Monday 20 February 2023

Euphemisms in Short Quotes

He now spouts respectably opaque management-speak.
 (Times on Saxondale, 2007. The ex-roadie also opined that "Sometimes it's time to hand in your gun and badge".) 

"Simple" is sometimes a euphemism for a really bad idea. (@Doctrine_Man)

"Disagreeing agreeably" is just agreeing. (@mynnoj)

I've said it before and I'll say it again – "Be kind" is "Shut up" with a pink bow on. (@bar_jen)

Men can have interests and hobbies, women "obsess"(@library_fae)

What’s the difference between assertive and aggressive? Your gender. (@DrProudman)

Gritty can mean something close to grotty. (Anne Treneman)

Hang on who decided that woke people are a brigade and twitter people are a mob?

The term ‘socialising’ actually means drinking heavily, it has emerged. (Daily Mash)

UN staff told to use “military offensive” and “conflict” instead of “invasion” and “war”.
 (Mar 2022)

Educational preparedness is usually code for white middle-class norming(@DrBritWilliams, paraphrase. He prefers the "earnestness" of poor and black students.)

Interesting how all the “free thinkers” have the same opinions on everything. (@Seerutkchawla)

Admin” is often code for “boring tasks”. (@AutisticCallum_)

I think "nuanced" is the "get out of jail" card. It's to academics what "just bants" is to footballers. 

"Complex realities"? "Wildly conflicting claims", more like! (@thames_pilgrim)

'Tough decisions' never seem to involve tax havens, tax avoidance, tax evasion etc. (@RedJohnBounds)

Never forget how much lifting “get over it” does for “get away with it.” (@KirosAuld)

It’s not quite what I had in mind.” Translation: What the bloody H is this? (@SoVeryBritish)

Continuing our deliciously mischievous series by a top celebrity writer. (Daily Mail. Dirt, scandal.)

V.S. Naipaul belongs to the late 20th century triumph of that cult of sophistication which worshipped the artist as a “complex human being” (ie bastard). (James Marriott, Times May 2022)

Absolutely not a Windfall Tax, goodness me no, it's a Non-recurring Opportunity Levy, I'd appreciate your cooperation in this sensitive matter. (@BrynleyHeaven. And a “windfall tax” is a “windfall tax rebate”.)

'It's time we moved on' really does mean 'It's time we pretended this never happened'. (Justin Lewis @WhenIsBirths)

On the day after the Uvalde shooting, Ted Cruz says people shouldn’t “politicize” the event or offer “immediate solutions” – like tightening gun laws. 

"Lazy workers" is a fun way of saying "effective unions which mean people aren't treated like garbage". (@PerthshireMags)

God helps those who help themselves? Sometimes a polite way of saying people shouldn't be so lazy! (Noreen Marshall)

We can vote for non-scary sounding "home rule" as opposed to scary-sounding "independence" as much as we like. (@PeterArnottGlas)

The United Kingdom? There wasn’t a union. There isn’t a union. There is a colonial power and colonies. (@gourockianoutl1)

We need a new narrative about nuclear power. (The Register. As we used to say, “Nuclear power needs a new image”.)

The demand to keep politics out of art is too often a demand for art to conform to conservative politics. (Adam Serwer, The Atlantic, headline)

What many people call “shadow banning,” Twitter executives and employees call “Visibility Filtering”. (@bariweiss)

PSA: If your job advert lists ‘resilience’ as a pre-requisite then there’s a serious problem.  (@lisaharveysmith. They once asked for candidates who were "used to dealing with difficult people".)

Do not ask others to be more resilient if what you mean is to suffer more quietly. (@dremilyanhalt)

More here, and links to the rest.

Euphemisms About Racism in Quotes


Can the “North London” jibes please stop? Every time I hear “North London” I think “Do they mean Jews?”. This government, no matter which of the three prime ministers (so far), have made consistently nasty, personal comments about “lefty lawyers”, tofu, north London etc. (@AdamWagner1) 

As a North East, tofu-eating Londoner I assume when they say "anti-growth alliance, North Londoners or tofu-eaters" what they really mean is 'not Tories'. (@LucilleChip)

He means Islington & Hackney, and it’s a jibe against Labour’s metropolitan LSE-inspired progressive groupthink. (@Sapper_Sailor)

Anyone outside London does not mean Jews, we mean urban elite. Using just London would mean the same. (@treflesg)

This is simply a jibe at Islingtonian champagne socialist types(@agw1437) 

Saying North London is the new way of saying cosmopolitan and yes it means Jews. (@jwbottomley)

