Bull$hit Bingo and the use of English

I can’t remember if I’ve blogged about this, but I do recall playing it once or twice at ‘offsites’.   And ‘offsite’, is one of the problems.   Most words do carry some sort of descriptive element – one assumes this is the purpose of communication – but a whole breed of new words or phrases either don’t, or are intend to be over complex or somehow convey a higher intellect from the speaker.

Or perhaps just obfuscate.

Generally they make the speaker sound like a plonker and of course an offsite meens a meeting that is held away from the office.   Meeting would work equally well – but it doesn’t sound as flash.

Daily Torygraph readers have had a bit of a thing about this today and I’ll list a few.. plus a few of my own.

Why “Cheers” Instead of Thank-you or Thanks?

When told to “enjoy” reply ” I certainly hope I will or I will not be paying the bill”

The correct reply to have a nice day is “Thank you but I have made other arrangements”

The correct reply for customers asking ‘ Can I get a coffee’ is ” No , this is my job I will get you a coffee”

Use of the word impact instead of affect. Impact is consistent with our increasingly aggressive society.

Obviously there is ‘proactive’ but increasingly I hear the terms ‘going forward’ (a personal favourite:  I hate it) and ‘deliverables’ whats wrong with in the future we will do…..

And a little political one.. quite clever this:   We can understand politicians’ use of
“investment in” as a substitute for “public spending”, but consequently we should recognise the nuances. New Labour uses “investment” for expenditure approved by the Left, such as in the NHS, but expenditure on such as defence assets remains “spending”.
Grow your business—somehow I think expand is probably more correct. (unless you grow cannabis for a living of course)

‘Your call is important to us’.   Answer the damned thing then.

The (very English) mistaken use of the word “appraise or appraised” – meaning to value or assess – but frequently misused to mean “inform or be informed” about, rather than the correct “apprise or apprised”

‘Lessons will be learnt’
Translation :- we messed up and/or cost the taxpayer a lot of money, but, most importantly, got away with it and kept our jobs.

One phrase that really irks me is “this document speaks (or talks) to…”
NO, it doesn’t! This document does not posses the power of speach. It can refer to, or it could reference but it cannot ever speak! The number of times I’ve sat through a presentation and ground my teeth at the continued use of this phrase, so much so that I’ve missed the entire point of the presentation!

Inappropriate use of the word “literally”. As in, “I literally DIED!!”. No, you did not.   Even if others may wish you had.

Oh, and how do you play Bull$hit Bingo?   Easy peasy – and great fun.   Take an A4 sheet of paper and write down lots of poncy consultant speak like Down-select, Strategic, Low hanging fruit, Six Sigma etc. and the first one to hear all of the words and mark up the Bingo sheet stands up and yells Bingo!    As the winner, his prize is then to explain his outburst to the meeting host, which is fun for everyone else, if not for him.

When only the F-word will do….part 1

Gordon Ramsay is famous for it – he even named a TV show after it – but it was Billy Connolly who used it in his act and explained why, for certain situations, only the F-word will do.

You simply cannot convey the same emotion / distress / anger with such banalities as … ”Oh why don’t you just go away!”    Or, as in the picture below… ”What on earth have you children done?!”   ”Wait ’till your father get’s home!!!!”

Road Pricing – the latest

The amount of negative reaction to Government proposals re road pricing must have taken them somewhat by surprise, as the spin doctors had to work overtime to craft a weasily little e-mail response from B.Liar.   Before I post the text of that mail I thought this useful snippet from reader Stephen on why road pricing will happen, would be of interest.

The theory is that road pricing will go ahead because of an EU law to which the Gov’t is party.  This EU directive on electronic toll collections has committed the UK to a system of road charging run from Brussels.

UKIP transport spokesman Mike Nattrass condemned the plans as ‘a disgraceful scheme to spy on people and take their money at the same time.   This government signed up to Directive 2004/52 whcih will ensure the entire road pricing schemes in the EU countries are the same and can be linked to Galileo’

‘The Transport Secretary might say be welcomes a debate, but in reality we have very little choice.   The fact of the matter is that Galileo has to be paid for somehow and, as usual, it is the taxpayer who has to foot the bill for something they were never even asked about.   The British taxpayer has already paid £200 million into it – what a few more million to this government and the EU?’

Mr Nattrass added, ‘Is there no area of life this government and the EU won’t pry into and no area of our pockets they won’t take money from?’

