From The Independent: Michael Gove instructing his civil servants on grammar
Mr Gove, who studied English at Oxford University’s Lady Margaret Hall, is notorious for his obsession with correct language. While secretary of state for education, he changed the curriculum so that schoolchildren studied more classical literature. “It’s slightly patronising,” said a Whitehall source. “It does feel like the sort of thing someone would do when they have too much time on their hands.”
It appears there are a lot of style guides for civil servants, most probably not available online, and for a minister to request this kind of thing is not unusual. Apparently William Hague requested all correspondence to be written in the Ariel font, except correspondence to himself, which was to be in Georgia. However (to start a sentence in a way he bans), The Independent is keeping an eye on Michael Gove. He was unpopular with teachers but does have more brain cells than the last Lord Chancellor. But how will he use them?
On the subject of civil servants’ language, here is a PDF on Mandarin English
You will recall that
No you won’t.
You will wish to be aware
No you won’t, it’s bad news I’m afraid.
You may wish to consider [doing this]
Do this or else!
You Should Be Aware
Even worse news – not my fault, honest.
Thank goodness the Supreme Court has ruled that Prince Charles’s ‘black spider memo’ letters to parliament can be disclosed:
full judgment and press summary as PDFs on the Supreme Court site.
Judgment read out on youtube:
R (on the application of Evans) and another v Attorney General
This relates to letters predating the coalition legislation under which the royal family are exempt from freedom of information law: see 37 here (PDF).
But attention quickly concentrated on the use of an exclamation mark in the judgment (fortunately in a dissenting opinion):
LORD WILSON: (dissenting)
168. I would have allowed the appeal. How tempting it must have been for the Court of Appeal (indeed how tempting it has proved even for the majority in this court) to seek to maintain the supremacy of the astonishingly detailed, and inevitably unappealed, decision of the Upper Tribunal in favour of disclosure of the Prince’s correspondence!
Jack of Kent on Twitter:
Jack of Kent @JackofKent
So Lord Wilson has brought a long distinguished judicial career to an end by using an exclamation mark in a judgment pic.twitter.com/s8KF8QgMEJ
Andrew Hammel has a suspicion that the German media are keen to find fault with what they believe to be the US justice system, while overlooking comparable shortcomings of the German justice system. Goodness gracious – is he allowed to publish that kind of thing?
Bleg: German News Coverage of Failures of German Justice
Andrew is looking for evidence in the German-language press:
So what I am looking for is articles in the German-language press by Germans which deal with potential justice problems in courts in German-speaking countries including:
(1) wrongful convictions;
(2) racial, ethnic, or religious disparities in conviction rates or sentencing;
(3) allegations of racial or ethnic or religious bias among German prosecutors and professional or lay judges;
(4) interviews with prisoners currently serving prison sentences in Germany who claim that they are completely innocent of the crimes of which they were convicted; and/or
(5) detailed examinations of systemic problems in German criminal justice or prisons, things such as underfunding, outdated regulations, disproportionate penalties, or the use of unreliable evidence.
And why behold you the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?
On reading this headline in The Local:
Merkel to meet Putin in January over Ukraine
I wonder whether anyone will shoot them down. However, the earlier headline about the blazing ferry has been improved (Flaming ferry counted 18 German passengers).
In the following, what role was played by Microsoft Word capitalizing words at the beginning of a line?
but maybe the locals can’t read.
On a different subject, there is probably a law against this kind of thing in Germany:
Heston also created his own kind of mince pies, which were OK except they weren’t really mince pies, more like Linzer Torte. They had the tangerine-flavoured sugar too.
In memory of the First World War: children being warned of zeppelins.
If the zeppelins come, keep indoors. Put lights out and keep quiet. British means Pluck.
Apparently it did take a while to develop effective anti-airship measures.