I don’t read it this way at all it is very much an Islington jibe and a dig at the Labour Party really being London-centric and not caring about the rest of the country and particularly rural England which of course goes down well in the Tory shires their heartland it’s fair game. (@kaydeelala)

They mean ‘Champagne Socialists’ – Labour MPs who live in gentrified areas of North London – Islington and Primrose Hill – who profess to represent the working class. (@narkyanarchist)

It's not Jews, it's the Liberal Metropolitan Elite(@BrianofBritian) 

I was once asked to present a planting concept for East London to a room of (100% white) critics. Feedback was that international planting ‘didn’t fit the area’ and I ‘should do native wildflowers’. The site was founded by Romans and an immigration epicentre for +2,000 yrs. The idea of field of ‘wildflowers’ (they ironically meant non-native cornfield weeds) was ‘more in keeping with the area’ is not just historically ****ed. It also is predicated on often unconscious ideas of what and who does and does not ‘belong’ in the U.K. That’s before the ‘advice’ to me afterward about how I could make it more ‘fitting’ the ‘British’ ‘genius loci’. And that I had a ‘lot to learn’, not about horticulture (they were all planners and architects) but about Britain. I was born like two miles away from the site. (James Wong) 

"Bring the country together" means "get everyone on board with our racism and fascism". (Dr. Sarah Parcak @indyfromspace)

We had to fight the most uneven fight ever: the leftists at home, the international leftists, the Brussels bureaucrats, the Soros organisations, the international media and ultimately even the Ukrainian president. (Hungarian president Viktor Orban. Someone comments “Just say ‘Jews’, Viktor, this is taking for ever.”)

BTW “systemic racism” doesn’t mean “lots of racists in the system”. It means that even if there were ZERO racists present, the system would still disproportionately harm people of certain races. It’s baffling that lots of educated folks don’t understand this concept. (@THOTcrime)

The church has embarked on conciliation. When we talk of conciliation here we are talking about actually educating thousands of people. (Rwandan Bishop after the civil war and genocide. He meant “educating them that everybody is equal”.)

It is not a coincidence that calls to "globalize the intifada" and to throw out "Zionists" rise in tandem with rhetoric surrounding George Soros, New Yorkers, and "elites". When both sides lose touch with reality, fingers always point in the same direction. (@blakeflayton, 2022)

I’m led to believe a lot of the major slaughterhouses are owned by certain groups of people. (@JudithEvans14 The discussion is about halal meat being sold unlabelled.)

Every villain in The Hardy Boys is “swarthy”. (Dr Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell)

More here, and links to the rest.

Euphemisms about the Law in Quotes

Sean Jones KC

How the Judge describes your submissions versus what the Judge means:

Eloquent: I’m about to find against you.

Careful, meticulous: Way, way too long.

Scholarly: Oh, no – footnotes!

Ambitious: What?

Creative: You’re not as clever as you think you are, you weasel!

Bold: How dare you!

Novel: This is the first time anyone’s been foolish enough to try this on.

Is there anything further? There had better not be.

There is one point which troubles me: Let me explain why you case is a load of old cobblers.

Barrister Max Hardy adds:

Daring: Are you insane?

Concise: At least you haven’t wasted my time.

Simon Myerson KC adds:

Just help me with this: I have identified the irremediable flaw.

Very interesting: utterly irrelevant.

Yes, thank you: You’ve finished.

I have your point: You’ve finished and you’ve lost.

Your counsel has said everything that can be said on your behalf: Immediate custody.

Sean Jones again: 

Counsel’s spirited submissions: He kept talking over me and refused to take my hints that he was making things worse.

Ben Williams adds:

Erudite submissions: Beyond me. 

Spirited submissions: We did not crush your spirit this time, but we are working on it.

Alexander Chandler

Helpful: Helped me realise they were wrong. 

Logical: But wrong. 

Brave: Obviously wrong.

Jamie Jenkins

These all mean "too long": t
horough, extensive,  comprehensive, meticulous, forensic, detailed, full

On Murder, Mystery and My Family, when Sasha Wass says "I think I can help you, Jeremy...", she means "I think I have the facts and arguments that will demolish your objection."

More euphemisms here, and links to the rest.

More Euphemisms about Politics in Quotes

"Offended by" is a weasel-phrase that places the action and responsibility on the person who is on the receiving end of prejudice. 

