When Sebastian Coe spoke of “the greatest tickets on earth”, he was talking twaddle, but at least it was amusing twaddle. Too often, the twaddle babbled by politicians and others is composed of readymade phrases seemingly used to fill time – or, in written form, space – without the inconvenience of thought.
One practice that has become ubiquitous is an inability to say “diverse” without immediately adding “vibrant”. The most recent culprit I noted was the cabinet minister Francis Maude, on last week’s Question Time. Having told us how great it was that the country is “diverse”, and not really knowing what else he wanted to say, after a very brief pause he added “and vibrant”, clearly playing for time.
Similarly, the front page headline on a recent issue of my local council’s Pravda-style newspaper was a quote from a resident announcing “I love that the borough is so diverse and vibrant”.
Can one be diverse without being vibrant? Or vibrant without being diverse? And, if interrogated, chained to a chair in a dank basement, could most of the people trotting out this stuff define what they actually mean by “vibrant”?
Hooting Yard – it’s diverse! It vibrates!