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Back page gossip from the 22 November issue of Research Europe

Verbal gymnastics Research Europe is thinking of nominating the European Commission for one of the Doublespeak Awards, given by the US-based National Council of Teachers of English as “an ironic tribute to public speakers who have perpetuated language that is grossly deceptive, evasive, euphemistic, confusing, or self-centred”. Our pick is the Commission’s latest economic growth outlook, which reads: “Growth in the euro area is forecast to ease from a 10-year high of 2.4 per cent in 2017 to 2.1 per cent in 2018 before moderating further to 1.9 per cent in 2019 and 1.7 per cent in 2020.” Growth is falling, in other words.

Number crunching Equally deserving of an award, this time for most fanciful use of a dubious statistic, is UK government minister Rory Stewart. In a radio interview with the BBC, Stewart said that “80 per cent” of the British public support the draft agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Following an interjection by the presenter, he then apologised and said this was just his “sense” of the situation. “I’m producing a number to try to illustrate what I believe,” he clarified.

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