Bring Back the Plain English Campaign


Connecting business leaders driving digital transformation

The [missing word] Digital Enterprise Network is a free community connecting and supporting C-suite and line-of-business professionals driving digital transformation.

I quote from a full page advertisement in this week’s Spectator. One could imagine a witty third leader in the Daily Telegraph ridiculing this appalling use of language. But, wait a moment, what was the missing word? You have probably guessed. It was Telegraph.

The drivel was produced by the Telegraph in order to promote its “Digital Enterprise Network”. It was accompanied by a photograph of a youth (probably one of the ‘paper’s many unpaid interns) wearing a strange device over his eyes which, I imagine, enables him to play highly realistic computer games.

At whom was the advertisement aimed? Well, it tells us. It is aimed at those old familiars “C-suite and line-of-business professionals”.

Google and Wikipedia were able to give some help. “C-suite” people are those whose job titles start with the letter “C”, as in CEO. “Suite”, I would guess, is a reference to the very grand offices in which these Cs spend their days. Sadly, Google can’t help with “line-of-business professionals”. But they do sound very important, especially as they are “driving digital transformation”.

Anyway, if these incredibly distinguished people sign up to the Telegraph’s new service they will get wonderful treats. There will, of course, be an “intelligence zone” containing an “archive of white papers and e-guides” which will enable them to “share best practice on solutions for the latest industry challenges”. And they will have access to an “enterprise transformation directory” which will be “specially curated to connect [them] with the technology expertise [they] require”.

What self-respecting C-suite or line-of-business professional could afford to pass on this wonderful new service? It promises a sort of heaven for businessmen who long to escape from English as the language in which to communicate. Just imagine all the glorious jargon which will be found in those “white papers” and “e-guides”. And a “specially curated transformation directory” must be a delight almost unequalled in the world of commerce.

I have, for some years, been following the Telegraph’s infatuation with the digital revolution. It employs several, mostly elderly, men on salaries which the BBC could only imagine who have become convinced that “the future is digital”. The impression I have is that these are not men who would actually know how to send an email, but that doesn’t lessen their enthusiasm for technology. Its great advantage, they reckon, is that it can do away with such expensive things as real journalists. Teenagers can be engaged at no or very little cost to sit in front of computers and produce stories (which may or may not be true) copied from Twitter and other social media sites. And now the old men have decided to share their discovery with the leaders of other enterprises.

The generosity of the Telegraph is marvellous to behold. And they must be particularly pleased with their promise to consign English to history.



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