I FIND it interesting just how mangled our written language can become.

You would have thought by now, there would have been some success in the campaign for plain English.

Not so, it would appear.

These two gems passed over my desk recently.

Firstly from Warrington Borough Council: “To conserve the historic street pattern and to increase pedestrian permeability and connectivity, it is proposed to deliver a more pedestrian friendly public realm scheme within the area.

“The proposals will improve both vehicular and pedestrian linkages and facilities allowing for increased legibility within the Cultural Quarter.”

As one observer questioned: What exactly does this mean?

And this one: “Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is worried that, given the proximity of the two junctions, the frequency of HGV movements would slow the speed at which appliances can egress from the fire station quickly and safely – consequently causing a risk to life.”

You have to ask if there is a better, simpler, clearer way of making these statements but I will concede where official bodies are concerned, there is a need for terminological exactitude which is one of the reasons why councils and the like drop into this rather convoluted way of writing.

But there is no such excuse for my next example that was sent on behalf of Manchester brewery JW Lees which, by all accounts, has had a bit of a makeover ‘resulting in best sellers Bitter and Manchester Pale Ale (MPA) taking on a dramatic new look’.

I was happy to hear the ‘core range’ will be expanded to include ‘Manchester Craft Lager’ in November, ‘Stout’ in January and ‘Gold’ in March and that John Willie’s premium bitter will become Founder’s.

But then we were presenting with this gem of the English language from the ‘creative partner’ at the agency responsible for the makeover: “Our solution was a bold typographic identity that eschewed a restricted family of fonts usually associated with an identity system, in favour of a graphic approach that achieved consistency through deliberate diversity.

“Our font choices were wide and varied, many borne of the Victorian era, but their composition flexes to suit the beer, a moment in time, or a story.”

I wonder if a ‘bold typographic identity that eschews a restricted family of fonts’ will actually make the beer taste better as it ‘flexes to suit a moment in time’.

Sometimes, all you can do is shake your head and smile.

  •  Sometimes I’m surprised when other people find something surprising.

Last week we had the ‘shock’ revelation that most of the country’s speed cameras don’t actually work.

This didn’t come as a surprise to me in the slightest.

I thought it was common knowledge that in Warrington only some of the permanent cameras actually had film in them (this was before the digital age) and there was a sort of speed camera rota in place throughout Cheshire.

And I thought it was common knowledge that sometimes speed cameras flashed at speeding drivers even though they weren’t set up to record anything.

  •  Hats off to the marketing team at Greggs the Bakers.

Who would have thought that replacing the baby Jesus in a nativity scene would cause so much outrage?

Well, just about everyone really given that outrage is the default setting on social media.

After the chief executive of the Freedom Association, a rightwing pressure group, claimed the advert was ‘sick’ and that the retailer would ‘never dare’ insult other religions and the UK Evangelical Alliance strongly criticised the baker, saying it was a gimmick’, Greggs apologised but said it wasn’t going to replace the offending £24 advent calendar.

As the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.