What they say and what they mean

Political jargon, soundbites, double-talk, whatever you call it, politicians have bucketloads of it and over the next two weeks they will bombard us with all the stock clichés and responses they possess.

But of course what politicians say and what they really mean are different things altogether, so from now until February 25, if you hear candidates in Galway East and Galway West utter any or all of the following (printed in bold ), you will know just what they are really mean (printed in italics ).

“And I have strong views on this...”

My views are not so strong that they cannot be changed at a moment’s notice.

“The people will decide!”

I have no idea how the vote will turn out but I want to convey the impression that my view is the one that will win.

“I’m glad you asked me that question...”

You bastard! You would ask me that wouldn’t you!

“Hard decisions will have to be taken...”

Which doesn’t mean that we will, but if we do, we will ensure it is you, the taxpayer, who will suffer and not us nor anyone else in the social/political elite.

“The silent majority...”

We have no support but we want to convey the impression that we do.


We are too deluded to recognise we have no support.

“I’m looking forward to dealing with that question/issue/matter.”

They have me by the balls and I’ve no choice but to co-operate with them.

“The only result that counts is the election.”

The opinion poll results show we are heading for oblivion but I can’t admit that publicly.


I am in denial over the dreadfully low levels of support for the party.

“We will never go into coalition with them, ever!”

Not unless the price is right.

“And if you could transfer your next preference to my running mate...”

Screw him/her! Just make sure you give me the Number One.

“We need to invest in education, health, and infrastructure, tackle crime, and create jobs.”

It sounds good, people like it, and it’s so general I don’t have to do anything about it. Imagine after all these years, the public still falls for this one!

“We need to listen to what the public is saying on this issue.”

We are only pretending to listen. We have no intention of doing anything about it.

“If elected I will.../I promise that if I am elected...”

I will forget I ever made such a promise as soon as I get across the door of the Dáil.



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