The economic news today — GDP growth in the UK falling to the slowest rate in three years (Daily Telegraph) — was so bad David Cameron must have realised that the hyperbole he has been using was inappropriate. So he gave meiosis (use of terms that gives impression that something is less important than it is) a go, describing the news (BBC) as “less exciting” than the previous quarter.
Throughout the campaign Cameron and Osborne have been talking up the Conservatives economic success. While economists have been casting doubt on their claims (Two thirds of economists say Coalition austerity harmed the economy) most people seem to have believed them. Labour has signally failed to alter this belief.
I wonder who dreamed up the idea of dismissing the very bad GDP figures as “less exciting” but the intent was clearly to dismiss the figure as less important than it really is.
The Literary Devices website defines meiosis as, “a witty understatement that belittles or dismisses something or somebody, particularly by making use of terms that gives impression that something is less important than it is or it should be”.
Is this playing with words or simply political rhetoric?