Selecting a patron... yay!

David Russell, Consumer advocate

When I was a kid I used to wonder what a 'patron' was. Having a patron for a voluntary organisation like the Girl Guides seemed gratuitious if not smarmy at the time.

So why am I grinning inanely today?

Plain English Power has a patron now, and we're thrilled. The name David Russell represents something special to New Zealanders. David Russell is probably our all-time supreme consumer advocate, widely respected for a combination of fairness, commonsense, doggedness and courtesy. Oh yes: and of course clarity.

With such a patron, we hope everyone will instantly understand that Plain English Power is not the grammar police, but a determined campaign to get government to publish everyday information in language we understand.

Meantime people have been joining Plain English Power at the rate of about ten a day. Come on in! It's free and there are no obligations. You just have to believe one commonsense thing before breakfast... Namely, that public information should be written in a way that is easy to understand.

Am I straying from the theme of Contented? Hardly, because truckloads of government information are published on the Web. Don't get me wrong: many national and local government bodies make a strenuous effort to write plain English for the public. We just want that to become the norm.

Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


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