Posts tagged facepalm

Common touch? Out of touch

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It has long been a source of amusement when high-ranking politicians try to show they have the common touch and end up making fools of themselves.

Such an instance happened yesterday when the death of actor Dennis Waterman was announced.

Step forward Nadhim ‘Stable Genius’ Zahawi, the Downright Dishonourable Member of Parliament for Stratford Upon Avon and current Secretary of State for Education, who clearly showed why education is not safe in his hands, taking to Twitter and expressing his condolences as follows with no style at all.

Tweet reads RIP Pete. A great actor, grew up watching minder

RIP Pete. A great actor, grew up watching minder.

Zahawi had clearly confused 2 Watermans in the public eye, namely Pete Waterman, purveyor of pop tunes for the likes of Kylie Minogue and the late Dennis.

Pete Waterman

Pete Waterman
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Dennis Waterman

Dennis Waterman
Image courtesy of Garry Knight

Zahawi’s foul-up did not go unnoticed and is being widely mocked on social media, of which the following is an example.

Tweet reads Pete Waterman and Harry Cole really made Minder the hit it was. Shame they're both dead now

Pete Waterman and Harry Cole really made Minder the hit it was. Shame they’re both dead now.

Some while later Zahawi noticed his mistake and tweeted the following.

Tweet reads Made a mistake, RIP Denis Waterman

Made a mistake, RIP Denis Waterman
Note finally Zahawi did not have to the good grace to include an apology for his earlier error as any normal mortal would have done.

Christmas cancelled?

It’s that time of year again, when the rumour circulates that Christmas has been cancelled to avoid upsetting members of other faiths.

This is of course pure nonsense whipped up by fearful and over-sensitive right-wing commentators in the media and has been debunked every time it’s been mentioned.

Who’s to say that adherents of other religions don’t enjoy the Christmas celebrations as much as followers of Christ? Jesus was after all born Jewish and under the name of Isa, is regarded as one of the twenty-five prophets of Islam

As proof that this year’s Christmas has not been cancelled by the anonymous PC Brigade, here’s a shot taken of the window of my nearest butcher in Roman Road, Easton. Please supply your own stuffing and cranberry sauce. 😀

Poster reads place your fresh halal turkey order now

Cancelling Christmas has a long history in this country, stretching back to the mid-17th century when, following the English Civil War, the the Commonwealth of England was governed by a parliament dominated by Puritans, who objected to certain practices they viewed as unbiblical, including the long-established feast of Christmas. In 1647, the English Parliament banned the celebration of Christmas, replacing it with a day of fasting and considering it “a popish festival with no biblical justification“, as well as a time of wasteful and immoral behaviour. Protests followed: pro-Christmas rioting broke out in several cities and for weeks Canterbury was controlled by rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and indulged in other practices bound to annoy the killjoys who have been with us ever since.

All of which brings us to the infamous Winterval. Frequently cited as the ultimate Cancel Christmas event, Winterval was nothing of the sort, but a mere two events held in successive winters in November and December 1997 and 1998 to encourage people to return to the newly rejuvenated city centre. These featured secular and religious events marking religious and other occasions, including Christmas, during those two months. Winterval has since become popular shorthand for misrepresented events to “rebrand” Christmas so as not to exclude non-Christians.

By-election special

Owen PatersonFollowing the resignation as a backbench MP of the disgraced former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson, a by-election has been called for the North Shropshire constituency (where your ‘umble scribe was born and raised. Ed.), the Tory virtual one party state which has returned a Tory member in every poll bar one* since implementation of the so-called Great” Reform Act of 1832.

Paterson decided to resign and leave what he called the “cruel world of politics” (if you want to see how cruel the world of politics is, Paterson’s voting record is online. Ed.) after public outcry following a botched attempt by part-time alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to save his pal from 30 days’ suspension from the Commons for what the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards termed an “egregious case of paid advocacy“.

