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Phrase of the Year 2019

“Get Brexit done.”

Numerous politicians disingenuously used this phrase to suggest a possible end to problems should the UK eventually leave the EU. ‘Get Brexit started’, or ‘Get Brexit moving’ might have been more honest. Only once out of the EU will the impact on the UK of leaving Europe become apparent, and that impact will be different and more prolonged for different parts of the UK. Senior politicians know this, but continue to rely on their glib arsenal of stock phrases, which they are apparently instructed to use in every sentence whenever interviewed. It’s the kind of sloganeering that conveniently provides the option of avoiding crucially important detail, an option many are understandably willing to take in such confusing times.

“It is what it is.”

This was 2019 Love Island’s ‘whatever’, ‘innit’ or ‘not bovvered’, a nothing-phrase as multi-purpose as it is utterly meaningless. We don’t know what ‘it’ or ‘is’ means in this phrase, and the same could well be said of ‘what’.

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