To paraphrase Wernher von Braun. clichés are what politicians spout when they don’t know what they’re talking about.
But there are certain phrases that really, really annoy me and top of the list is that prime piece of sophistry, the ‘hard-working family’.
The latest example is the debate in parliament today on scrapping the increase in fuel tax. I actually think this is a good idea, and long overdue, but it’s the justification I take issue with.
‘We need a cut in fuel duty for millions of hard-working motorists and families,’ says Tory MP, Robert Halfron.
Does this mean that we need some special form of identification to prove that we are both hard-working and a family before we can fill up with petrol at a lower rate? Or will the non-increase apply equally and fairly to the shiftless, the criminal, the idle rich, the retired and the single?
Halfron’s comments are typical of the breed of all political persuasions as he reaches out blindly to that conglomerate constituency of the hard-working and familial.
It was only when I started writing this post that I discovered that Radio 4 had beaten me to it last week with a feature on how politicians have portrayed the family over the years to coincide with an exhibition of posters at the People’s History Museum in Manchester.
Interesting that the notion that they have to be hard-working is relatively recent and that earlier portrayals were very much centred on the home. Anyway, here is the feature to listen to: