Posts tagged media

A guide for the rest of us


The For Dummies set of reference books/instruction manuals has for years been sold as a non-intimidating guide for ordinary mortals and in its early days used to feature the wording in the title as a reassuring means of gaining sales from Joe and Jane Soap (or John and Jane Doe for readers on the west cost of the Atlantic. Ed.).

The series’ follow the bouncing ball style of guidance has over the years been ridiculed and that ridicule in turn used to good advantage to mock those clearly out of their depths in their chosen profession or – heaven forbid – public office to which they have been elevated.

Which brings us to the alleged government’s current Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, one Elizabeth Mary Truss.

Liz, as she prefers to be called, has the reputation of not being very bright, but that is no obstacle to high public office in the kakistocracy presided over by party-time alleged prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

She is however, a fully paid-up member of the two clubs to which all government ministers and Tory Party loyalists are now supposed to belong, the Cult of Brexit and the Cult of the Adoration of the Boris.

And it is in relation to the first cult that this post is being penned.

In the mid-18th century a song was composed exhorting Britannia to rule the waves. Since Brexit one is more likely to see Britannia waiving the rules – as is currently being threatened by the British government in respect of the Northern Ireland Protocol, a treaty between the English Empire (which some still call the United Kingdom . Ed.) and the European Union, which has the status of international law.

Reading between the lines, it is obvious that Johnson and his government have no intention of honouring by the Protocol and are currently seeking to tear it up, with Truss making a statement to this effect yesterday in the House of Commons.

Which brings us once again the Dummies and the inspired piece of parody.

Parody book cover entitled International Law With Dummies

As regards the references in the image to pork markets and a limited and specific way, a search engine is your friend. 😀

Needless to say, the antics of Johnson and Truss have not been warmly received by the EU Commission.

Truss’ plans will also send a clear message to states with whom the government may seek to conclude a trade deal that the British government’s word is not to be trusted.

To hark back once again to another phrase coined in the 18th century, perfidious Albion is alive and well.

Campaigner’s monoglot parking charge quashed


The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 modernised the existing legal framework regarding the use of the Welsh language in the provision of public services in Wales.

It made provision for the official status of the Welsh language and established the office of the Welsh Language Commissioner which replaced the Welsh Language Board. It made Welsh an official language in Wales. This means it must be treated no less favourably than English and that when dealing with the state (i.e. central and local government, the health service, etc.), Welsh speakers are entitled to use the vernacular.

However, its provisions do not apply to the private sector, such as monoglot car park management companies based in England but operating in Wales, has been brought to light by the small matter of a parking charge in a small village in Ceredigion.

Today’s Nation Cymru reports on the case of Welsh language campaigner who was due to appear in court for non-payment of a parking charge for the sea front car park in Llangrannog in September 2020.

Llangrannog viewed from the south cliffs. The car park in question is just to the left of the picture’s centre.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Today Toni Schiavone, a former teacher and education officer for the Welsh Government, was due to appear at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court to answer a charge of not paying a penalty charge notice issued to him solely in English by One Parking Solutions Ltd. of Worthing in West Sussex.

Mr. Schiavone repeatedly contacted the company requesting the penalty notice and further correspondence in Welsh and is on record as stating he would only pay the charge if the notice was served in Welsh, but his words fell upon deaf ears, with One Parking Solutions replied with typical colonial arrogance that the company was based in England and under no obligation to issue penalty notices in Welsh.

Mr Schiavone’s response to One Parking Solutions’ less than helpful reply was quoted by Nation Cymru as follows:

It would be nothing for them to issue a penalty notice in Welsh but they have ignored the request and decided to take me to court. They are the ones causing trouble for themselves.”

As this post was being drafted, Wales Online announced that Mr Schiavone’s case had been thrown out of court as there was no representative from One Parking Solutions present.

In a delicious piece of irony the court received all the papers from the plaintiff – including a copy of the penalty charge notice – in Welsh as Mr Schiavone was exercising his right to use his vernacular in court; this all had to be translated by One Parking Solutions.

Speaking after the case, Mr Schiavone put the case for extending the provision of Welsh language services to the private sector in Wales, stating:

This clearly shows the need to extend the language measure to include the private sector. Private companies like this have said many times over the years that they will not provide Welsh language services voluntarily.

