Thursday, 13 March 2008


Anybody who uses the word "should" when they mean "It would be nice if ..." or "I think that ..." is an authoritarian, judgmental twat and has lost the argument right there and then.

Compare and contrast...

"No child should live in poverty" can either mean "It would be nice if no child lived in poverty", and it's hard to disagree with that - it's a bit like saying "It would be nice if there were no such things as cancer; infant cot death or AIDS" - or it could be a foul excuse to make normal people feel guilty about the fact that they can survive under their own steam and make them pay ever more tax to entice young women without any career prospects to have kids, whether they can bring 'em up right or not.

"The poor should work rather than getting hand-outs" can either mean "It would be nice if we had full employment" which is widely accepted as being A Good Thing or it could mean "I begrudge paying tax to help people on no or low incomes", which from the mouth of anybody who benefitted from a free university education and a student grant all those years ago is rank hypocrisy.

When I use the word "should", I mean it in the narrower sense of "is likely to" (e.g. "cutting Employer's national insurance should increase employment levels"; or in the sense of "I would advise you to ..." (e.g. "you should always go to the loo before you leave a pub in the evening").