I’m not ‘going forward’

2015-06-22 14.34.41


I don’t make new year’s resolutions, but if I did, here’s the kind of thing I’d say:

I’ll grind my own coffee every morning.
I’ll clear out my in-tray before I finish work on Fridays.

Note, I wouldn’t say “I’ll grind my own coffee going forward”, or “Going forward, I’ll clear out my in-tray.”

That’s partly because ‘going forward’ is mealy mouthed and vague, it’s the kind of thing people say in meetings to avoid being specific.

It’s also because it would sound as if I were choosing whether to go backwards or forwards in my kitchen while I ground my coffee, in some strange kind of dance.

Or I’d be committing to deleting emails in a forwards kind of way, rather than deliciously randomly.

Above all, I wouldn’t need to say anything about ‘going forward’ or ‘in future’ because I used a future tense – “I’ll grind”, “I’ll clear” – so it’s an unnecessary duplication.

Last year, when Jeremy Corbyn named his first shadow cabinet, his shadow secretary of state for education, Lucy Powell, was interviewed on the radio. She and Jeremy were presumably not obvious bedfellows. How could I tell? She double-hedged her commitment to working alongside him by saying “We’ll see how that relationship develops going forward.” Bad enough that she wasn’t sure about their relationship. But ‘develops going forward’? I guess at least she didn’t say “We’ll see how that relationship develops going backward.”