Brexit – the gift that keeps on giving


The departure of the English Empire (which some still call the United Kingdom. Ed.) from the European Union is the gift that keeps on giving, especially for anywhere located outside that backward country and in another member EU member state.

The latest news from the unlit uplands mired in unicorn manure comes from Computer Weekly which reports on research from analysts Forrester that London has dropped down the tech rankings post-Brexit due, inter alia, to immigration woes, no doubt exacerbated by the Home Office’s hostile environment.

Helsinki South Harbour

Helsinki – Europe’s leading IT skills cluster, according to Forrester

As regards digital skills, Forrester’s research reveals hat post-Brexit regulatory obstacles are preventing UK cities from being ranked as a leading skill cluster in Europe: the top 10 metropolitan areas with the best skills and talent clusters across Europe are Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Hamburg, Oslo, Munich, Vienna, Zurich, and Amsterdam, whilst London, which was often formerly recognised as Europe’s tech hub, was ranked 19th (the heyday of Silicon Roundabout seems so long ago. Ed.), whilst other British cities also slid down the rankings.

The Forrester report’s authors state that European businesses increasingly understand the need to attract individuals with specific sector expertise as well as soft skills, commenting: “Leading businesses place diversity, partner ecosystems and innovation centres at the heart of their talent management strategies.” Furthermore, IT and business need to understand where Europe’s top skill clusters are located before they can attract and retain the best talent and to source the right skills.

Amid confusion

One recent development your ‘umble scribe has noticed in respect of the vocabulary used by members of the Fourth Estate is an unprecedented rise in the use of amid.

This preposition has the following definition:

in or into the middle of;surrounded by.

A useful synonym in this context is among.

Other definitions include during and with the accompaniment of.

Needless to say. these definitions are not always adhered to by the more illiterate members of the press and poor old amid is consequently used out of context, as per today’s example from the Powys County Times.

Headline reads Historic Newtown church struck by vandals amid appeal for witnesses

The confusion apparent in the headline was succinctly explained by the @KeepBristolTidy Twitter account, who helpfully stated the following.

Tweet reads So the church was struck by vandals on the middle of the appeal for information about the same vandals?

Infant caprine security?

Ever since newspapers mostly did away with sub-editors some while ago as a cost-saving measure, standards of written journalism have visibly declined. Poor punctuation and clumsy use of language have become more commonplace. Sub-editors used to play a vital role, helping reporters to become better writers and thus journalists.

Nowadays, authors are supposed to check their own output.

Even with the best will in the world, it is sometimes difficult to stop errors in one’s own copy.

That being said, there is an absolute howler in today’s online edition of the Shropshire Star, as per the screenshot below

headline reads Safety kids to be handed out to women in hot-spots for crime in Newtown

Unless young goats really are to used to promote the safety of Newtown’s women and girls, which is not readily apparent from the subsequent copy, one would think that checking a headline before hitting the ‘Publish is a skill that should be taught on journalism courses. 😀

The headline has since been corrected.

Toppled Road renamed

Nearly half a year ago, your ‘umble scribe reported that Colston Road in Easton, a road named after Bristol-born slave trader, insider share dealer, financier, religious bigot and former Tory MP for the city had been unofficially renamed as Toppled Road (posts passim).

On the other side of the road from the crudely painted Toppled Street on the side of a house, a new more official-looking street name sign has appeared in recent days.

Colston Four Road

The original street name sign is painted out as a token of the regard in which Eddie the Slaver is held locally.

The new unofficial sign commemorates the acquittal by a Bristol jury of the so-called Colston Four who were tried for criminal damage when Colston’s statue in the centre of the city was brought down and dumped in the city docks during the course of a Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June 2020.

Local residents have been uneasy for years about living in a street named after a so-called philanthropist who made his money from kidnapping, trafficking and exploiting to death thousands of unwilling Africans and have long campaigned for it to be changed, along with other reminders of the late Victorian Cult of Colston.

Speaking to Easton councillor Barry Parsons yesterday, your correspondent asked him for an update on how the name change was progressing.

He responded that the whole matter of street renamings was one of the topics handed over to the We Are Bristol History Commission, which has just recently issued its recommendations in respect of Colston’s statue, backing the general public view it belongs henceforth in a museum.

However, any words of wisdom from the Commission regarding the fate of Bristol’s street names commemorating Eddie the Slaver have yet to be uttered and it would appear the matter has been (so to say) kicked into the long grass.

