Jules Birch

This week’s court ruling on the bedroom tax and BBC Trust verdict on the John Humphrys welfare reform documentary got me thinking again about the importance of language in the debate on both.

Language matters. You don’t have to be familiar with discourse analysis to know that there is a difference between ‘the bedroom tax’ and ‘the spare room subsidy’ or ‘welfare’ and ‘social security’. The words we use to frame ideas have a power that goes beyond themselves because of the associations, conscious or otherwise, that they bring with them. The battle of language is also a battle of ideas and of ideology.

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