Tag Archives: language

letters to the editor #24 – a hung parliament?

Sir

My enthusiasm for a hung parliament has waned since it was brought to my attention that it will not require the use of many lengths of rope and most of the lamp posts along the embankment as I had first thought.

I therefore formally withdraw my support.

Yours faithfully
Disappointed of Dorcan

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letters to the editor #23 more joys of shopping

Sir

Whilst in our local Sainsbury’s this morning there was an announcment on the public address regarding their range of East Regs. On enquiring whether they also had West Regs I received a blank stare and felt that security may have been about to be called, so refrained from also enquiring after North and South Regs.

I can’t have been mistaken as the annoucement was made, at a far to strident a volume, several times.

Yours faithfully

Surprised of Swindon

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Michael Foot – A good and honest man

There were probably a lot of things that Michael Foot and I would have disagreed on had we ever sat down to talk. We never did though, and his passing this week means that we never will, but his was one of the first names that would come to mind whenever I’ve been asked who I would like to have had as a guest at an ideal virtual gathering.

In the tributes to him we have seen examples of his power as an orator, but these have been, of necessity, just short glimpses and the recording medium does not capture what it was to hear him speak in person. Sadly, for me, there are so few orators left now, their kind having become extinct in a world of political correctness and with the need to “stay on message”.

As I have said elsewhere amongst my blogs, just because you don’t agree with someone it doesn’t mean that you don’t like them, and that applies also to respect, and that is a commodity I value above all else.

I shall remember Michael Foot for his oratory powers, but also with a great respect for a good and honest man for, despite a long life in the murky world of politics, he remained that throughout which is precisely why he was unable to make a success of leading his party.

A good and honest man:  Maybe not much of an epitaph, but one that I can aspire to for when my turn comes.

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is nature out of control? no, the media can’t use their language

I’ve just read that statement on a news channel talking about the earthquake in Chile and the possibility of a resultant tsunami in the Pacific.

What a stupid statement; when was nature ever under control? Nature is nature. It’s part of the life we live in sharing this planet and every now and again it will bite us. Of course I’m sorry that people have lost relatives, homes, property or whatever when we have these disasters, but this post isn’t about that.

It’s about the stupid things that the media say. A personal peeve has long been the soccer writer or commentator who says that such and such team were saved by the woodwork/crossbar/post. Now I’ve played, watched or refereed hundreds of games and have never seen the woodwork move to save a shot. If the ball hits the woodwork and goes wide or back into play then the shot wasn’t quite on target. Saved by the woodwork is a stupid thing to say.

Another one that has been prevalent of late is that someone has died in Afghanistan after being hit by a mine. No they weren’t hit by a mine; their vehicle drove over one. It’s of no consolation either way to those killed or maimed and their families, but can’t the media show some respect by reporting accurately?

Another of my blogs will, on Monday next, be critical of education standards, but what chance have folks got when the media, hugely influential as they are, can’t get it right?

Somewhere along the way the news went into the entertainment business. I can’t quite work out when, but standards went South with the change. I started to realise it had happened when it dawned on me that news bulletins had started to refer to TV programmes, the bulletin effectively promoting the channels own entertainment programmes. I can rarely sit through a news bulletin these days, and don’t often read a newspaper cover to cover any more. The standards or reporting and use of words irritates me so much that the topic gets lost.

Another example of getting old? Just a grumpy old man moaning about how it wasn’t like that in my day? Maybe, but something well written, whether for reading yourself or having it read to you, is a joy. Our language allows great expression and should be used to good effect. Why waste it?

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