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The Alexander Technique – All That Glitters.


Hardworking family wummin shows off the fruits of her Labour

“The Scottish Nationalists are penalising hard working families” – Wendy Alexander at the Scottish Labour Conference this week.

Ah yes Wendy, “hard working families” was perhaps the most over used phrase of the2005 UK election campaign especially by you and your Labour colleagues. What does it mean? well actually it means precisely hee-haw and is what is known as a glittering generality i.e. a vague term with positive connotations. This should be right up Wendy’s street because politicians in general and Labour politicians in particular are prone to using this sort of pish all the time.


The SNP leadership show their level of concern over Wendy Alexander’s performance at the Scottish Labour Conference

Here is a cut out and keep guide to glittering generality.

  • “Use attractive, but vague words that make speeches and other communications sound good, but in practice say nothing in particular.
  • “Use linguistic patterns such as alliteration, metaphor and reversals that turn your words into poetry that flows and rhymes in hypnotic patterns.
  • “Use words that appeal to values*, which often themselves are related to triggering of powerful emotions.

“A common element of glittering generalities are intangible nouns that embody ideals, such as dignity, freedom, fame, integrity, justice, love and respect.” (*and in Wendy’s case, excuse me while I stifle a guffaw, socialism!)

Wendy Alexander is the High Priestess of Glittering Generality. She is I believe presiding over the demise of the Labour Party in Scotland.


6 Responses

  1. I agree Robert.

    As one who would have described myself a ‘a socialist’ 20 years ago, I watched with dismay as the ‘New’ Labour Party first disowned socialism and then positively reviled it. Wendy is practically the epitome of ‘new’ Labour. It is far too late to start appealing back to the old ‘socialist’ constituency now.

    If one lesson has been / needs to be learned from the result of the last election it is that it is no longer possible for Labour to win by fielding a load of monkeys in red rosettes. By wilfully destroying its old ‘socialist’ base, Labour gave up their inherited ‘working-class’ vote.

  2. One can imagine Wendy’s spin doctors advising her on that photo. “Go on Wendy, the courgette and banana thing worked for Paris Hilton!”

  3. Alastair

    I wouldn’t describe myself as a socialist at all. However I do respect and admire those with genuine socialist principles prepared to fight their corner. I’m afraid Wendy doesn’t fall in to that category.

  4. Interesting post there Rab, and I heartily concur with the use of language – Orwell’s ‘War Is Peace’ and all that, currently being wretchedly played out in Iraq.

    Next time you hear a New Labour talking head, take a count on the number of times the words ‘partners’ or ‘stakeholders’ issues forth; it will be quite a few believe me.

  5. Indeed Max. I have previously featured items on gobbledygook which is a New Labour speciality. I attended a seminar last year on town centre regeneration and I cherish this quote:
    “There needs to be a process where we engage agencies and stakeholders in a holistic approach requiring a place-shaping delivery agenda which aspires towards the most mutually acceptable local outcome”
    The description utter bollocks doesn’t really come close to this type of nonsense. To quote Alastair of the heart monitor blog, “the only apt description of a stakeholder is someone approaching a castle in Transylvania!”

  6. […] she really did say it. A previous posting and another Labour politician spring to mind here Click Here for a piece I did about glittering generality, i.e. vague terms with positive connotations which […]

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