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Plain English campaign news articles

How the campaign began

In 1971 a small group of activists including Chrissie Maher created the UK’s first ‘community’ newspaper called the ‘Tuebrook Bugle’. This was a newspaper that was written and owned by the people of the Tuebrook neighbourhood in the city of Liverpool. Having their own newspaper meant that they could write articles demanding that organisations start using plain English. And through the newspaper, they were able to pass on valuable information, written in easily understood language, to the rest of the people in their neighbourhood. The success of this project led to the creation of over 50 other community newspapers which fulfilled a similar role.

Follow this link to see rare archive footage from the early days of the Tuebrook Bugle (Chrissie interviewed at home by Arthur Dooley, 1971).

Jobs jargon buster

Plain English Campaign and City & Guilds have teamed up in a fight against ‘qualification confusion’.

According to a City & Guilds survey, almost half of London bosses ignore CVs that contain jargon or unfamiliar qualifications.

So, City & Guilds have responded by producing a new vocational curriculum and qualification, TechBac®, aimed at 14- to 19-year-olds. We’ve also worked with City & Guilds in launching a ‘jargon buster’ to help employers with educational jargon and acronyms.

Read more: Jobs jargon buster

Crapple

Apple have just launched their ‘Apple Watch’ to much worldwide interest, and it’s a typically sleek product from a great, innovative company. Though Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design, Jony Ive, has been a little too creative when describing their new device.

Read more: Crapple

More government gobbledygook

There have recently been plenty of calls for government and council documents to be rewritten in plain English – and talks over the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment Bill have led to yet another.

The discussions have been spoiled for anyone other than those at the very top – it’s hard to imagine anyone else having a clue what ‘top-down capacity building’, ‘community anchor organisations’ or ‘third sector interfaces’ are.

Read more: More government gobbledygook

Dodgy developments

Oxford City Council are under fire for trying to sneak through a hugely revamped land-development project under a conveniently confusing cloud of gobbledygook.

The residents of Wolvercote are understandably far from happy about the information available to them on a matter that could massively change their local environment and quality of life.

Read more: Dodgy developments

Retire the jargon

The financial sector has taken a bit of a hit recently, with the fallout from the banking crisis and mis-sold PPIs severely damaging its reputation.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), brought in to keep an eye on the use of jargon, over-complexity and misdirection in the industry, has overseen something of an improvement, and positive changes have been made.

Read more: Retire the jargon

Leaving ballot to be desired

A record number of spoiled ballot papers in an Irish referendum have prompted calls for revamped versions and referendum questions written in plain English.

Read more: Leaving ballot to be desired

Unhealthy habits

We at the Campaign have spent plenty of time attacking the use of jargon in various industries. We have criticised those relying on waffle in banks, universities, supermarkets, and all manner of other industries.

However, when it comes to the NHS, the issue is a bit more serious than collaring deceitful salesmanship or ambiguous terms and conditions. We’re dealing with information that could seriously and directly damage someone’s health.

Read more: Unhealthy habits

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