, explaining that:

The reference to an Australia type trading relationship with the European Union does indeed reflect not having a free trade agreement and trading on WTO terms is something we do with many of our trading partners very successfully

So basically... no deal.

Presenter Emma Barnett made this point, and asked why she wouldn't just say "no deal". To which Villiers responds:

It is errr... the outcome is... we now have a choice between a free trade agreement or leaving the European union on the basis on an exit treaty we already have. So I just think terminologically, it's not accurate to say there's no deal.

Sure.

A leaked memo earlier this month shows that the government was trying to enforce a "ban" on certain Brexit-related terms, including the word "Brexit" unless relating to "historical events".

Unfortunately, this poses a bit of a pickle for ministers trying to publicly discuss the topic. Voters are not particularly keen on semantic somersaults which leave us all scratching our heads to work out what these things actually mean.

Barnett tweeted about the exchange, saying that Villiers' refusal to use the obvious phrase seemed "odd at first" and became "more and more strained"... and then she read the leaked memo (and presumably it all made sense).

Choice of words is, of course, important, and the way in which politicians wield the power of language can have a huge impact on voters' views.

It seems that in this case by trying to manipulate the way Brexit is spoken about, the Tories may have inadvertently driven themselves towards even further ridicule and to be honest, we're kind of here for it.

Just wait until the pound crashes, maybe they'll ban the word "economy" too!

(Not the hate speech though of course. When it comes to misogynistic, homophobic and racist language, free speech for the Tories is all that matters. Makes perfect sense.)

HT: The New European

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