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Steve McClaren secures 2007 Foot in Mouth award

The only trophy he's ever likely to lift

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Lenny Henry will tonight present the Plain English Campaign's 28th annual awards (pdf) for obfuscation or clarity in our beloved mother tongue.

Former England "coach" Steve McClaren has deservedly secured this year's "Foot in Mouth" trophy for the following insightful analysis of Wayne Rooney: "He is inexperienced, but he's experienced in terms of what he's been through."

McClaren joins Naomi Campbell in the WTF? hall of fame, and regular readers will recall the battling Streatham clotheshorse was last year honoured for the magnificent: "I love England, especially the food. There's nothing I like more than a lovely bowl of pasta."

The Plain English Campaign will also hand out gongs to its "Golden Bull" laureates, who administered English a solid linguistic shoeing this year with the following breathtaking examples of utter nonsense:

Virgin Trains (response to Web User magazine about problems booking online)

Moving forwards, we as Virgin Trains are looking to take ownership of the flow in question to apply our pricing structure, thus resulting in this journey search appearing in the new category-matrix format. The pricing of this particular flow is an issue going back to 1996 and it is not something that we can change until 2008 at the earliest. I hope this makes the situation clear.

UKTV – Dave (Extract from a press release about the launch of same)

With a brief to establish Dave as the home of witty banter and as a refuge from the everyday, the award-winning Red Bee’s innovative and original creative juxtaposes traditional weekend retreat imagery with contemporary talent from the channel’s key content in a humorous and irreverent way to represent the channel’s key brand values.

BAA (Sign in Gatwick Airport)

Passenger shoe repatriation area only

Fastway Couriers (T&Cs on their website)

The Carrier shall not be liable for injury or damage to or destruction or loss of the Goods or any other property arising out of or incidental to or in connection with or occurring during the provision of the Services or for the mis-delivery or nondelivery of the Goods and whether or not caused or contributed to by the default (including negligence) of the Carrier or any agent, servant or officer of the Carrier or any other person entitled to the benefit of these conditions.

Nestlé (Project news report)

"Green Sauces” are an important product group for Buitoni Pesto Basilico. Their quality and flavour profile are enhanced by the basil used in production. However, Buitoni faced sensory profile reproducibility problems due to heterogeneous raw material, challenging the production of uniform quality.

Translink (NI Railways - Sign at Coleraine railway station)

Every Autumn a combination of leaves on the line, atmospheric conditions and prevailing damp conditions lead to a low adhesion between the rail head and the wheel which causes services to be delayed or even cancelled. NI Railways are committed to minimising service delays, where we can, by implementing a comprehensive low adhesion action programme.

Warwickshire Children, Young People and Families Division (from the minutes of the same)

Geoff flagged up that changes will be made to the ways in which the partnerships are assessed this year. The APA will assess all partnership arrangements affecting children, young people and families. In the past the APA was not as important as the JAR but this will be reversed. The JAR is no longer being scored: the scores for the CPA will be the APA score so the score we are given as a result of the APA this year will count to the JAR next year so we need to ensure the best possible APA.

This year’s APA will focus on a review of our CYPP. All current forms of assessment will disappear in 2009 when the CAA (Comprehensive Area Assessment) will be introduced.


In case you're wondering, the Plain English Campaign did manage to find a few examples of bull-free lingo - The Sun, the Beeb's Panorama and Radio 5 Live's Midday News will each receive a round of applause for their straight talking. ®

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