Monthly Archives: December 2022

  • Festive digital dyslexia from Reach

    It might be the festive season, but the mission of Reach plc titles all over the country to murder the English language and sow confusion instead of enlightenment continues unabated.

    Christmas Eve saw the publication of the piece shown in the screenshot below where the person responsible for the headline seems oblivious to the fact that there are differences in meaning between chances and changes and doesn’t have the nous to check their copy after drafting

    . Headline reads Rise in fly-tipping in Carmarthenshire feared when recycling chances come in

    I wonder if the ‘journalist‘ responsible will be tucking into roast turnkey this Christmas Day lunchtime. 😀

  • Fools and social media

    Your ‘umble scribe has not bothered with social media since the obscenely wealthy and undertaxed man baby masquerading under the name Elon Musk took the helm of Twitter and promptly set about trashing it with his control freak approach to company management, sacking lots of the tech staff that keep the platform running and demanding those that survive show their dedication to the company by working excessive hours.

    This was a big wrench for your correspondent, as time not spent working was generally filled with social media discussion and debate, and so entailed a wholesale change in his daily activities (Note to self: must get round to getting on Mastodon some time soon. Ed.).

    Following his acquisition of the platform, Musk installed himself as Twitter’s CEO and now seems to have reached the conclusion his rather doubtful skills are up to the job.

    In recent days Musk held a Twitter poll to ask Twitter users whether he should remain as the platform’s boss. The results were not flattering if Musk has – as I suspect – a narcissistic streak.

    Poll shows 57.5% of Twitter users saying Musk should go
    On your bike, laddie!

    Musk has now confirmed he will indeed step down as CEO as soon as he can find someone ‘foolish enough‘ to replace him.

    One candidate springs to my mind immediately: an egomaniac with current experience of running a social media platform (albeit one misnamed Truth Social. Ed.). Step forward one Donald John Trump, disgraced 45th president of the United States, who spends a large share of his time playing golf (as he did whilst supposed to be occupying the Oval Office. Ed.).

    I do hope these two prime examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect play nicely with one another. 😀

    PS: The Register is also joining in the fun with its own poll.

  • Flurry of investigative journalism from Reach titles

    Reach plc, owners of the Mirror and the Daily Brexit (which some still call the Express. Ed.), also control a large swathe of the local regional press across the English Empire (which some still call the United Kingdom. Ed.).

    One of the accusations frequently levelled against Reach’s regional titles is that the news they carry has been dumbed down, particularly since the ousting of sub-editors who until some years ago provided a modicum of quality control over what was actually printed.

    A further criticism often directed in Reach’s direction is a lack of investigative journalism, i.e. form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, which may involve months or years researching and preparing a report.

    Your ‘umble scribe does not know if months or years of research have gone into preparing the flurry of seasonally inspired investigations that have appeared in various Reach title in the past week, but they do show the great sacrifice that has been made around the country by the waistlines of the reporters involved.

    A small selection of this fearless sleuthing is shown below.

    First up the Bristol (Evening) Post

    Headline reads We Tried Aldi and Lidl's showstopper Christmas sausage rolls

    The budget supermarkets Aldi and Lidl seem to have attracted particular attention, as per this poultry effort from The Daily Post/North Wales Live.

    Headline reads Aldi selling UK's cheapest fresh whole turkeys

    In the south of Cymru, Wales Online, formerly the Western Mail, has opted for a hyper-local approach, focussing its rapier-like skills on Cardiff’s independent retail catering sector. Note the whole story squeezed into the headline, thus saving the reader the bother of engaging with the piece, all apart from the verdict.

    Headline reads I tried the Christmas sandwiches from Cardiff's independent shops to see which really is the best

    Finally in this brief excursion around some of the local titles in the Reach stable, we arrive at the Liverpool Echo, which goes in for a comparison of Marks & Spencer with our old friends Lidl. Note the glaring grammatical error in the headline, as well as the use of the first person singular in the verb conjugations.

    Headline reads I swapped M&S to Lidl for my Christmas food shop and was 'amazed'
  • Digital soup

    On a trip to town in recent days, your ‘umble scribe was intrigued by the digital soup spotted in a shop display window,

    Digital soup maker on display in shop window

    My initial thought was “What is digital soup?

    Is it made of fingers? Or are ones and zeroes involved? Is the digital a defiant gesture to all soup makers marketed before?

    As it turns out, ones and zeroes are indeed involved and the digital part of the apparatus refers to the device’s digital control panel, as depicted below.

    Soup maker digital control panel
  • Ball games signage ‘band’

    Today’s South Wales Argus reports that Caerphilly County Borough Council in South Wales has been grappling with the matter of ballgames[sic], leading to them being “band

    Headline reads Caerphilly council band 'no ballgames here' signs

    After her compulsory period of exile in Homophone Corner, Local Democracy Reporter Rhiannon James (or the Argus’ headline writer, if different. Ed.) also ought to ask bosses for a keyboard with a working space bar and/or a functioning spellchecker. 😀

  • Defensive on donations

    Today’s Guardian reports that donations to the alleged natural party of government (©: the CONservative Party. Ed.) have declined by 40% in just 3 months (although in that quarter it still managed lay its paws on £3m.), according to the latest figures released by the Electoral Commission.

    By way of contrast, donations to the Labour Party have risen by almost 25%.

    Fifty pound note
    “Hello! Let me introduce you to the powerful and influential person holding me…”

    During this time the Tories have worked their way through 3 prime ministers – the disgraceful Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, one Elizabeth Mary Truss and now Goldman Sachs cheerleader Rishi Sunak – and two budgets, including a fiscal disaster from short-lived Chancer of the Excheqeur Kamikwasi Kwarteng.

    The Tory spokesperson quoted by The Guardian seems to be very much on the defensive, if your ‘umble scribe’s reading between the lines is accurate.

    The Conservative party only accepts donations from permissible sources, namely individuals registered on the UK’s electoral roll or UK registered companies. Donations are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, openly published by them and comply fully with the law.

    If as stated the Tories are only accepting donations from permissible sources, that represents a quick volte-face from six months ago when, as Open Democracy reported, it was still donations from Russian sources linked to the gangster regime of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.