Wednesday, 28 June 2006

Telecom case gives new meaning to 'voluntary'

THIS IS A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: There is a new meaning for the word voluntarily, whose use we strongly recommend you adopt. Let me give you some examples of its new use:
  • Mrs Smith tells Smith Jr.: If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. Smith Jr. eats his meat voluntarily.
  • Teacher tells a student: If you don't pick up that paper, then I'm putting you on detention. The student picks up the paper voluntarily.
  • The Government tells Telecom: If you don't split your business in two, then we'll regulate for that anyway. Telecom agrees to split in two voluntarily.
To give you some context, the Herald describes the last case:
Telecom to voluntarily split in two
Telecom said today its decision to split its business and put rivals on the same footing as its own retail business had not been forced by the Government. . .

Asked whether the Goverment would be placated by the move, chairman Wayne Boyd said the company was "reading the tea leaves". . .

Telecom's shares were unchanged on $4.10 in late trading [down from 5.55 just before David Cunliffe announced the nationalisation of Telecom's lines].
Voluntarily is the adverb form of voluntary. Here's what the word used to mean:
Voluntary, a. proceeding from or determined by one's own free will or choice , not under external constraint...
Let me make this clear: that is the old meaning. It's useage in the above examples shows its new meaning. Please ensure you use the word in the new way in future. Backsliding will be double-plus-ungood, and treated accordingly.

So just to recap: just as the unbundling of Telecom's lines was not nationalisation, this is not forced separaration of Telecom -- this is voluntary separation. Cheerleaders for this separation are not enthusiasts for regulation and government intrusion, they are not moochers and parasites, they are in fact apostles of voluntarism.

And just by the way, we are at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia.

Thank you for your time.

TAGS: Telecom, Politics-NZ


  1. I thought we were at war with Oceania? Weren't we allways at war with Oceania?


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