Saturday, 19 January 2013

Words will never hurt me

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Most of us know the rhyme.  Most of us know from painful experience it’s rubbish.  A hard word from someone we love – or even someone we don’t – stings. 

But words do more than that.  They define.  They define the way we think.  Politicians have known this for years.  That’s why when you die you don’t pay a “Death Tax (‘Inheritance Tax’ sounds much better)’.  That’s why insurance companies sell you ‘health insurance’ (who wants to buy ‘sickness insurance’).

If we want to build a united country, our words matter.  “Chavs” or “Posh”, “Yobs” or “Oldees” – these words all have one thing in common.  They draw a line.  With us – ‘the normals’ on one side, and ‘those people’ on the other.

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