A large part of an editor’s work is to make sense of a writer’s words. The writer may understand exactly what he or she means but the words spoken or written may convey something else entirely.
It can even happen with politicians whose job it is to debate the merits of the legislation the government is proposing, and the results can be highly amusing.
Fortunately for our pollies, before their words appear next morning in the proof copy of the official record, Hansard, the parliamentary reporters and editors of parliamentary debates have applied their editorial skill.
There’s never as much humour in the document as in the chamber, but if you listen in to the parliamentary broadcasts you might get a giggle from a phrase like these:
“We are trying to devise a way to rationally and logically deal with the issues and allow everybody the opportunity to speak at the same time.”
(And no, he wasn’t talking about Question time!)
“Essentially, the clause allows permits to be issued by the Secretary of the DNRE to allow the taking of recreational fish beyond the normal recreational limits.”
(Small business fish are apparently exempt.)
“It tears at the heartstrings to see parents who have come to see their local MP break down.”
(Laughter is the best medicine.)
“We don’t want to hear of any more deaths as a result of this. We want to try to bring back both deaths and injuries that are caused by people using inappropriate alcohol or drugs.”
(That seems to be working.)
“The program intends to broaden the skills of the police and allow police to facilitate partnerships so public bodies can have an input into crime.”
(And that explains everything!)