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by Freddie Sayers
Thursday, 19
December 2019

Boris bans the word ‘Brexit’

An edict has gone out in government banning the B word post January 31st
by Freddie Sayers

Rumour has it that an edict has gone out within government that the word ‘Brexit’ is not to be used after January 31st. We will have officially Brexit-ed at that point, and will be moving on to the next phases of negotiations — the trade deal — emphatically not the next stages of Brexit.

This means that no government initiative can have the B word in it post January 31st.

The politics of this are obvious — the winning ‘Get Brexit Done’ slogan emerged from the correct diagnosis that people are fed up with it taking so long, and so simply not hearing the word will already feel like a victory, regardless of the practical realities.

If you look at the Google Trends chart of searches for the term ‘Brexit’ in the past 5 years (above), it’s clear that the B word has really only been dominant for the past year and a half — it was used much less in the first two years after the referendum.

I’ll set a note to check again in six months and see how effective the word ban has been. My guess is it might work quite well, as if people are happy not to hear about it in those terms, the media won’t be incentivised to keep it alive either. Maybe I’m just being hopeful — I’d personally be happy never to hear that ugly portmanteau ever again.


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