The corruption of political language

February 16, 2018

Recording of a debate at the Battle of Ideas festival at The Barbican on Sunday 29 October 2017.

George Orwell claimed that ‘political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable’. Today, many claim that the increasing corruption of language has become detrimental to our democracy. Political labels, such as fascism and populism, right-wing and left-wing, are used promiscuously, often as insults against opponents. The rise of identity politics has given us new words, such as ‘ze’ and ‘cis’. Do such novel terms encourage discussion or help to shut it down? Should we go back to basics, and pin down what we mean by such contested terms as liberalism and nationalism, even democracy?

SPEAKERS

BRENDAN O’NEILL
editor, spiked

RACHEL HALLIBURTON
journalist and novelist

NICK HILTON
broadcast editor, Spectator

DR PAUL A TAYLOR
senior lecturer in communications and
cultural theory, University of Leeds

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