Manifesto-speak

Confusion at LGIU towers following the release of the Labour manifesto yesterday. Not about whether the manifesto represents a “bold, persuasive manifesto” or a mixture of “old-fashioned statism with eleventh-hour Blairism“. But about what some of it actually meant. What, for instance, does “valuing nature for everyone” mean? Does that mean Ed Miliband will be sent off with his measuring stick to work out the GDP contribution of a hay meadow? A rather better explanation, however, is provided by Ann Treneman in The Times. She reckons that the painful stretching of the English language is in fact the birth of a new tense: “the present future hopeful tense“. I think that this wonderful phrase perfectly captures the mix of aspirational schmaltz and vague commitments we can expect from all the party manifestos.