Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another hater of the phrase "going forward"

I don’t actually care about the credit card cheques – they’re a ridiculously bad way of paying for things anyway -  but what on Earth is the phrase going forward doing in that sentence?

I’ve taken a swipe at this monster once before, when I blogged about the Wakeham Review of Physics. The example I found then was
The STFC’s governance structure must be representative of the community it serves in order to gain stakeholders’ confidence going forward.

Going forward is one of those intensely annoying bits of office-speak that have spread like Swine ‘flu into the public domain. Pushing the envelope is another one. What does it mean?  Why would anyone push an envelope?

Anyway, the worst problem with going forward is that it is now used almost universally in official documents instead of more suitable phrases, such as in future, or from now on. What particularly irritates me about it is that it is usually part of an attempt to present things in a positive light even when they clearly don’t involve any forward movement at all; often, in fact, quite the opposite. It is just one symptom of the insidious culture of spin that seems to be engulfing all aspects of public life, making it impossible to deliver even a simple message without wrapping it up in some pathetic bit of PR.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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