webofevil: (all hail)
[personal profile] webofevil
Lord Hoyle winds up his contribution to a classic Thursday afternoon low-impact debate in the Lords (“That this House takes note of the role of government in generating economic prosperity and employment”) with an improvised flourish that could almost be accused of being tautologous:
Lord Hoyle: If [the Government set up a business investment bank], not only will we benefit, but all of us in the country and the country as a whole will benefit as well.
Are these three ways of saying the same thing? Or are there subtle gradations of meaning between them? [livejournal.com profile] psychonomy is firmly convinced that the first “we” refers to members of the Lords listening to Lord Hoyle's speech, several of whom could well make a fortune out of any such investment bank.

That leaves “all of us in the country” and “the country as a whole” to contend with. Perhaps they are indeed separate categories: “the country as a whole” could cover the geographical extent of the UK and any things that it contains, such as infrastructure and geological features, while “all of us in the country” could, as [livejournal.com profile] psychonomy firmly contends, take in not only the population but any visitors from abroad (in line, it turns out, with the existing definition of “licence fee payers”), although this doesn't seem to take into account people from that population who are currently elsewhere.

It's unclear which category animals fall into. Does the degree of consciousness dictate whether a beloved pet is merely part of “the country as a whole” or can be counted among “all of us in the country”? With one ostensibly innocuous sentence, the noble Lord has plunged us into a philosophical rabbit-hole.

In the event, though, after much discussion, we think we have nailed down what Lord Hoyle was driving at:

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