The word “taxpayer” is almost always right-wing political framing. (@SpringaldJack)

"Mixed results” seems to have become doublespeak for “we are losing seats to ALL SORTS of people.” (@sturdyAlex, post council elections)

She was delivering a fiery manifesto about her undying allegiance to Donald Trump and sharing with great zeal why Jesus wanted her to vote the way she voted. Beneath her Bible references and heavily coded church words I could see it all: a fully ignited fear of terrorists, Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ human beings, and people of color—mixed with some impending sky-is-falling spiritual doom that she believed only the Republican Party or the Second Coming could rescue us from. (

Any country with "people's" or "workers'" anything is working neither for the people nor for the workers. Any country with "democratic" in its name is anything but. (Richard Meredith. Someone adds “popular”.)

The House of Lords has been accused of “pathetic wokery” after staff were told not to use “offensive” terms such as ladies and gentlemen. Staff in the upper chamber have been issued with an “inclusive language guide”:

Manpower: workforce, staffing
Common man: average person
Class: socio-economic status
Manmade: synthetic, artificial

The UK government are world leaders at “looking at”, “working towards” and “focusing on” things. It all translates as “not doing the things”. (@Joanne_Lake)

I notice the conspiracy theorists have latched onto US political analyst John Mearsheimer, who describes himself as a 'realist' historian (a red flag for me – it's like men who say 'well, it's only common sense, isn't it?' before coming out with some truly bonkers opinion). (Liz Williams)

I wonder what Michael Gove means by ‘Christian forgiveness’, because it doesn’t half sound like ‘Let us get away with it’. (Justin Lewis @WhenIsBirths)

'Classical liberal' is a euphemism for 'selfish', isn't it? (@AodhBC)

If the government doesn't do what a certain commentator wants they're ignoring democracy. But if they do something this same commentator doesn't want, they're pandering to the electorate.

China is piecing together a “blacklist” of karaoke songs that contain “harmful content”, it has emerged. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said karaoke must not endanger national unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity, incite ethnic hatred, undermine ethnic unity, promote cults or superstition or violate religious policies. In 2015, the country banned 120 songs from the internet, including Chinese tracks titled “No Money No Friend”, “Don’t Want to Go to School” and “Fart”. (The Week)

Prime Ministers have to make these tough decisions, refresh the team... (Tory pundit on BBC Breakfast. Dominic Raab has been sacked.)

Why aren't we doing face-masks all over the place? We're trying to take a balanced and proportionate approach, slowing down the spread of omicron while we get to the bottom of the exact effect it has. (Boris Johnson, paraphrase)

Guidance Patrol is the main Islamic religious police, or vice squad in the Law Enforcement Force of Islamic Republic of Iran. It was established in 2005, succeeding previously defunct institutions of similar nature.

More here, and links to the rest.

Critical Euphemisms in Quotes


Robbie Millen, The Times, Dec 2021

Daring: A stream of semi-consciousness with no paragraphs or capital letters. Possibly told in one sentence.

Bold and daring: Same as above, but with added swearing.
Lyrical prose: Sunsets are described.
Dazzling prose: Too many adverbs.
Hypnotic prose: Boring.
Unflinching prose: Depressing.

Atmospheric: Nothing happens, no plot.
Propulsive: A lot happens, no atmosphere.

Hallucinatory: The author is on drugs, whole chapters make no sense.
Fragmentary: The author is on drugs, whole chapters make no sense (but at least they’re short).

Addictive: A quick read, but we’re still charging £18.99.
Accomplished: Underwhelming. Fingers crossed the next novel will be better.

High concept: Implausible plot, ignore the clunking prose.
Polyphonic: Too many narrators, confusing.

A sharp-eyed [or fearless] look at humanity: No likeable characters, the author is a sociopath.
A searing exploration of toxic masculinity: No likeable male characters, the author had a bad break-up.

A writer at the top of their game: Past it, old, about to be dropped.
Master storyteller: Writes the same novel every year, too successful to be edited.

A masterclass in storytelling: Formulaic, two-dimensional characters.

A brilliant [or exhilarating or exciting] new voice: All debut writers.
A major new talent: A writer on their second book, the first was ignored.

Epic: Editor was on maternity leave, 200 pages too long.
Immersive: Editor was on maternity leave, 100 pages too long.
Magisterial: Long, boring, pompous. Has footnotes.

Darkly funny (see also full of sly humour): Not funny.
Hilarious (or wickedly funny): Mildly amusing.

Atmospheric world-building: Tolkien rip-off; too much detail. Has maps and silly names.
Steampunk: Author couldn’t be bothered to do the research for a historical novel.

A modern feminist fantasy: Young woman falls in love with a vampire/werewolf/unicorn.
A classic feminist fantasy; Middle-aged woman falls in love with a bear.
Relatable: Over-marketed commercial fiction aimed at twentysomething women. 

