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Research Fortnight view: The power of words

The government has listened to concerns around its higher education and research bill, but selectively so.

There are two important maxims in the art of political communication. The first is that if you want to persuade your electorate to do something that they might not agree with, then better to undersell the change as not being particularly radical. That will help to reassure voters that any alteration isn’t too far from what they are used to.

When the Labour government of Tony Blair decided that students should pay to attend university, it used the phrase "top-up fees" as a way of suggesting that the change wasn’t really radical at all.

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