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November 21, 2010


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Paul Flynn

I know that no-one under 40 understands gerunds. But Sir David is 59 and should have had a proper education. Possibly, again, he was the victim of a public school.

Kay Tie

"These cuts that the Tories are making to public services will put a lot of people out of work and on to benefits."

The word here is "most". There are an awful lot more people that are coining it via tracker mortgages than those who lost their jobs.

"I don’t return home till nearly 4pm in real terms I’m worse off than this time last year, with paying extra in travelling costs and time involved getting to and from work."

Do you think that you should be immune to what's happening to everyone else just because you work for the state? I've not had a pay rise in three years. Who do I piss and moan to? My employer, who is strapped for cash?


I watch your interview on BBC news 24 this evening. About the comments that lord young made with regards to “that most of the public had not had it so good”.
I thought that what you said was totally right. These cuts that the Tories are making to public services will put a lot of people out of work and on to benefits. They claim they want more people off benefits and in work. How will this work if there are less jobs available?

I work for Royal Mail, my work has been relocated some 35 mile away. I’m now having to get up for work at 4am. I don’t return home till nearly 4pm in real terms I’m worse off than this time last year, with paying extra in travelling costs and time involved getting to and from work.

Thank you for speaking out.

I just wanted to show my support.

Paul Flynn

We did our job on PASC. Sir David was seeking a retirement job paying £100,000 on the basis of his past record as supremo of the Home Office for 5 years. It's an appalling story of failure on prisons, drugs and immigration. He was the only continuous senior person in the Home Office and, while not responsible for policy, was a great influence on it. while not responsible for the combining of two jobs, he tacitly give it legitimacy by applying for the two jobs.


Your grammatical nitpicking was certainly minor Paul, but was most definitively not useful, never mind vital.
If you do mean to say that he has an abominable grasp of English then say so, but be prepared to offer more evidence than one slip in answer to a question,
if on the other hand it was a slip in speech such as we all make from time to time then you need to find some justification to have wasted time on attacking it, do you have some personal animosity towards this man or were you just cranky at not getting the responses you hoped for from him.

You then say he failed on immigration and drugs, he did not make policy on either and you have many times made it clear that the policy on drugs is ludicrous, untenable and impossible to make real progress on, so if he did fail there, you are fully aware that the failure is one of policy and not under his control.
As far as his failure on immigration matters goes, you have not made it clear how you believe he failed, you mention backlog, he put forward the progress made on that particular backlog, that it had been reduced from 450,000 to 100,000 since he took over in 2006 and it was expected to be cleared completely by June of 2011.
Due to the lack of detail I do not know if new backlogs have been created or if you were intending to highlight other areas of failure.
Perhaps if you could have avoided your needless attack on a slip of the tongue in unscripted speech you could have questioned him more closely about it and/or actually explained what you believed the failure was.
Rather than making vague assertions without any detail that you might run the risk of being corrected on.

You should also hope that in future you make no errors in speech yourself and find yourself being attacked for those, rather than being asked the kind of sensible questions that you would hope people would be interested in, relating to your actual performance, plans or ideas.

It is very disappointing to be writing this, I have a generally high opinion of you Paul but in this particular instance
you come close to the situation at the inflatable school,
where the inflatable teacher said to the inflatable student who went on a bit of a spree with a pin, you've let me down, you've let the school down, but worst of all you've let yourself down.

Kay Tie

"No mention on why someone who has failed on immigration and drugs should be rewarded with another job"

Yeah, but how can you possibly succeed with the two most intractable problems created by bad law?

Paul Flynn

The correction of the grammar was a vital but minor part of the cross-examination. You have missed the vital dumbing down of a reform of 1995.
No mention on why someone who has failed on immigration and drugs should be rewarded with another job> These are the important issues.

The Man from the Moses Room

HuwOS puts it in commendably temperate terms.

My take: what a pompous little prat you can be. And what flawed judgement to elect to reproduce such a petulant display

Memo to self: needs to be kept under particular scrutiny


And you are a member of parliament representing a constituency of tens of thousands of people and it does neither you nor us any service pouncing on a minor grammatical misspeak by an employee during a question and answer session, whatever the pay grade of the job.

Assuming that you do not honestly believe that David Normington has a poor command of English and further assuming that you are not seeking to convince us of that either, it was petty and beneath you Paul and it is sad that you are not simply acknowledging that.

We do however all make minor errors in judgement.

You could take a cue from David Normington and simply apologise for your unnecessary pedantry on that issue, as he immediately apologised to you for a misspeak that he was utterly unaware of having made.

We are after all taking your word for it, as he did, that it happened at all.

You need not go so far as an apology as you certainly don't owe one to anyone except perhaps David Normington, but you could at least acknowledge that you were being gratuitously pedantic.

I can only assume that you were in a bad mood at the time and that mood does not seem to have improved since.

Paul Flynn

This blog can be -and has been-corrected. This is a blog free of gerund abuse. SirDavid was applying for a job that pays £100,000. Why not expect decent command of grammar?


"Do you have difficulty differentiating between a verb and a gerund? You misused one in your earlier evidence—

David Normington: Did I?

Paul Flynn: You referred to “me applying” when it should be “my applying”. You couldn’t get a grammar coach in?

David Normington: I apologise for making—"
-Paul Flynn

Nothing more than cheap point scoring, for someone who is on remarkably shaky, often non-existent ground when it comes to errors in language, whether spelling or grammar.
In fact this blog entry is headed with a fairly horrendous misspelling "Maximising syngeries".
That you have at least found common ground with KayTie, in the charming little hamlet of pedantry at sea, may somewhat make up for coming across as a pointless and somewhat ridiculous bully while shifting attention from the perfectly valid points you were trying to make about the roles being kept separate and independent.
Although surely those points that you did labour somewhat would be more appropriately made to the people offering the job and not the person applying for it.

Kay Tie

"Do you have difficulty differentiating between a verb and a gerund?"

Ooo! That's sharp! Criticising grammar mistakes isn't allowed anymore. Didn't you get the memo? It's all about "expressing yourself".

I'm afraid you'll never ever find a secretary in the next generation who knows what a gerund is: English grammar isn't taught any more (not since the 80s).

(By the way, I'm still in a miserable mood today after finding Chistopher Booker hasn't been making up his stories - I don't have kids so this shouldn't affect me but injustice burns me all the same).

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