Galileo exists to challenge the (free) American GPS system which is near bankrupt and the only way the EU can afford to fund it is to find ways to pay for it, either out of direct or indirect taxation.   Because our Government supports the project and supports the directive it must either pay directly for it, or pay a licensing fee for using its road pricing facility.

So, the future is worse than we thought.   Additional vehicle taxation is only a matter of time.   Transport Minister Ladyman fended off question quite well on Newsnight but, the one he will not answer is the one we all need to know:  Will we see the removal of fuel duty when road pricing is introduced?

Of course, you already know the answer to that one.   More soon.

Tax Madness

I’ve been bottling this up for a few days:  the proposal from Peter Hain, the UK’s Northern Ireland Secretary, that he thought that City bonuses had created a ‘grotesque’ wealth gap, and suggested that bankers give two thirds of their incentive comp to deprived communities.

Hain told the newspaper that ‘there’s a real problem of people on average incomes feeling there’s a sort of super rich class right at the top. What is it ? Four thousand City workers receiving more than a million pounds each in bonuses. People don’t feel that’s proportionate’. The Minister then suggested that City workers ‘give two-thirds of that £8.8bn (City bonus pot) and invest it in charity or invest it in regeneration schemes for unemployed kids’. Hain continued by threatening that ‘in the interests of the City, particularly if they don’t want to invite attacks for greater regulation or changes in taxation, if they don’t (want to) get into that kind of arena, then they have to show a lead’.

What a complete and utter muppet.

From the ‘Here is the City’ website:

What we really need, of course, is government ministers to have at least a bare minimum of business experience before they take office and comment on issues that affect industry and commerce. And the problem with this lot (our current government) is that they are extremely good at spending our money, but understand very little about how it is made.

Don’t these people realise that unless we remain competitive and enable top performers to earn market rates over here, jobs will be lost as positions relocate overseas. What, then, will happen to all that tax high-earners currently pay to the Treasury ? It will, of course, follow the jobs. But at least there will then be the level playing field our politicians seem to desire – we’ll all be hard-up and poor.

It’s no surprise that, as many of our Ministers seem to be living on another planet, this country continues to go to the dogs. We are already taxed heavily on our salary packages and pensions, pay national insurance, VAT, council tax, congestion charges and a raft of other stealth taxes. Where will it all end ? Perhaps the Government will be happy when we are all living in a chav-like society, doing little or no work and claiming as many benefits as we can. That will certainly be easier that slogging to work every day and trying to make an honest living. But from who will the Government then collect its tax revenues ?

I couldn’t have said it better myself.   I hate to be reminded about the 16.5% income tax in Hong Kong, the lack of VAT, no national insurance, congestion charge etc. etc.  Aiyeeah!   The good old days!

Where does it all go?

Road Pricing – Petition reminder

Noodle sent me a round robin e-mail about this and I thought it timely to remind any readers who have not yet signed up in protest at our control freak governments latest attempt to govern and extort taxes from us.

The petition calls for the Gov’t to abandon it’s plans for road pricing – I’ve already posted my views on this – so I’ll quote from the Petition website and it’s author:

The idea of tracking every vehicle at all times is sinister and wrong. Road pricing is already here with the high level of taxation on fuel. The more you travel – the more tax you pay.

It will be an unfair tax on those who live apart from families and poorer people who will not be able to afford the high monthly costs.

Please Mr Blair – forget about road pricing and concentrate on improving our roads to reduce congestion.

As I write there are over 877,000 names on the petition.  Every one a voter.   Democracy at work folks.   Click here to sign up

Telemarketer revenge

We’ve all endured them.   Cold callers, bringing you the good news of what you’ve won, or will win if you just buy this or that..   Keen to be your new best friend and keep you on the line as long as they can to pitch something to you which is such a good deal.

Now there are many ways to deal with them.   Hanging up is easy but, if you have a little time, you can have a lot more fun.

This link will take you to a site which has one of the best telemarketer prank calls I’ve ever heard.   Enjoy!

Brixton Boy’s Progress

Swapped comments with Brixton Boy who continues his world tour of pubs and is now in Rajasthan in North West India.   It’s a fabulous place and where Shivs and I spent part of our honeymoon (ah, nostalgia!).

This is the Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur, where part of James Bonds Octopussy was shot and where many of the cast stayed.   We were in the room right on the far left looking out over the lake towards Jag Mandir, where some of the scenes were filmed.   An amazing hotel in a unique location.

Brixton Boy did not reveal details of his accommodation, but I expect he was in budget digs, saving his hard earned for beers.   Can’t fault the logic there.