Task #1: Practice your Language Skills


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CONTEXT:

Who is speaking?

Godfrey Bloom

Who is he speaking to?

Members of the European Parliament

What is he talking about?

Taxation

What does he want to achieve?

Persuade others that his opinion is right

COMPREHENSION

What, according to the American philosopher Murray Rothbard, is the state?

An institution of theft

What, according to Godfrey Bloom, is tax? What is its objective?

A system where politicians and bureaucrats steal from citizens

“You are the biggest tax-avoiders in Europe!” – Who is the speaker accusing, and what methods of tax-avoidance does he accuse them of using?

MEPs; composite tax rates, high tax thresholds, non-contributory pension schemes

What consequences does Godfrey Bloom suggest might result from these practices?

People will vote for Eurosceptics in June, they will storm the European Parliament and they will hang the MEPs!

Vocabulary

minded

determined; going (to)

quote

say the exact words someone else has said

writ large

on a large scale

to squander in the most disgraceful manner

to waste without shame

keep a straight face

not to smile or laugh

all sorts of special deals

many privileges

pontificating

talking as if with supreme authority

the message is getting home

people are beginning to understand the truth

Eurosceptics

People who do not believe in the European Union

in ever great numbers

more and more

people get your number

people see what you really want /what you are really trying to achieve

storm this chamber

to siege this building; to take this building by force

Style

How does the speaker grab the attention of the listener?

a controversial statement, in the form of a quote

A quote [In what order does he use the following:]

1st 1 100%
2nd 0 0%
3rd 0 0%
4th 0 0%

Dramatic consequences [In what order does he use the following:]

1st 0 0%
2nd 0 0%
3rd 0 0%
4th 1 100%

Generalisation [In what order does he use the following:]

1st 0 0%
2nd 1 100%
3rd 0 0%
4th 0 0%

Personalisation [In what order does he use the following:]

1st 0 0%
2nd 0 0%
3rd 1 100%
4th 0 0%

Lexis:

‘Dramatic’ words e.g. squander, storm, hang; superlatives e.g. the most disgraceful, the biggest tax avoiders in Europe; lexical fields e.g. theft, steal, tax evasion:

Structure:

Quote – Generalisation (the state is…; tax is…)Personalised accusation (You.. you….etc.), consequences; Interjections implying attitude (I don’t know how you can keep a straight face..)

Discourse:

Crescendo. First crimes grow in number, culminating in a climax (You are the biggest tax-avoiders in Europe); Then the consequences grow in seriousness to a climax (..and hang you)

Pronunciation:

Again, climatic. A more ‘polite’, detached academic tone in the introduction is replaced by an increasingly angry tone marked by heavy emphasis and intonation, culminating in ‘and they’ll be right!’

Discussion/Essay

Is tax more than this? What would happen if nobody paid tax? Should we pay more or less tax than we do at the moment, to the same or different bodies as we do at the moment?

Dear Mr Bloom
Having listened to your contribution to the debate on European taxation, I cannot help feel that you have given a very exaggerated and one-sided view of a complex topic.
In the current climate of financial and political scandal within the European Union, I have to say that I was immediately attracted to your arguments. At times, one gets the feeling that taxation punishes the hard work of some, and prizes the laziness or corruption of others.
However, if we imagine a system without taxation, the world we live in is inconceivable. How would roads, hospitals, and the general infrastructure of the country and of the European Union be maintained and improved.?
What then is needed is not the abolition of taxation, but rather a more efficient and controlled distribution system. The money gained through tax should reduce the tax burden on some and increase the benefits for Europe as a whole and not only for the individuals that run the taxation system.
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