A new survey shows that two-thirds of young people think that filibustering is, umm…, a sexual act.
I can see how that misunderstanding survives contact with headlines such as “Filibustering leaves MPs ‘ashamed’” or “MP calls for filibuster ban after Commons Brexit debate“. I can also see how it almost, just about, survives contact with a news story where “Sky News host Faisal Islam slated Labour’s housing minister for “filibustering” as she refused to answer whether she would vote down the Brexit Repeal Bill“.
No sniggering please at “The New York Times called it “Congressional masochism,” though it was not a formal filibuster“. Or tut-tutting at Auntie Beeb for “A guide to filibustering – and how to stop yourself needing the loo“.
The serious point in amongst this and the other misunderstandings the survey found is that it’s yet another reminder of how little attention most people pay to politics. They’re not stupid; they’re just deploying their brains elsewhere.
Which is why even political jargon that that is widely used is best avoided when you are trying to communicate with the public rather than with the sort of wonderful but unusual people who know what a filibuster is or choose to spend a Saturday afternoon in a Midlands hotel hearing me talk about bar charts.