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Plain speaking - a story of inspiration and aspiration; Phil Redmond.

WENT to a great gig on Wednesday night. Bryan May, Gerry Marsden, Rita Tushingham and Allison Steadman all turned out. Yes, it was the annual Graduation Dinner at Liverpool John Moores University Originally founded as a small mechanics institution (Liverpool Mechanics' School of Arts) in 1825, the institution grew over the centuries by converging and amalgamating with different colleges and eventually became the Liverpool Polytechnic.  and while Bryan May is the Chancellor, the rest are, like myself, Fellows of the University. As are the Dali Lama, Bill Bryson, Stevie G and John Timpson, founder of the shoe shop chain. I am proud receive this honour My own Fellowship dates from 1993, but this week I was elevated to become an Ambassador Fellow, only the second such to be granted and something neither the Dali Lama nor Stevie G have yet to attain, by the way. And I got a new hat.

However, levity aside, I am really very proud to receive this additional honour from LJMU, especially at the same ceremony as Chrissie Maher who, in 1971, founded the UK's first community newspaper, The Tuebrook Bugle.

The news and features were written by local people in their own particular style and became a model for many others across the UK. Most have died away now, although the spirit can still be found in things like Scottie Press and the recent newspaper for young people in Anfield and Breckfield as part of the Biennial's "On the Street" project.

Perhaps the place for such projects is now on the web, but Chrissie's own story, from impoverished uneducated background to starting The Bugle and then eventually the Plain English campaign Plain English Campaign is an independent, self-funding pressure group based in the United Kingdom. Since its humble beginnings it has grown to become the biggest plain language group in the world.  is yet another Scouse scouse  
n.
1. A lobscouse.

2.
a. often Scous·er A native or resident of Liverpool, England.

b. often Scouse The dialect of English spoken in Liverpool.
 story of inspiration and individual aspiration.

The power of the individual seeing something that needed doing and just getting on with it; dragging officialdom behind in their wake so aptly demonstrated in 1994 when Chrissie pointed out that the NHS then had a 229-word definition: for a bed.

really to The Plain English Campaign is now recognised globally as the foremost advocacy agency for trying to abolish legalese legalese - Dense, pedantic verbiage in a language description, product specification, or interface standard; text that seems designed to obfuscate and requires a language lawyer to parse it.  and bureaucratic gobbledegook gob·ble·dy·gook also gob·ble·de·gook  
n.
Unclear, wordy jargon.



[Imitative of the gobbling of a turkey.
. Or, put another way, making things easier and clearer to understand.

Above all, though, Chrissie was an early advocate of the sort of community action that the Big Society is trying to promote. Proof once again that whenever anything radical happens, or is planned, it has usually already happened in Liverpool.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 16, 2010
Words:370
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