[lg policy] Video/audio of Norman Tebbit's 'bad language = crime' claim?

Dave Sayers D.Sayers at SWANSEA.AC.UK
Mon Jul 16 14:06:57 UTC 2012

It will come as welcome news to you all, I'm sure, that I've rescued my academic career and landed a
year's lecturing work. Hooray! Now, I have a question for my first lecture.

In the first of her wonderful 1996 Reith lectures...


...Jean Aitchison quotes the then Conservative Minister Norman Tebbit, who linked non-standard
language use and crime, as follows:

"If you allow standards to slip to the stage where good English is no better than bad English, where
people turn up filthy ... at school ... all those things tend to cause people to have no standards
at all, and once you lose standards then there's no imperative to stay out of crime."

Does anyone have a video or audio recording of this spurious gem? I'd like to be able to play back
the original to my students, to show this sort of sly rhetorical manoeuvre at work.

I'd planned to compare it to David Starkey's blithering, frothing tirade about 'Jamaican patois'
etc. etc. from last year, which is available online, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAGTE_RGN4c.

(Also of note: while I was researching all these, I found an interesting blog post which happens to
compare them all: http://englishlangsfx.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/finding-riot-words.html.)

Of course, any other video/audio of this sort of thing would be welcome too!

Thanks all,

Dr. Dave Sayers
Honorary Research Fellow
College of Arts & Humanities
and Language Research Centre
Swansea University
dave.sayers at cantab.net

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