Tuesday, February 12, 2008


A senior official advised ministers that a survey saying 655000 Iraqis died due to the war was "robust". - BBC News, March 2007

Is it just me, or has the word robust become one of the most irritating cliches in Britain during the last year? Every time a politician, public servant or businessman is being grilled by the media, they invariably mention this word at some point in the interview and it seems as if no Government initiative is worth it's salt unless it's 'robust'.

In the context of interviews, people usually use robust to describe a remedy for a balls-up. We don't want to hear the truth, which is 'We buggered it up but next time we'll try to be less crap' so instead we're told that measures are being introduced which will be more robust. Occasionally it's deemed necessary to introduce measures that are robust and resilient.

I would like to impose a cliche tax that would be imposed every time certain words or phrases were uttered. I would definitely include the following:

Yummy mummy
It's not rocket science
Going forward
High end
Moving the goalposts

Ballpark figure
Fast track
Core values
Get over it
At the end of the day

Heads up
Go the extra mile

And while we're at it, let's have a moratorium on cool, yay, hey and I'm good thanks.

Are we singing from the same hymn sheet?


John Self said...

You forgot roll out. What government minister was it again who promised in the House of Commons that "we are rolling out fresh fruit in primary schools"?

Roll out should never be used unless it is followed by the barrel.

Steerforth said...

Yes, that's a really one.

Another one occurred to me this morning: customer service.

My wife had just come back from a shop and mentioned how poor their customer service was. Customer service as opposed to what other sort?

We used to just complain about the service.

Gonçalo Veiga said...

That book cover at the end of the post killed me!

The word that's been annoying me lately it's 9/11. It almost makes me wish America had 364 other incidents throughout the year so they'd drop this irritating reference.

Quoting a friend of mine: "Nine-eleven-MY-AS*!"

Steerforth said...

Yes that annoys me, particularly as it's 11/9 here.

Gonçalo Veiga said...

Uff! That sounds like twicely annoying!