Promoting a new line in jargon delivery

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My wife has a winning habit of suddenly breaking out of a rapt silence, making an appalled comment on whatever she is reading or watching, and then falling silent again, rather like a space craft which, after weeks of nerve-racking silence, spits out ten seconds of precious but doom-laden information.

My wife has a winning habit of suddenly breaking out of a rapt silence, making an appalled comment on whatever she is reading or watching, and then falling silent again, rather like a space craft which, after weeks of nerve-racking silence, spits out ten seconds of precious but doom-laden information.

From this scrap of data, I have to deduce what she's on about.

"God, she writes appallingly badly!" she said the other day. It was the only thing she had said for some while. She was reading a paper. It was obviously someone in it. Her level of horror suggested it was someone she hadn't read before. Also that it was someone well known. So it was a famous person who hadn't written before ...

"Who writes so badly?" I said.

"Cherie Blair," she said.

Sometimes, I have never heard of the object of her wrath. Two weeks ago, she raised her head from a paper and said: "Is one allowed to send an entire article to Pseud's Corner?" I looked over her shoulder. It was an interview with a designer called Allegra Hicks. She was absolutely right. It all qualified.

But her latest message from space was in reaction to a freshly opened letter.

"How can I give her a reference when I don't know what her job is?"

Apparently, a young woman friend of ours had applied for a job with the Wiltshire County Council, and given my wife as reference. They had sent her a copy of the general description of the post. My wife couldn't understand it. See if you can.

"Statement of Purpose of the Delivery of Youth Work.

"1.1. To promote and deliver a service offering activities and opportunities that enable young people to identify and develop their own potential, understand and organise their responsibilities and evaluate the context in which they live.

"1.2. The above purpose is to be delivered in accordance with the locally determined and approved direction of the Centre/Project."

One thing is certain. Young people are involved. Apart from that ...

"This could cover everything from a youth club to a new boarding school," I said. "Or maybe the Boy Scouts have rebranded themselves again. Actually, it could also be a prospectus for a monastery ..."

"There's another clue on the next page," said my wife. "'To develop and maintain appropriate and effective relationships with and for the benefit of young people, which will enable them to enhance their lives through taking responsibility for their own actions ...' I think it's a marriage guidance council unit for young people. Or perhaps an unmarriage guidance council."

"Certain words recur," I said. "Enable ... develop ... enhance ... potential ... Maybe it's one of those cult things like Scientology."

"Actually," said my wife, "one other word occurs more often than all those. It's 'deliver' and 'delivery'. Look ... 'To promote and deliver a service' ... 'The above purpose is to be delivered' ... 'delivery of youth work' ..."

"How can you deliver a purpose?" I asked.

"And listen to Duty No 7!" she said. "It is 'to prepare adequately for and record the outcomes of each session of delivery'!"

"Ah!" I said. "It's a mini-cab firm run by young people!"

"There is only one way to find out," she said, "and that is to ring our young friend and find out what job she is applying for."

So she rang our friend. "She's applying to work in a drop-in centre for teenagers," said my wife.

"Why didn't they say so, then?" I said.

"I don't know," said my wife, "but I have also noticed the successful applicant must have 'the ability to communicate ideas and information in a comprehensive manner in writing and verbally'."

"She'll be wasted on Wiltshire, then," I said.

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