Alan Duncan issues memo at DFID banning jargon words such as ‘showing leadership’

A Tory minister has issued a stern memorandum to his staff banning them from using jargon words such as “showing leadership”, “abolishing user fees” and “reducing poverty.”


Describing himself as a “grammar fascist ideologue”, Alan Duncan MP has issued a memo accusing staff at the Department for International Development of damaging Britain’s worldwide reputation by pushing “private sector solutions the rest of the world doesn’t want or need”.

The memo which was issued by his private office sets out the sort of language that the “MoS” – Minister of State – no longer wants to read from his civil servants either in internal briefings or in documents issued by the department.

It says: “The MoS would prefer that we did not ‘lead’ or ‘spend’ anything, and whereas he is happy for economies to grow, he does not like it when we ‘share growth equitably’.

“Nor is he impressed with the loose and meaningless use of ‘showing leadership’, either at the beginning or the end of any international summit. Thus we do not ever ‘help’, ‘achieve’, ‘accomplish’ or ‘do’ anything. Nearly as depressing for him is reading about DFID’s work in ‘abolishing user fees in schools or building public health care systems.”

The memo which was published on the department’s internal website last week orders officials to think how a member of the right-wing press will interpret any written information before sending it out.

It says: “All our communication must be immediately explicable to the non-DFID supporter. Clear language conveys clear thought. Its use suggests left-of-centre thinking.

“Officials are therefore required to express themselves in sentences which can be stomached by journalists at the Daily Mail or backbench MPs.

Disclaimer: This is a spoof of an article originally posted by the Telegraph

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