Brutally candid: Memoir by an unlikeable author.

Reads like a thriller (see also gripping narrative non-fiction account): Biography or history book with no original research. No index.

An intellectual feat: Deathly prose, but admire the 100 pages of notes. Has index.

Genre-defying Science fiction, but we don’t want it stocked in the SF section of Waterstones.

Long awaited: The author took so long to write this one, no one can remember the previous volume.

Literary sensation: Book was featured on morning TV, we ran ads on the Underground.
Literary phenomenon: Featured on Radio 4, we ran ads on the Underground, still no one bought it.

The year’s most talked about book: The author acts like an idiot on Twitter.

A meditation: Rambling essay, no thesis, stuffed with extraneous, clever-me literary references.

Not for the faint-hearted: Author is obsessed with bodily fluids.

A novel that asks what it means to be... The author has boring, hectoring political views
A brilliant interrogation of... (also a merciless takedown of... and told in blistering prose) See above.

Urgent (or necessary): A book addressing the big political issues of last year, when it was commissioned.

Controversial: The author is not left-wing.

A conversation starter: Buy before the author gets cancelled and it’s withdrawn from sale.

Coming-of-age novel: Character loses virginity.
Personal awakening: Character comes out.

Enchanting (or delightful): Twee story set in a middle-class Mediterranean holiday destination.

Cult classic: Read only by pseuds. Had been out of print for good reasons.

Gothic: There’s an old house in it.

Brims with empathy: Treacly, sentimental.

Overflowing with passion: Unhinged, the author is having a nervous breakdown.

Moving: A minor character dies.
Heartbreaking: A major character dies.
Gut-wrenching: The dog dies.
Heartwarming: The sick kid gets better.

Western media narratives: It’s all lies, lies I tell’ee! Believe these Western Youtube videos instead. (Common among alt med types, says Liz Williams.)

His most personal film yet” is fast becoming shorthand for, “Sorry, mate, but this really needs an edit”. (Times, Kevin Maher, 2021)

In fiction, one’s “blandly admirable” is another’s obnoxious w***er. One’s “sympathetically flawed” is another’s irredeemable a**hole. (@jeannette_ng)

More here, and links to the rest.

Yet More Euphemisms in Quotes

We can't afford a pay rise, but would you be prepared to accept some meaningless platitudes about how much your work is worth? (Cartoonist Fran)

Hey! I'm so glad you reached outI'm actually at capacity / helping someone else who's in crisis /dealing with some personal stuff right now, and I don't think I can hold appropriate space for you.(@diligenda)

The original TikTok video has: We’re moving in different directions in life, I don’t have the capacity to invest in our friendship any longer, I’ve been re-evaluating many areas of my life recently, I don’t want to disappoint your expectations. One commenter even called it “therapy speak”!

China is running out of children, and lifting restrictions. You no longer need a marriage certificate to register a birth. Couples can have unlimited numbers of children. It claims the new rules will “perfect birth registrations" and “strengthen the population service system”.
 ("Streamline", "simplify", "overhaul" and “rationalise” are often used in similar circumstances.) 

Odd isn’t it – when some are faced with a challenge they dislike, it becomes "bullying". But when they are robust in defence of their position, it’s admirable assertiveness. (@SVPhillimore)

CBT: You're wrong for being upset about your oppression and neglected pain. You're over-reacting. Stop it. Mindfulness: You can't control the future. Be in the present. Oh, you're in pain 24/7 including the present? Uh... take a deep breath? (@alanasaltz. It's the same old "Stop feeling sorry for yourself", and "If you stop thinking about it, it will go away".)

"Each week we'll be joined by a special guest star" she announced (TV-speak for "Our ratings have reached rock-bottom"). (Victor Lewis-Smith on the dying days of That’s Life! The programme featured a rubber rhino that jumped on a cake replica of the Foreign Office.)

Is "vicarious embarrassment" a thing to say in English? (when you feel ashamed in someone else’s place) In Dutch we say "plaatsvervangende schaamte". Seems like there's no real common/standard English term for this? (@JuPitch84. We’re not supposed to feel it – we’re supposed to enjoy others’ embarrassment.)