The full list of fourteen candidates for the by-election has now been released, including for the Tories one Neil Shastri-Hurst, a barrister parachuted in from Birmingham into what should for them be a safe seat.

Given its history, the contest should be a shoe-in for the Blue Team, given that the disgraced former member had a majority just short of 23,000 and that the large number of candidates standing will inevitably split the anti-Conservative vote.

Campaigning has already begun, with prominent and less prominent occupiers of those green leather benches in Westminster turning out to support their chosen candidate, in this case that Brummie barrister.

At which point step forward the honourable Mr Edmund Frances Hughes, who owes his position to the gullibility of voters in the constituency of Walsall North.

Except for the fact that Eddie did not so much step forward as trip over his own two feet and end up flat on his face on social media with one tweet.

Yesterday afternoon in a tweet featuring not only the Brummie barrister, but also Oliver Dowden MP, the former Secretary of State for Culture Wars, Eddie wrote:

Very positive day campaigning in Wem for the North Staffs. by-election.
Dr. Neil Shastri-Hurst would be an excellent MP, and already has a proven track record of public service.

Yes, you did read that tweet correctly. Eddie has moved Wem from the rural acres of north Shropshire to somewhere in the vicinity of the Potteries conurbation, which might have some effect on voters as regards the competence of the Blue Team.

However, it is not just the Conservatives’ drafted-in support that seems to be having problems knowing exactly where above the centre it is. That affliction also extended to their candidate himself, Mr Neil Shastri-Hurst, if a tweet by Harry Taylor is to be believed. Harry writes:

Just read that a voter in Wem was shocked that the Tory candidate thought he was actually in Oswestry (20 miles away!). This coming after Eddie Hughes MP thought he was in North Staffs – a constituency abolished in 1885 – is sending quite a message to voters.

High Street of the ‘North Staffordshire’ town of Wem. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

After all, if members of the governing party don’t even know what county or town they are in, how can they possibly be expected to cope with far more difficult stuff, like the complicated legal text of draft legislation?

*=In the first election held in the new constituency in 1832, North Shropshire was a two-member seat, returning one Tory and one Whig MP. After becoming a single member seat, the only time a non-Tory was elected was in 1904, when it was a Liberal Party seat for a mere two years.

Murdoch rag makes up language

The Murdoch Sun has long had a reputation for making up stories, such as the infamous The Truth front page which accused Liverpool fans of misbehaviour and criminality at Hillsborough in 1989 when 97 Liverpool football fans lost their lives in an incident which a later inquest ruled to have involved unlawful killing.

The infamous The Truth Sun front page

That front page untruth resulted in a boycott of Rupert’s rag by the city of Liverpool that continues to this day.

However, not content with upsetting a city for over 3 decades with a made-up story, Murdoch’s apology for a newspaper has now started on a more ambitious project – making up a new language akin to English, starting with changing the past tense of the verb to fly from a strong verb conjugation to a weak verb one. Headline reads Mum flied home from honeymoon along as hubby denied boarding

The headline has since been corrected following mockery on social media to the effect that it’s now written by 10 year-olds.

Is there no start to the talent of those members of its staff that the title insists it employs as journalists?

Only one resident at a time

The flats at Combfactory Court in Easton have a capacious car park with at least 6 or 8 spaces.

However, owing to stringent restrictions imposed on its use – as shown below on the notice on its railings – only one resident is allowed to park at any one time.

Notice reads Resident's Only Parking

Resident’s only? Not a chance for greengrocer’s then!

Whoever is in charge of the car park has contributed to public view a textbook example of the greengrocer’s apostrophe. This is an informal term in British English for the non-standard use of an apostrophe before the final -s in the plural. It would appear the efforts of examinations body the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority since 2006 have been in vain.

Ambiguity corner – latest

For the second time this week, Reach plc’s Wales Online title graces this blog with its presence due to its journalists’ failure to understand the word ambiguity, let alone recognise what it means and how avoiding it is crucial for members of the fourth estate.

