Errors & Omissions: Labour adds to the collection of notoriously bad slogans

The Labour Party has adopted what may be the worst slogan since the notorious "You're never alone with a Strand", the 1959 copy line that killed the brand of cigarettes it was supposed to promote.

The slogan is "A Future Fair for All". Correspondents to this newspaper's Letters page have had fun imagining what kind of fairground rides one might expect to find at the "future fair". The slogan is difficult to say aloud, which is not good for a slogan. It recalls "free for all", which is not what the Labour Party is supposed to stand for. It is also a surprise to find that a party in power for 13 years can do nothing but point to the future. Finally – and this is where the slogan attracts the attention of the Errors and Omissions pedantry police – "fair for all" is a pleonasm. No system can be fair for some people and not for others. If it is not fair for all, it is not fair at all. "Fair" implies "for all". So logic indicates that you should cut out "for all". But then the slogan is even more cruelly exposed as a platitude.

In denial: A leading article last Saturday criticised Tiger Woods's public apology for his adulteries. The article ended with what was meant to be a concession: "But who could honestly deny that it doesn't make for compelling viewing?" Bob Lowrie has written in to point out that there are too many negatives here. It should read either "But who could honestly say that it doesn't make for compelling viewing?" or "But who could honestly deny that it makes for compelling viewing?"

We have from time to time pointed out similar errors. The verb "deny" seems to be a pitfall for quite a few writers, exposing them to the danger of saying the opposite of what they mean – which is certainly not the thing to do in the last sentence of a leading article.

Who she? Under the heading "Opera hails new sex-change star", a news report last Saturday told the story of Emily (formerly Stefano) de Salvo and her struggle – now successful – to be admitted to a conservatoire, despite an unusual vocal range.

An email comes in from Graham Pointon, who admits to being stricken with incomprehension when he reached the second-last paragraph of the story. Well he might be, as a sentence suddenly begins: "Married with two teenage children, Ricci, who had been a musician and choirmaster at the cathedral for 18 years, was rejected shortly after revealing her plans for a sex-change operation."

What cathedral, and who is this Ricci? Internet research reveals that Luana Ricci is another transgender musician, who had helped Ms de Salvo. Ricci was indeed sacked by Bari Cathedral. Evidently somebody, cutting this story to fit the space, removed the first reference to Ricci but left in a later one. Disaster.

Watch out: "That Argentina was showered with solidarity from its neighbours was hardly a surprise," wrote David Usborne on Thursday, commenting on the row over the Falklands. An unfortunate metaphor; presumably this is what happens when the solidarity hits the fan.

Old English: "Divorce lawyers jostled last night to conject that the Coles could easily 'divorce with dignity', should she apply on the grounds of his unreasonable behaviour and they settle out of court." So said a news story on Wednesday.

Conject? This verb, obviously meaning to make a conjecture, was a new one on me. It turns out to be an old one. The Shorter Oxford dates it from the 18th century in that meaning – and two centuries earlier with the meaning of "plot" (which also sounds like the sort of thing divorce lawyers might get up to). The dictionary marks it as "obsolete". Nothing wrong with that, say I – and congratulations to our reporters for reviving it.

Cliché of the week: "A nine-year-old died and his 18-year-old sister was injured in a frenzied knife attack." That was the opening sentence of a news story last Saturday.

I don't know whether this stuff about frenzied knife attacks is made up by reporters, or solemnly put out by police press officers. ("Oh, yes, I'd definitely say this one was a frenzied attack.") All I know is that it has been worn smooth by familiarity. And did it ever really mean anything? What would a calm knife attack be like?

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
i100(More than you think)
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Executive - Software

£20000 - £25000 per annum + 55,000 OTE + benifits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Software Sa...

Argyll Scott International: 2x Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton; £400p/d

£400 - £420 per day: Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?