Thursday, 28 May 2009

Family growth

What does it mean if someone refers to their “growing family”? Here’s ITN on Julie Kirkbride MP:
According to the Daily Telegraph, Ms Kirkbride last year told Parliamentary authorities she needed an extra bedroom to house her ‘growing family’ and increased her mortgage at an extra cost £250 a month to the taxpayer.

Her family has not increased in size in the last nine years, but her brother Ian moved into her constituency home to help with childcare and lived there rent-free.
An interesting (ab)use of a linguistic ambiguity to cast aspersions. Who says a “growing” family is one which is increasing in size, in the sense of numbers? It could just as easily refer to the fact that its young members are themselves growing. Where one might put several small children into the same room, after a certain age it’s generally considered better for them to have separate rooms. Or in Ms Kirkbride’s case, there comes a time when one’s son should perhaps no longer ideally be sharing a bedroom with his uncle.

Come on, isn’t there enough evidence to skewer these greedy and unscrupulous MPs on the facts, without resorting to twisting their words?

(Answer: yes. Oh dear me yes.)

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