Wednesday, 18 April 2012

NSWLC Government Whip Phelps parades his ignorance

Ever since the Hon. Dr. Peter Phelps MLC came to the notice of the Twitterati I have been finding him a hitherto untapped source of amusement.

This is vintage Phelps in Hansard on 2nd June 2011:

The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: Point of order: This is now the fourth time Mr David Shoebridge has referred to draconian legislation. He would, or should, be aware that "draconian" is the adjectival form of "dragon". There are no dragons involved in this legislation, and there are no dragons involved in the industrial relations situation of New South Wales. There may well be an argument for dracona-centric global warming, but that is something we will leave for another time. I ask that Mr David Shoebridge cease and desist from bringing the good name of dragons into disrepute by describing this as draconian legislation. [my bolding]

Sounds fair doesn’t it? A doctor of philosophy in history giving 'helpfu'l linguistic advice to a fellow member of the Legislative Council.

However, all is not what it seems. The “adjectival form of dragon” is in fact “draconic” – using a lowercase d.

A quick use of his Blackberry would have displayed the fact that the adjective “Draconian” or “draconian” refers to of, like, or pertaining to Draco or his laws and alternatively harsh, rigorous, severe as any good dictionary will tell you.

Although English is a dynamic language constantly changing over time, it is yet to catch up to Mr. Phelps’ fanciful interpretation – except perhaps in the realm of science fiction.

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