Brand wins award for gobbledygook


Published: Wednesday 3rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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The comic and actor Russell Brand has been recognised for his public speaking and authorship – with an award for gobbledygook.

Brand, who achieved notoriety in 2004 as the host of Big Brother’s Big Mouth and has most recently been railing against the political system with two appearances on Newsnight and a book called Revolution, has been named the winner of the Plain English Campaign’s Foot in Mouth award for 2014.

The campaign said Brand was “out on his own” among contenders for the title, adding: “While we admire Russell’s determination to open up a debate about democracy and the dire state of the world, we struggle to make sense of most of his comments.”

Among Brand’s quotes singled out by the campaign as award-winners were: “The internal mayhem I’m feeling is spilling out everywhere. I loved it, and felt very connected to activism – particularly activism that feels loaded with potential. Not the oppositional activism that seems like there’s a stasis around it – earnestly sincere, but a monolith equal to the establishment.”

Another quote from Brand’s book Revolution reads: “This attitude of churlish indifference seems like nerdish deference contrasted with the belligerent antipathy of the indigenous farm folk, who regard the hippie-dippie interlopers, the denizens of the shimmering tit temples, as one fey step away from transvestites.”

The City of Edinburgh Council, Local Action Cornwall’s Local Development Strategy, HM Revenue and Customs, BT and Buckinghamshire County Council all received Golden Bull gongs for “the worst examples of written tripe”.

But the awards also celebrated those with a flair for language, with London Mayor Boris Johnson named Plain English Communicator for his comments on gobbledygook in politics.

A Johnson quote that helped win him the title was: “I think one thing that is incredibly important is to try to speak … and I fail totally on this and I catch myself endlessly on the radio … you’re waffling and burbling and using all sorts of endless Latinate words in exactly that way.

“What people listen to are short Anglo Saxon words that readily correspond to some object in the universe that they can identify. So in other words talk simply, use plain English and talk about stuff in the real world.”

The Pat on the Back award went to journalist Robert Fisk for his articles on Isis and Syria, who the campaign said “helped make some kind of clear sense of what was and is largely senseless, and, unlike some of his peers, never overplays his own part in what’s unfolding”.

The full list of winners:

:: Foot in Mouth Award – Russell Brand

:: Plain English Communicator – Boris Johnson

:: Golden Bull Award – NCP, HMRC, Local Action Cornwall, City of Edinburgh Council, BBC Media Action, James Hambro and Partners LLC, Southeastern Railways, Buckinghamshire County Council, Pensions Ombudsman

:: Kick in the Pants Award – Jony Ive, Apple

:: Osborne Memorial Award – Matthew Oakley

:: International Award – Steven Pinker

:: Pat on the Back Award – Robert Fisk

:: Media Award – John Rentoul, Fry’s English Delight

:: Chrissie Maher Award – Peter Rodney

:: Plain English Award – Motor Neurone Disease Association, NSPCC, Macmillan Cancer Support, Five Rivers, John Lanchester, Steven Poole

:: Web Award – Change (

:: Standard Bearers – Winston’s Wish/Age UK

Published: Wednesday 3rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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