Russell Brand won the Plain English Campaign Foot in Mouth award this year for his 'half-baked gibberish' and 'jargonistic, insubstantial waffle'. Those are the Plain English Campaign's descriptions, and here's a sample of what comes out of his mouth:
"This attitude of churlish indifference seems like nerdish deference contrasted with the belligerent antipathy of the indigenous farm folk, who regard the hippie-dippie interlopers, the denizens of the shimmering tit temples, as one fey step away from transvestites."
The company Apple was criticised, in part for calling a knob a 'digital crown'. Several local authorities were guilty of using gobbledegook. Here's an example:
"Buckinghamshire County Council is seeking to establish a Framework Agreement to create a flexible base of external consultancy expertise to assist with the implementation of its Transformation programme and other change projects across the organisation. The Framework is intended to provide flexible and agile access to resources in support of the core and additional services identified in the specification.
Through the Framework, the Council is also seeking to channel its spend in a way that provides enhanced value for money and helps to shape a single view of change.
We are seeking to appoint a number of capable and innovative service providers to the Framework who can deliver against a multi-project portfolio of work over the next few years. We will be looking to our Framework partners not just to respond to our needs and we will also welcome a proactive approach and partners that will bring fresh ideas and boundary-pushing proposals to the table."
The BBC came under fire for this job ad:
"The Senior Adviser, Economic Security andOpportunities will lead on work within the focus area of Economic Security and Opportunity as part of a wider approach to resilience.
The role has influence across the whole organisation and involves external engagement across a range of development, policy and research actors. You will take a lead on the development of internal strategies, work intensively on specific development projects, provide technical support to a major thrust on business development, and build relationships with major external stakeholders."
The awards weren't all critical, though. London mayor Boris Johnson won the 2014 Plain English Communicator award thanks to a BBC interview in which he recognised that he was prone to using obscure Latinate words. Here's a flavour of what he said:
"I think one thing that is incredibly important is to try to speak ...and I fail totally on this and I catch myself endlessly on the radio... you’re waffling and blurbling and using all sorts of endless Latinate words in exactly that way. What people listen to are short Anglo Saxon words that readily correspond to some object in the universe that they can identify. So in other words talk simply, use plain English and talk about stuff in the real world.
What’s going on is that politicians are using complicated words and concepts in order to polyfilla over a difficult bit in the argument and that’s what cheeses people off ...because they can detect that ...they can spot it...and they want to hear it put more simply and ...I mean I’m a terrible offender myself ...I know I do it...I try not to ...but if you want to be heard you have to speak plainly and I believe that completely."
For more examples of plain and not-so-plain English, see the Plain English Campaign's web page here (pdf).