In a final twist, the Bristol Post/Bristol Live is claiming that some of its less perceptive readers are “outraged at the change of name, with some actually believing the new sign has been erected by the city’s perfidious council, even though the sign’s design is clearly different to that used by the local authority, whose standard modern street name signs all include the first 3 characters of the road’s postcode

Another Downing Street resignation

In addition to the five 10 Downing Street advisers that resigned from the service of party-time alleged prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson last week, there was one additional departure resignation from the same address that went unnoticed last week by the mainstream media and was only seen by those those who pay close attention to Twitter.

Tweet alleged to come from Larry the Downing Street Cat announcing his resignation

I fully sympathise, Larry. I would not be able to stand the lies, philandering, laziness, sense of entitlement, egotism and general sense of entitlement either. 😀

The Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office has been in service since 2011. I wonder how many suitcases of booze the faithful feline has seen hauled over the threshold of that famous black door in 11 years?

Ar Werth?

Anglesey (Ynys Môn) is one of the strongholds of the Welsh language with figures as high as 78% being quoted for those with some proficiency in the tongue. The 2011 census revealed that some 68.56% of the island’s population were either fluent or had some proficiency.

One would therefore expect the island’s linguistic identity and heritage to be respected.

But no. As The Daily Post/North Wales Live has reported, an estate agent has apologised after an English-only For Sale sign was placed alongside Beaumaris Road (which is the main A545 road between Menai Bridge/Porthaethwy and Beaumaris. Ed.).

Needless to say, the absence of the vernacular and mains means of communication on the island attracted the attention and ire of Welsh language campaigners, leading to its being defaced by a sticker bearing the wording “ble mae’r Gymraeg?” (where is the Welsh?).

The wording is a slogan used by Cymdeithas yr Iaith (Welsh Language Society) and appears on stickers used as a means of peaceful protest. Over the years on the stickers have adorned road signs and telephone boxes, amongst other things.

Ar Werth is For Sale in Welsh

Doing it right along the banks of the Afon Dwfor in Gwynedd. Image courtesy of Christine Johnstone

In response to criticism on social, estate agent Gavin Morgan has given an apology of sorts, responding: “Sorry guys my board is in Welsh and English, board company have erected the wrong board.”.

Metrology news

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to a new unit of measurement, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, as used yesterday by North Wales Online/Daily Post.

The particular context for the use of the Leaning Tower of Pisa was the planning application by RWE Renewables to Denbighshire County Council for a 90-metre-high meteorological mast on land at Mynydd Mynyllod, Llandrillo, near Corwen.

If planning permission is granted, the purpose of the mast the mast will be to collect wind data for three years to see whether the field is a suitable site for a wind farm.

According to Wikipedia, the height of Pisa’s famous tower is 55.86 metres from the ground on the low side and 56.67 m on the high side.

Your ‘umble scribe wonders what its equivalent is in football pitches, sizes of Wales and Stockholms (posts passim). 😉

Geographical confusion plagues local Reach title

If there’s one thing that characterises Reach plc’s regional newspaper titles it is lack of attention to detail, whether that is their use of English, captioning of photos, geographical location and so on.

Earlier this week visitors to the Bristol Post website (aka BristolLive. Ed.) were treated to an exemplar of this poor quality media production.

It’s not unusual for newspaper sites to encourage their visitors to sign up for newsletters as a marketing tool and thus increase their traffic.

However, the Bristol Post’s latest effort, which is posted on a page that seems to be syndicated across several different regional titles, appears to have been mistargeted, landing a direct hit on the banks to the River Hull at its confluence with the Humber estuary, rather than the banks of the Bristol Avon.

Screenshot of Bristol Post web page inviting readers to sign up for the HullLive newsletter

Hull – Bristol’s newest suburb?

This is not the first time (and definitely won’t be the last. Ed.) that Reach titles have played fast and loose with geography. Four years ago, the Bristol Post magically transformed into the Manchester Evening News (posts passim).

This action raises a number of questions, i.e.:

  • Is Hull Bristol’s newest suburb?
  • Are HullLive readers being invited to sign up to the BristolLive newsletters in the interests of balance if nothing else?
  • How many seconds would the average modern Reach employee have survived in post if magically transported back to the days when all regional newspapers employed sub-editors?

If you know the answer or can provide further elucidation, please comment below. 😀

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