Is 'struggles with empathy' a euphemism for psychopath? (Maria McCann) 

I was called feisty by one colleague whilst another one was whispering “He means scary, he’s being polite”. (@RachelTurnham)

After gay MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle gave a speech about the new housing ombudsperson, Tory MP Jonathan Gullis told him he had a “flair for dramatics” and should “audition for panto”. 
(May 11, 2022) 

The basement of No. 81 was home from July 1934 to the Caravan Club that advertised itself as "London's Greatest Bohemian Rendezvous said to be the most unconventional spot in town" which was code for being gay-friendly. (Mike Iglesias)

Gobsmacked at that picture of PM strutting around a hospital without a mask. (@HumzaYousaf)

The great and the good sermonise about saving the planet while whizzing about in private jets. (The Week)

At low tide creatures are revealed or exposed, depending on whether you are predator or prey. (Autumnwatch)


Nurses, ambulance workers, rail workers, postal workers, teachers are not the enemies of the people. They are the people. (@paddygrant)

Say no to: “girlbossing”, “lean-in” feminism, “inspirational” talks, and nonsense EDI initiatives that reduce the impact of gender inequality to childcare and the number of women on committees(@lrbobrien. Perhaps this is more "narrow redefinition".)

Interpreting someone's mental state incorrectly is very different from not being able to conceive that there is a mental state behind the observable behavior. The former happens to all of us, the latter only to people with neurological disorders within the autism spectrum. (Lisa Zunshine)

If anyone can identify into a category, it no longer exists. (@inmyownfashion2)


In general, do you like material things like luxury clothes and sports cars?
(Yougov survey. What are second-hand clothes and buses made of?)

These aren’t the thoughtless retro shops that we had growing up. Instead, they’re now curated and considered. (Times. Translation: ten times the price. Sought-after “military overpants” go for £98. And somehow this is maaaahvellous. Plus, everything in the past was bad, but stuff in the present, even if pretty much exactly the same, is new, different and wonderful.)

Rishi Sunak boasted of taking money from “deprived urban areas” to help wealthy towns. A leaked video shows the former chancellor saying that Labour “shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas” and that “needed to be undone”. (
New Statesman) 

Boris Johnson believes helping struggling families to pay their bills would be "shovelling" money to appease "bleeding hearts". (Mirror May 2022)

The five-star hotel in Crete where Dominic Raab was spotted describes itself as a "sparkling boutique resort for the privileged and perceptive". (I think this means “expensive”.) (@johnestevens)

This government's "levelling up" mission is looking increasingly like "you may perhaps go up one level if you aren't already wealthy, but don't aim too high", which isn't quite what the manifesto implied. (@SophcoCooper)

We all need to consume, obviously. “Consumerism” is when consumption becomes a religion, when we think it's the main source of our well-being, as we are encouraged to by advertising. (@Petercoville. He admits that the crossover point is a “grey area”.)

An offensive term that I'm seeing over and over is "Handouts". A word resultant of targeted Tory rhetoric to make those in poverty feel deep shame – even in a time of national economic crisis. (@C_Fitz_)

Everyone needs a ‘hand-up’ at some point in their life, that’s what social security is all about. (@herloyalvoice)


"You may have a point there" means "You must be barmy to suggest that".

"We are committed to doing X" means "Not a chance".

"I stand firmly behind..." or "... has my full support" means he'll get the heave-ho before tomorrow morning's Today programme. I particularly like "I stand firmly behind..." because that's the easiest place from which to bury the hatchet in "..."'s back.



Multiple places I'd worked at in NYC had basically fired their senior editors (read, all women over 40) so they could pay younger editors significantly less to do the same jobs. (Camille Loft. To do the same jobs badly, I’d add.)

Must be willing to work in a fast-paced unpredictable high-energy environment.

must be willing to work: underpaid
fast-paced: overly demanding
unpredictable: disorganized
high-energy: life-draining and demoralizing

(@tattudeguyWA. Formerly "used to working with difficult people".)

We don’t “fill jobs” here at Consolidated Tank and Foundry – we offer opportunities for the growth and enrichment of the individual. (Punch, 1965)

More here, and links to the rest.

Saturday 11 February 2023

Writing Tips: Fiction

I've just read a "writing tips" site and it was all about motivation. Go for a run! Get out into nature! Go to the gym!

It also gave some tricks to get yourself writing. "You only need to write three sentences a day!" "Take a blank piece of paper and write the word 'the'!" Or even: "Take a blank piece of paper and cover it with squiggles!" Don't we all use keyboards these days?

The above scenarios seem to be addressed to someone who has not a thought in their head. They want to "write" but don't know what. There was nothing, not a word, about the nitty gritty of writing: avoiding clichés, not mixing metaphors, writing readable sentences

So here's how I wrote my four novels: Which Way Now?, Which Way To...?, We Three and The Fourth Door. (They have young central characters and are a mix of realism and fantasy. They take place from the late 60s to the early 80s.)

