February 2015: Expressions to be avoided

The document of the month for February is a first day brief paper from Government files in 1985.

Expressions to be avoided

As a new Government Minister in Belfast, the incoming Secretary of State, Tom King, would have been issued a ‘First Day Brief’ by his civil servants.

Graham Jackson, PRONI, said

“This fascinating document, entitled ‘Expressions to be Avoided (and Notes on Other Terminology)’, sits almost in obscurity within the weighty 130 page First Day Brief for Incoming Secretary of State.

The document gives a list of terms to avoid, together with a contextual explanation for each term and possible alternative terms to use where necessary.

Its simplicity belies the complexity of the situation into which the new Minister was being deployed. It reveals a host of intricate sensitivities and pitfalls to be negotiated by the Minister during their initial public appearances, as they started their new job during the mid-eighties.”

PDF icon View the document of the month - first day brief for incoming Secretary of State (PDF 126KB)

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