Introducing the Kevin Rudd cliché drinking game
Dear Mr Rudd, can I just say this that while there are no silver bullets to the problem could you take some decisive action, when it comes to your use of cliché; as working families would prefer you take whatever action is necessary to end your use of the phrase “course of action”?
Phew – the top seven Rudd clichés all in one sentence. I think I might just need a drink, in due season…
As parliament resumes today, The Punch decided it might be worthwhile to use the Parliamentary Hansard take a look at Prime Minister’s favourite parliamentary clichés of 2009.
The results are somewhat surprising and make for an excellent drinking game.
Our Prime Minister has long been criticised for his frequent reliance on cliché. Since 2006, Kevin Rudd has ensured that phrases such as “in due season”, “everyone needs to take a cold shower” and “fair shake of the sauce bottle” have entered the lexicon of annoying clichés.
But which cliché is the Prime Ministerial favourite?
In 2009, Kevin Rudd’s most frequently used clichés were:
1. Course of Action – used 70 times
2. When it comes to – used 49 times
3. Can I just say this – used 40 times
4. Decisive action– used 24 times
5. Working families – used 25 times
6. Everything in our power – used 16 times
7. Whatever action is necessary – used 12 times
8. We’re not out of the woods yet – used 12 times
9. No magic wand/silver bullet – used 11 times
10. Will no stand/sit idly by – used 11 times
This list was complied by The Punch through the use Google to draw together a list of the 30 or so, most frequently mentioned clichés in Rudd speeches and media reports.
Then using the Adobe search the list of Rudd clichés was then cross-referenced with 2009 Hansard. You can see the link to the full results at bottom of the page.
The search of the 2009 Parliamentary Hansard tolled 14,294 pages or some 7 million words but represented the simplest way of getting into the world of Rudd cliché.
And while there are some obvious flaws (with Rudd mainly speaking in and around question time and obviously being subject to the rules of parliamentary language, thus preventing any mention of “political shitstorms”), the list clearly proves that Kevin Rudd is responsible for many of our worst political clichés.
Last weekend, The Sunday Telegraph drew together a list of the 10 most annoying political clichés.
Their list corresponds with many Rudd favourites on The Punch list such as:
- Working families
- No Magic Bullet
- Can I just say
It’s no surprise that “working families” is the most annoying political cliché.
And it’s unfair to blame Rudd personally for this given that politicians of both persuasions have grasped on to the cliché with a vengeance not seen since “Howard Battlers”. That said, in 2009 it’s Rudd fifth favourite cliché so the PM must take some responsibility…
Working families is closely followed by the reference to there being no magic bullet, which was the third least popular political cliche for most Australians.
This too is a much over-loved Rudd phrase, with many variations, such as there being no magic wand, magic medicine or silver bullet…
Of the clichés that annoy Australians the most the phrase “can I just say” is one cliché that Kevin Rudd must take personal responsibility for. He appears to use the cliché for emphasis, when he has an important point to make.
But you have wonder why the Prime Minister of Australia feels the need to ask permission… part of me can’t help picture Wilson Tuckey sitting expectantly in the back benches waiting to heckle the PM with the simple response “no”…
As with many hated clichés, these phrase highlight the meaningless nature of many Kevin Rudd’s favourite pieces of language, for example:
If you take a “course of action” isn’t this merely what the rest of us mere morals refer to as a “PLAN”. [link plan - http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/course_of_action]
It is also worth noting, that this cliché was used 70 times – nearly twice as much as any other cliché, making you wonder if the PM thinks using the word ‘plan’ is just not Prime Ministerial…
“When it comes to” is a similarly grandiose Rudd placeholder, much like it’s evil twin brother “can I just say”. They are both entirely redundant and utterly annoying.
The phrase “decisive action” has also become a favourite of both political parties as they seek to highlight that they are “taking decisive action” or that there has been a “lack of decisive action”.
But surely the act of taking action is, by its nature, decisive. It’s not like you can take an indecisive action…
Similarly, the idea that our PM will not idle his time is, in itself, fine but why is Rudd fixated with standing or sitting… Rudd loves to declare that he will not “stand/sit idly by” but when you’ve already taken a ‘decisive’ action, surely this too is redundant.
You see political cliché is in many respects one of the greatest sins that an orator can commit.
Used occasionally it is a helpful reference point, but when you personally become responsible for a third of the nation’s most annoying political clichés it might be time to let go of a few favourite phrases…
However, knowing Kevin Rudd this “course of action” is somewhat unlikely.
So if you are planning on tuning into Question Time today, may I suggest you take our list of clichés and use it as a drinking game with the following rules.
RULES for the Kevin Rudd Drinking Game :
To be done during Question Time while attempting to see how many Rudd clichés you can coherently put in one sentence (try this one it’s kinda fun… think of it as a game of political Sudoku)
Sip if the PM says “out of the woods”, “tough times”, or “not stand/sit idly by”.
Half swig for “decisive action”, “working families” or “magic/silver bullet”.
One full swig for “course of action” (CAUTION: any more than that and you’ll be drunk before the Bronwyn Bishop gets in her first point of order)
Two swigs for grandiose phrases “Whatever action is necessary”, “When it comes to” or its brother “Can I just say”.
And finish your drink if the PM says “programmatic specificity”…
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