Delingpole on the liberal-left’s weasel words

James Delingpole does not tolerate fools and especially detests the liberal-left, especially when they hijack the language.

Not so long ago – and indeed for the first five hundred and fifty odd years of its recorded usage – a subsidy was something quite clearly understood by everyone to mean a cash incentive.

Here, for example, is the online Merriam-Webster definition:

Money that is paid usually by a government to keep the price of a product or service low or to help a business or organization to continue to function

Here is the one from my Chambers dictionary:

Aid in the form of money; a grant of public money in aid of some enterprise, industry etc; or to support or keep down the price of a commodity, or from one state to another.

This is certainly the sense in which I have always understood the word. I would suspect the same is true for most of you. So I would argue that there is something slippery and disingenuous about that claim above that there is no “internationally agreed definition of what constitutes energy subsidy.” Yes there is. Everyone – every normal, reasonably well-educated, English-speaking person, at any rate – would know instantly what constitutes “subsidy”, regardless of whether or not the word “energy” is put in front of it. It means a cash incentive.

What it definitely doesn’t mean is a tax reduction. Why doesn’t it mean this? Well, let’s examine the logic for a moment. Suppose I were to mug you in the street and steal, say, £100 from you. But then, in a fit of generosity, I decided to hand you back a tenner so you could get a cab home. Could that tenner be reasonably described as a “gift” or a “donation”? Well, yes, I suppose at an enormous stretch, it could just about. “Dono” means “I give” in Latin, so, yes, when I give you back that “tenner” it could be construed as a gift or a donation.

But only by someone lacking in any kind of moral responsibility, or intellectual consistency, or understanding of sense, context and nuance. No sensitive user of the English language would ever employ the word “gift” or “donation” in such a perverted way.   Read more »