I created a file, and threw into it any notes that were relevant. I knew how I wanted the first story to open: with a girl who's just started at a new school, opening a new exercise book and writing about her life instead of Henry VIII. Books one, two and three are her diary. Book four has a different central character, a young man. He has persuaded his flatmates that he is writing a magical-realist novel, but instead tells the story – which is a magical-realist novel. I know, because I was the one writing it.

I carried on throwing notes into the file. I thought up a cast of characters and started creating incidents and scenes. I knew how the story was going to end. I wrote the odd scene as they occurred to me. I worked out motivations. I decided how the characters connected up.

I put the notes in order. Now I had a 30-page synopsis. I suggest you don't start writing the text until you have one of these.

I started writing. I wrote a chapter (1,500-2,000 words) a day. At the end of each chapter, I made a few notes about what would happen in tomorrow's chapter.

Eventually, I had a first draft. I shelved it for a while, then reread it. I rewrote and polished. I realised that in the third book, I had the incidents in the wrong order. WHY was Fabia so upset that she walked out of the pizzeria? Moving the incident to later in the narrative gave her a motive.

Eventually I considered different titles and checked to see if someone else had used my favourite.

There were some scenes I included because I liked them. I just wanted two of the characters to play Scrabble in a tower room while listening to Chopin.

Because all the narrative was "written" by the characters, I didn't have to wonder about an authorial voice. And there was no godlike viewpoint – the characters only knew what they could know. Unless they saw it in a crystal ball. I know, that sounds like cheating.

Every time I finished one of the books, I didn't really know what was going to happen next, or if there'd be another story. But then my imagination got to work and... see above.

Mentoring would-be writers is an industry. Don't take the advice too seriously. And don't discuss your plot with anybody before you write it. Do make sure that nobody else has written your story, if you can.

It helps to choose a genre, and then read a lot of books in that genre. You'll get some ideas about style and structure, and also find out which ideas have been used (or over-used) already. I confess I didn't do this! I tell stories elliptically – they just come out like that. I mean the reader never knows where the story is leading.

Technical knowledge of grammar and style, analysis of structure and genre, are useful. But on the other hand there’s no point trying to bolt together a novel as if you were assembling a kit of parts. You need to care about your characters, and enjoy spending time in the world you have created.

If you want to know about the nuts and bolts of writing, read my other Writing Tips posts. My book A Short Guide to Writing Well gives basic help. And here's a post on writing your memoirs, finding an agent, and possibly getting published.

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Junk Statistics 10

Michel Souris

There are lies, d*mn lies, and... they're not all junk.


From YouGov's post-referendum analysis: The most dramatic split is along the lines of education. 70% of voters whose educational attainment is only GCSE or lower voted to Leave, while 68% of voters with a university degree voted to Remain in the EU.

Brexit benefits:
£200 added to yearly household food bills
4/10 British farms forced to leave crops rotting in fields
£900bn in assets transferred out of the UK
330,000 fewer workers including 4,000 NHS doctors 

£billions trade lost
Empty shelves
Peace under threat in NI
Environment sacrificed
Red tape suffocating businesses
Food rotting in ground/HGVs
100k pigs to be killed
Roaming charges back
Beer shortage

UK exports to the EU are down 36%. (2021-01-16 Now 68%. 2021-02-06)

A more than tenfold rise in the price of cardboard since the start of the pandemic is sparking fears among small British companies that they will be unable to source boxes needed to send out products and parts to customers. Demand from Amazon and other online sellers, alongside disruption at the border and stockpiling caused by Brexit, has led to a national cardboard shortage. (

Stats prove that 50% of Brexit voters were comfortably off Boomers. Cry of the oppressed my arse. Moan of the elderly right wing middle classes more like. (Attila the Stockbroker. As a Boomer, I voted Remain.)


17 men a day die of alcohol-related health problems.
In the UK, one in five hospital admissions is the result of heavy drinking.

Hospital doctors see 150 women a week who have drunk so much they have put their lives in danger, says the Times. Last year 7,760 women needed treatment for alcoholic liver disease, of which 113 were under 30.

There were 7,423 deaths from alcohol misuse last year - a rise of 20% from 2019, the Office for National Statistics says, and the highest in 20 years. 

Studies have generally found that the more serious the crime or injuries, the more likely alcohol was involved. Fro example, a recent study showed that drinking offenders committed 15% of robberies, 26% of aggravated and simple assaults, and 37% of rapes and sexual assaults. (Greenfeld 1998, quoted in

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcohol is a factor in 40% of violent crimes. ( Both via @HamaramaDD)

Prohibition lasted for 13 years, but the reduction in alcohol consumption it induced lasted for around 70 years.

