National Plain English Day falls on Friday 10 December 2010 and will coincide with the Plain English Campaign's annual Golden Bull awards.
National Plain English Day started with the launch of the campaign when the supporters travelled to Parliament and set to shredding jargon-filled documents on Parliament Green. The police then intervened and read out the legalese-filled Metropolitan Police Act, prompting Chrissie Maher, founder of Plain English Campaign to ask,
“Does all that mean we have to go?”
Since then the campaign has been fighting against the use of jargon and gobbledygook in public information from both private and public service organisations. The awards ceremony recognises public nominations gathered over the year for both well and poorly written information.
The campaign has been fighting jargon and gobbledygook for 31 years and 2010 brings the 30th awards ceremony. Traditionally this has been held in London but this year, Central Manchester is the campaign’s new venue for celebrating these landmark events.
The prime location of Exchange Square will be the site for the Plain English Campaign tent . Supporters will be shredding gobbledygook and handing out ‘return to sender’ stickers for the public to use on any information they receive that cannot be easily understood. The stickers will also be available to download from the Plain English Campaign website for jargon-laden emails.
We will also be showing short films about the 30 years of campaigning on the Big Screen in the Triangle above the tent.
BBC One Inside Out will be attending to record the event as a follow-up to their original filming of the campaign 27 years ago. The update is planned for broadcast in early 2011.
Chrissie Maher, founder of Plain English Campaign says, “I wanted the campaign to give people the confidence to push back on the growing mountain of confusion and meaningless language in public information. The success of the campaign can be seen in the clearer information provided by many organisations over the years. But even though most people agree that plain English is plain common sense, our government needs to make it a legal duty that public communications are crystal-clear.”
The awards ceremony will dip into the world of creative gobbledygook using the worlds of music and art to highlight the need to get the message across clearly, whatever form of communication is used.
Artist Mike Marcus will be displaying larger than life prints of his work ‘Exogamy’ - with a plain English interpretation, alongside work from Chetham’s School art students.
Comedian Paul Parry will investigate the misuse of the word ‘literally’. Guests will hear specially composed musical works from David Owen Norris, the classical pianist ,and students of Chetham’s school of music will as part of a Plain English Recital. A CD of the live recording will be available after the event.