Today the BBC carried a story by their Home Affairs correspondent, Danny Shaw, about a document which they had obtained from the Metropolitan Police with a Freedom of Information Request. The document was the plan which the police had prepared for the tuition fee protests which took place in London some months ago and which got out of hand.
The BBC article serves only to ridicule the author of the report for poor grammar and spelling and for having the temerity to include some mild levity in the text. The article sneers at misspelling and phrases such as “cunning plan”, “embussed” as well as vague witticisms such as the sentence “Ideally we want to be able to use our carriers (vans) again in the future”.
The United Kingdom has submerged itself in corporate newspeak over the past decade with management consultants charging over the odds to write documents which are perfect when judged for spelling, grammar, syntax, formatting, colour coding and branding but which say nothing and serve no purpose.
Well done BBC, I fully expect that the author of this plan will be reprimanded and stopped from writing documents “going forward”. Instead we can expect that, at great expense, the Met will employ some twit in a suit to write a plan full of perfect platitudes and the sum total of human happiness will have been knocked down a couple of notches.
It is OK to make spelling mistakes. The written word came before the dullards who collated the rules. It is OK to bend and distort grammar on occasions. It is OK to include a bit of levity and to use some inventive terminology. Even if one disagrees with all of this, it is definitively OK for a person employed for his policing abilities to have a sense of humour and not be a grammatical pedant.
On the morning when we woke up to a Tsunami in the Pacific and civil war in Libya the BBC reported that some plod was using poor spelling and grammar. Here’s a better story: The BBC are reporting the bleeding obvious as news!