In France, average alcohol consumption has declined by 75% since the 1960s. 


Liz Truss in her first Tory conference speech reminded people she was the first British PM to come from a comprehensive school.
Theresa May (private school, then from age 13 a state school)
Gordon Brown (state school)
John Major (state school)
Margaret Thatcher (state school)
James Callaghan (state school)
Harold Wilson (state school)
Edward Heath (state school)
Someone points out that most of the above went to grammar schools, not comprehensives.

Just 7% of Brits are privately educated yet 74% of the new cabinet are privately educated. (@Taj_Ali1)


There are normally three dog fatalities a year – last year there were 10.
Eight people a year are killed by cows, usually dog walkers. 

1,500+ dogs have been stolen during lockdown. (Policewoman on Countryfile)

The exotic pet trade is worth £15bn a year. People order sloths because they see sloth videos on the internet. (Via Simon Reeve)

EU states import around 4,000 tons of frogs’ legs every year, the limbs of as many as 200m frogs. (The Week. This is causing extinctions in parts of Asia and Eastern Europe.)

The UK imported 325 non-ivory elephant parts over the past 10 years, including 173 skins, 84 feet, 47 ears and 21 tails. Over 3/4 of the elephant parts imported were hunting trophies, with Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe being the most common countries of origin. (Guardian. The CITES ivory ban doesn’t mention other body parts.)

There are more trees on earth than stars in the Milky Way and even more neutrinos have passed through you while you read this. (@martinmbauer)


4% of women support gender-neutral toilets.

30% of women have said that they would give one year of their life to achieve their perfect body in shape and weight. 

98% of sexual assault is by men, women are 84% of the victims. 

Males were convicted of the vast majority of homicides at 89.5% of offenders, 98.9% of those arrested for rape, 79.7% of those arrested for offenses against family & children. (@g_lamarche)

Pictures by male artists sell for huge amounts more than pictures by women.

Women talk less than men, but men perceive equal speech division as women dominating conversations. (@cursesinvogue)

Around the world, women produce up to 80% of the food, despite globally owning just 20% of the land. (@Botanygeek James Wong)

Even in the US, with norms of monogamy that mean most adults are married at some point (two-thirds of American adults are married or cohabitating with a partner at any given moment), 18% of men over 55 do not have children, as opposed to 15% of women at that age. ( And marriage was going to disappear by about 1973, wasn’t it?)

The ‘norm’ of mum, dad and 2.5 kids is becoming less and less typical. (It's been said every year for the past 50.)

Fewer same-sex couples are getting married than ever before, says The Week 11 Aug 2022, even though marriage lowers your blood-sugar levels.

According to brokers Hargreaves Lansdown, the cost of living premium for being single comes in at an average £860 a month, factoring in typical expenses from rent and energy bills to groceries, wifi and TV subscriptions.
 (Guardian, 2023. Now add that up over a lifetime.)

Single adults make less money than those with partners, study finds. (Bloomberg, 2021)

Study from the University of Michigan shows that having a husband creates an extra seven hours of extra housework a week for women. (@g_lamarche)

Ofsted did not find that nine in 10 girls experience sexist name-calling or are sent explicit videos, as was widely reported. However, the evidence we have does suggest that sexual harassment and abuse are common in schools. (

What are the factors behind a 73% drop in teenage pregnancies in Ireland? Well, what do you know, better sex education and access to contraceptives. (@MaryMcAuliffe4)

Abortion in the US has dropped to record lows – lowest since abortion became legal in 1973. 

Teen pregnancy is the No. 1 cause of death for teen girls worldwide. (

Females underwent 92% of all procedures recorded by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons in 2018. (Times)

Women’s median hourly rate on average 10.2% less than men’s, compared with 9.3% in 2018. (Guardian, which suggests that the pay gap is still there, and widening.)

160 women and girls were killed in Canada in 2020. That's one every 2 and a half days. So, that's 160 women and girls. 0 trans people. (@dinahbrand2)

The best available figures show that in Europe trans people are 50% less likely to be murdered than the rest of the population- there is less than one per year in the UK – while somewhere between 160 and 180 women per year are violently killed. (

Between 5% and 9% of trans have surgery. So it's between 91 and 93% that don't have surgery. (Via @roche_toni)

A letter to the BBC complaining about a “transphobic” article was signed by 16,000 people. (A check of the signatures revealed that they included threats, racism, a “Michel Souris” from Florida, and many who couldn’t be verified.)