Today sees a classic ambiguous headline for this story.

Headline reads; Boy, 15, approached woman in woods armed with log and said 'give me all your stuff'

Who was armed with the log? Take your pick!

Amongst other things, the Guardian and Observer style guide states that ambiguity is a common problem in headlines”.

Well said, Angus!

One can appease and/or try to reason with bigots; or one can respond like Angus. 😀

No further comment is necessary.

Text of 3 tweets reads: 1) Congratulations to Laura and Jane - this is peak wedding goals 2) Using mentally disturbed people to make themselves seem woke. Get a grip and concentrate on your trains actually turning up on time 3) Not sure how LGBTQ+ people make trains late, but I'll add it to my list of bigoted nonsense people have sent this account. ^Angus

Press gets it wrong – again

If there’s one characteristic of the English Empire’s free and fearless press and the news media in general that’s immediately apparent to anyone with more than one brain cell, it’s their usually remote relationship with the truth.

In the last week or so a new word has emerged – pingdemic – in relation to the coronavirus pandemic to describe the large volume of self-isolation warnings issued by the Covid track and trace app (aka pings (pl.), as derived from the computer networking utility of the same name. Ed.).

Thus the terms ping and pingdemic have become part of normal newspaper and news media vocabulary, as shown in this typical example from yesterday’s London Evening Standard.

Headline reads Ping threat to our food, tube and bins

Whoever wrote the headline Ping threat to our food, tube and bins has clearly not thought the matter through.

It’s not the pings that are the threat but the viral plague which is giving rise to rocketing Covid, aided and abetted by an apology for a government that has removed restrictions far too soon and relinquished – in exemplary Pontius Pilate mode – all responsibility for safeguarding people’s health in the rush to let all their rich mates resume making Loadsamoney again.

All news is to a certain extent manipulated, but if those that right it cannot even get the basic details correct in a headline, is it any wonder that there is deep mistrust in the media?

Still, never mind with all this gloom and doom. Immediately adjacent is a prime example of look over there in the form of the current 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo.

The staff of the Standard clearly seem to have adopted the comment by Juvenal, the 2nd century Roman poet famous that the common people are only interested in bread and circuses (Latin: panem et circensis. Ed.) as editorial policy

Weston’s water problem

Bristol Live, formerly the Bristol (Evening) Post, aka the Temple Way Ministry of Truth, has an enduring reputation locally for the poor quality of some of its reporting.

The reputation was not diminished earlier this week with a report from the paper’s North Somerset correspondent on the temporary closure for improvements of the Water Adventure & Play Park, a facility managed by Weston-super-Mare Town Council.

The report gets off to a bad start with the headline boldly and falsely proclaiming Popular Weston-super-Mare seafront water park to close this month, making it sound as if the attraction is to close permanently, not temporarily.

Note too the use of popular, a term normally reserved by Bristol Live for failing cafés and restaurants.

However, the real howler in the piece occurs in the obligatory quotation from a Town Council spokesperson. In his second sentence he is quoted as saying:

We apologise for the incontinence and look forward to welcoming you back with new improvements ready for the summer holidays.

Whether the specified incontinence originated from any communication from the council, erroneous predictive text or any other source is unclear. Nevertheless, earlier in the piece readers are informed that “the water has remained off due to covid [sic] guidelines“, so the origin of any incontinence is unclear.

When the facility reopens, we are informed that the cost of admission is £2.50 per child.

In view of the purported incontinence, perhaps that ought to be raised to a Tena. 😉

Olive oil – a definition

If you have ever wondered about the derivation of olive oil, here is the ultimate definition courtesy of my Twitter feed.

Text reads Olive oil composed of refined olive oils and virgin olive oils. Oil comprising exclusively olive oils taht have undergone refining and oils obtained directly from olives.

No further comment is required.

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