Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sophistry in Language

Something that has really started to annoy me in politics is the relentless sophistry and weaseling out of a previously held position through alternative definitions. When will the spirit of the statement and not the word of the statement be what drives people. Examples include
Green Party entering government
Trevor Sargent says he will not lead the Greens into government with FF. So immediately after negotiating a programme for government he resigns to let John Gormley lead them in.
Unions agreeing to mandatory unpaid leave
Union leaders were mandated to stick to a no reduction in wages line in the recent talks. So instead they agree to mandatory unpaid leave which to all intents and purposes is exactly the same thing.
Various statements on no more taxes
A few months ago on The Last Word, Brian Lenihan had a bit of a George HW Bush moment when he promised that no additional taxes would be raised in the upcoming budget. Watch out for all sorts of increased levies, contributions and deductions that are totally different to taxes.
Enough is enough. When will these people ever have the courage to stick to a position or if they change come out and say that either they were wrong or have had their opinion modified through new information or debate. Do they really thing that they are fooling anyone?


  1. To be fair to Trevor, his statement that if the Greens went into government with Fianna Fáil he would not be leader was a direct response to a motion passed at party convention not to rule out any coalition options.

  2. It wasn't meant as an attack on Trevor but more a recent and prominent example of what I was talking about. All politicians of all hues are at it, my own beloved ex-Stickies being the worst at times.

    Mind you in the minor leaders' debate before the election Trevor was pretty clear when he said the objective of the election was to get rid of FF from power (again somewhat of a paraphrase).