Pain: illiteracy posing as cant

As I write, Westminster reporters are wittering mindlessly about the Chancellor’s emergency budget. All the talk is about “pain”, how it’s going to be inflicted and upon whom, and what the reactions to this ‘pain’ will be.

This is not just cant; it’s also illiterate. The Web version of the Encyclopedia Britannica defines pain as:

“A complex experience consisting of a physiological (bodily) response to a noxious stimulus followed by an affective (emotional) response to that event. Pain is a warning mechanism that helps to protect an organism by influencing it to withdraw from harmful stimuli. It is primarily associated with injury or the threat of injury, to bodily tissues”.

The Chancellor may have lots of powers. But the infliction of pain isn’t one of them.