Saturday, 14 March 2015
Unpublished letter 2: hung, hanged and balanced.
Here's the second "unpublished" letter (see below for the first): this one in response to some misuse of the language - you'd think Guardian writers would know better.
Please remind John Grace (An exciting conference? Quite:7 March) that pictures and juries are hung, people are hanged. And furthermore, advise Nicholas Watt (A royal retreat: 7th March) that, in a multi-party world, it is more respectful of the electorate's decision to describe parliaments with no over-all majority for a single party as "balanced."
The point here is that in persistently referring to a parliament with no over-all majority by the negative- sounding "hung" the media are giving what amounts to a coded (dog whistle?) hint to the electorate that we ought to make up our minds and not dither. This may have relevance in the context in which the metaphor was originally used, (in the US, about juries unable to reach a decision) but is inappropriate in the context of electing a body which is representative of a people with legitimately diverse views.
"Balanced" is the appropriate description: positive, friendly and accurate - and would be even more so if we had proportional representation by single transferable vote in multi-member constituencies.