By Cara Sulieman
FORMER US President George W Bush has been declared the worst culprit for making nonsensical comments.
And he is the only person to have two appearances in the top ten of a poll carried out by Aviva insurance.
It was his infamous statement that “our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we,” that clinched him the top spot.
He is joined by Bill Clinton, Boris Johnson and Eric Cantona in a range of foolish statements that span more than 30 years.
The second spot goes to Terminator actor Arnold Schwarzenegger who declared “I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman” during his election campaign in 2003.
The top ten is filed with politicians and includes Gordon Brown’s confused answer to a query during Prime Minister’s question time earlier this year: “Total spending will continue to rise and it will be a zero per cent rise in 2013-14.”
But it isn’t just politicians filling up the ranks of the inarticulate, with a whole host of sporting blunders thrown in.
Football commentator John Motson started off a 1977 league match between Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur by saying “for those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are playing in yellow” and earned himself fifth place in the poll.
And French footballer Eric Cantona bagged himself eighth place with his whimsical statement: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.”
Steve Genders, head of online marketing at Aviva said: “Politicians, sportsmen and celebrities are notorious for spouting a variety of vague gobbledygook, proving that getting a direct and straight answer is as difficult today as it’s ever been.
“Aviva has worked closely with Plain English Campaign to meet their strict criteria for the minimum amount of corporate jargon on its website, enabling users to find information on insurance and purchase directly.”
The top ten
1 – George W Bush – Washington, D.C., 5 August, 2004: ”Our enemies are innovative and resourceful and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
2 – Arnold Schwarzenegger, campaign, 2003: “I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
3 – Donald Rumsfeld, Department of Defense news briefing, 12 February, 2002: ”Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
4 – Murray Walker: “The lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one behind it which is identical.”
5 – John Motson, commentating on Tottenham in 1977: “For those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are playing in yellow.”
6 – Gordon Brown, Prime Minister’s question time, 1 July 2009: ”Total spending will continue to rise and it will be a zero per cent rise in 2013-14.”
7 – Bill Clinton, during his 1998 grand jury testimony about the Lewinsky affair: ”It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If ‘is’ means ‘is and never has been’ that’s one thing – if it means ‘there is none’, that was a completely true statement.”
8 – Eric Cantona, press conference, 1995: ”When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.”
9 – George W Bush, Rome, 22 July, 2001: “I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe – I believe what I believe is right.”
10 – Boris Johnson, Have I Got News for You, 2003: “I could not fail to disagree with you less.”