Passing Bull 287 – The death of English

In a massive Time/Life set of Churchill at war, I found this memo boxed:

A hot discussion is raging in the ATS (women in the army) about whether members who marry should, if they wish, be allowed to quit.  Nearly everyone is in favour of this.  It seems futile to forbid them, and if they desert, there is no means of punishing them.  Only the most honourable are therefore impeded.  Pray let me have, on one sheet of paper, a note on this showing the pros and cons.

If you substitute ‘please’ for the archaic ‘pray’, could the message be simpler?  And could you imagine any of our prime ministers being so direct?

This is not just a matter of style or syntax.  The note shows a state of mind – of someone who can make a decision and give orders appropriately.  That is leadership.  We do not see much of it in our politicians now.

2 thoughts on “Passing Bull 287 – The death of English

  1. I think the two are linked. Plain English signifies leadership.
    Compare the blather of the PM.
    A former High Court judge reminded me that W C began a speech: ‘The news from France is very bad.’

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