Why France and Nederland didn't sign the EU Constitution
Some very good points in Bill DuBay's Plain Language at Work Newsletter— 13 June 2005.
"SMART SHOPPERS know better than to sign anything they don't understand. Citizens of France and the Netherlands took that lesson to heart in refusing to ratify the EU Constitution. And well they should.
The U.S. Constitution contains 4,000 words in 11 pages and seven articles, all written at a democratic 9th-grade level.
The European Constitution is a badly organized, 855-page, 156,447-word document written at the 16th grade level. The first and most important part is missing a title. Some of the 465 articles ended up in the wrong sections.
The European Constitution is a bloated and botched attempt to give Europeans what they need for the development of their Union. There is no doubt about the role that bad language played in this colossal failure. The bureaucrats of the European Union have been very successful in imposing their quality manufacturing standards on the rest of the world. They have yet to learn about quality in language and how it affects their work.
As they pick over the wreckage, they should take a quick lesson in simple salesmanship: Don't pitch your goods in language that people don't understand."
Good lessons for any leader, I'm sure. How can anyone follow you if they don't know what you're on about?