Are you in line with current investment procedure?

'WHEN I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."That quote, from Alice Through the Looking Glass, has to be one of my favourites.

'WHEN I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."

That quote, from Alice Through the Looking Glass, has to be one of my favourites. I think of it just about every time I read press releases from local authorities, the NHS, large corporations - any number of powerful organisations.

And it sprung to mind when I came across this sentence in a press statement from Anglian Water, answering my queries about North Walsham's flooding problems:

'If any further works are identified we will put them forward for remedial action in line with our current investment procedure.'


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Now what, exactly, does that mean? Does it say they will spend money putting things right if they find anything wrong? Nope - merely that they will 'put them forward' for action.

And what on earth does 'in line with our current investment procedure,' mean?

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Is AW saying it is investing, or plans to invest, in North Walsham? Nope - it's a slippery, vague little phrase which I just can't pin down. Would any of you care to decipher it for me?

�On the subject of words and their modern usage, let me tell you about an email I got from a north Norfolk care home before Christmas.

They asked if I'd come and take a picture of their 'service users' who had packed shoeboxes with gifts for needy children. I imagine they were referring to their elderly residents.

And a while back I passed the Big Lottery machine in Sainsbury's which had a message on it from Camelot, apologising that it wasn't working due to a 'network communications issue'.

To borrow a Little Britain catchphrase, I think that's a verbose way of saying: 'Computer says 'no''.

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