The Hot Word blog has nominated the above as their word of the year, one that sums up the mood of 2011, and I have to say I agree with them.
It means: ‘to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate‘.
This seems about right where our bankers, economists and politicians are concerned, particularly the latter.
Nothing illustrates this better than George Osborne’s Autumn Statement on the state of the nation’s piggy bank on Tuesday.
Plan A is bang on track apparently, apart from having to borrow gazillions more from the bank manager than he originally intended, making twice as many public servants redundant than previously announced and bringing forward the raising of the retirement age.
Other than those few minor hiccups, it is all systems go for the economy.
But he did tergiversate by announcing that hundreds of millions would be spent on transport and housing infrastructure to boost the building industry. Wasn’t that originally part of Labour’s recovery plan, the one he criticised, saying you can’t spend your way out of a recession?
Of course, none of this was his fault. It is those unruly foreign economies that has the world on its uppers and there is nothing he can do about that.
Again, I seem to recall that Labour said the same thing during the last election and Cameron and Osborne cornered Gordon Brown in the playground and gave him a good kicking over it.
‘It’s not the world economy (biff) it’s you (slap) Fatty Brown! You were a rubbish chancellor (thump) and you’re a rubbisher PM (smack)’
A clear case of tergiversation all round if you ask me.
In case you’re wondering, tergiversate is derived from the Latin word ‘vertere‘, meaning to turn, and shares a root with the words ‘verse‘ and ‘versus‘.