Category Archives: Advice

Modern English Usage

It may not be caused by the Corona Virus or the weather or the worries over jobs but it certainly seems to have fuelled the current climate of extreme righteousness over the use of words and phrases.

Man1904As every Grandad will have now discovered some language that was in widespread use when they were at school is not just banned now but is being put on a par with serious crime. And considering how much serious crime goes unpunished it could be argued that wrong-speak is more likely than theft or violence to land the perpetrator in trouble.

The classic example is the … lives matter slogan. If completed with the word black – then it’s fully woke-compliant. If completed with the words white or all – then it’s right-wing, racist and a sacking offence. If completed with some other colour or simply left blank – then it’s either an unfunny joke at best or the same as ‘all’ at worst – depending on the audience.

The British public have a long history of freedom of speech but today the only approved options are repeating the woke-speak slogans or staying silent. Echoes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot …

Viral Threat 2

Five weeks on from Grandad’s last posting and the Wuhan Virus now has a new name – plus has expanded world-wide. In the UK Covid-19 has now claimed 21 lives but that may well have increased even before this posting appears online.

BruegelReaper

Elsewhere in Europe the situation has deteriorated rapidly with worst-case Italy reporting yesterday that 1,016 deaths had been identified as Covid-19 related. And many of these were senior citizens.

If the compounding growth rate of infections continues the next few weeks will see the number of deaths grow every day – claiming mainly the elderly and the already vulnerable. The short-term prospects are to prepare for bad news.

But even if the virus has no direct impact on your friends and family, the financial chaos that is being created almost certainly will.

Take cities like Oxford, Cambridge, York and even Edinburgh that depend upon tourism and overseas students for a large percentage of their turnover. Hotels, restaurants, retailers, airlines, coach and train companies are all going to experience drastic cuts to their incomes. Jobs will go and businesses will fail – even if there is billions in government support. And away from these high profile examples there will still be major disruptions and life-changing events. Take football – where many clubs below the Premier League depend upon gate receipts and local corporate sponsors. If both income streams stop then closure can be the only outcome.

The hope is that the numbers of new infections will start to decline by summer – and allow some of the restrictions to be lifted; so letting trade slowly return. However the UK, along with other major economies, was far from being financially healthy before Covid-19 appeared. This is why we have had such low interest rates – and why the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, cut interest rates to 0.25% before the Budget last week. Quite a way to leave office – tomorrow!

How will this all turn out? Who knows. But Grandad is off to read-up about Spanish Flu and check that his will is still valid …

The Dane-Geld

Some things remain good advice despite the passage of time …

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say:

“We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!”

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (30 Dec 1865 – 18 Jan 1936)

Only the name has changed over time – it was appeasement in the 1930’s and a national divorce bill today.

You Don’t Have Mail

For those of us that have been using e-mail since the 1990’s the prospect of changing a key e-mail address has very little appeal. With decades of accumulated messages, contacts and web site logins any changeover can easily become major task.

man58_160So this month’s announcement that the Tesco.Net service will be closing in June has triggered the need for wholesale changes by everyone still using their service. And, in our particular case, the loss of Tesco.net is the third time that our e-mail provider has closed down; with first Talk21 (British Telecom) and then Beeb.net (BBC) forcing us to look elsewhere for our e-mail.

Back in 2008 the BBC said that Beeb.net just didn’t fit with its core values anymore – i.e. flogging off licence-fee funded content to the rest of the world. And in the case of Tesco the closure of the service seems a minor consideration amongst all their other corporate cut-backs of recent years.

So for those Grandads with ISP contracts that include e-mail services the only problem should the effort needed to make all the changes. But for those wanting to have an e-mail address that is not tied to sticking with their broadband provider the choice is rather limited. The obvious front runner is the Google Gmail service – almost a given if you are also an Android user. But some viable alternatives are Yahoo mail, Microsoft’s Outlook mail or Apple’s iCloud mail. However all of these services are based in the USA so if you want something more local – in either Britain or the EU – then you need to look elsewhere.

One option from a company with a good track record is the GMX free mail service provided by Grandad’s  German Internet service provider; 1and1. But which ever solution you go for you have until 27-Jun-2018 to complete the move. And don’t forget to check if anyone in your contacts list is still using Tesco.net – since it seems that not everyone with an account has been told of the closure!