75% of detransitioners don't go back to their clinicians. The 1% number is extremely outdated and refers to old studies on surgical regret only (not detransition) that don't reflect the current cohort of transitioners, some of which had more than 50% loss to follow-up. (@somenuancepls)

Don't trust this one: "6% of people are intersex and that 89% of trans people have considered taking their own life." 

More than 99% of live births are simply XX female and XY male. (@deekayzomb who seems to know what they’re talking about)

The Tavistock’s QC, Fenella Morris, [said] that many adults are happily asexual. (Times 2020. She’s a lawyer, not a doctor or statistician. )


Customers are “casting off the trappings of a life in lockdown” with sales of loungewear velour tracksuits, jigsaw puzzles and wall-mounted desks all down, according to data from John Lewis. Sales of soup makers fell by 12% and bread bins were down 42%, in an indication that people are returning to eat lunch outside the home, said The Times. A spokesman for the retail chain said: “We’ve seen a profound shift in shopping behaviour.” (The Week Sept 2022)

A combination of lockdown and Bridgerton have boosted cross-stitch kit sales by 545% at Hobbycraft. (Guardian. That’s HAS boosted, unless you’re Molesworth – the subject of the sentence is "combination".)

1 in 10 homeowners have ditched real lawn for fake grass.

Marks & Spencer announced it would halve the number of outlets that sold suits, as in-store sales of formalwear had fallen by 72%. (2022-03-15)


An article in The Sun claims that since 2018, two thirds of unaccompanied children claiming asylum in the UK were found to be adults. This is false, and is based on a misinterpretation of Home Office statistics. The real figure is around 20%. (

There are more Jewish people in Britain than the official total because people are wary of identifying themselves on official forms. 

The UK population seems to have fallen - by as much as one million - over the last year. Very small numbers of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants - many of whom are deported - do not add to the UK population in any meaningful way. (Otto English)


90% of America thinks the fact that they see more homelessness must mean crime is up (it's not). Meanwhile traffic deaths are increasing at a rate not seen in a century and no one outside of the bike/ped safety world has any idea.

40% of benefits claimants are in work. (BBC)

97% of the people in this country live on 6% of the land, the 94% is mostly owned by the aristocracy, the MOD, and the Royal family. (@the_fbpe)

70% of the land is still owned by the direct descendants of the people who were given it by William the Conqueror. (@JohnBoo85608696)

Many of us are subjected to online abuse almost daily. (Der Spiegel)

More than 75% of planned coal projects have been scrapped since 2015 (and the Paris Agreement). (

13 per cent of the population of Adur and Worthing have never been to the beach. (Worthing Herald)

The average IQ score is 100. Approximately 68% of the world's population falls within the 85-115 range. (IQ Test Academy)

An article in the Sun claims cancel culture has “exploded” as 82% of people “first encountered” it in the past year. Research actually showed that roughly half of people said they had never heard or read the term. (

Of 10,000 university speaking events, six were cancelled: four due to defective paperwork, one because the speaker was a conman pyramid seller, and one because the speaker was Jeremy Corbyn – his rally moved to a larger venue. (Going the rounds 2021-02-19.) 

The latest figures from the Vatican show that there are 300,000 fewer nuns and priests in religious orders than there were 40 years ago, with a marked decline in Europe, the US and Oceania. (2021-03-02)

Seat belts in cars may have saved about 16,000 lives per year, and motorcyclists' helmets may have saved around 2,000 per year. (Via Richard Thompson)

Innocent smoothies contain 30% more sugar than a can of Coke. That is a fact. (@JamesUnfettered)

More here, and links to the rest.

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Syndromes We Don't Have a Name For 8

More trouble than it’s worth.
Demonising the poor.
Waiting in the wings.

Learned helplessness.
Diminishing returns.

If this is victory, give me defeat.
I’ll always be young.
Missing the point by miles.

Halo, ripple, butterfly, domino effects.
The mean millionaire. 
We are us because they are them. 

When the end came, it was swift.
Your therapy client is cleverer than you

Reading too much into a situation.
Murderer joins in hunt for missing victim. 

Libertarian wolf in liberal sheep’s clothing.
Place becomes a museum of itself (Rowsley flour mill, Montmartre).

Exchanging one prison for another.
We all disagree with HER even if she says the sun rises every day.

Delusion of young people that they invented everything.
Use your child to move up the class ladder – or assimilate. 

Grands travaux inutiles (“iconic” structures).
“Oh no, you're not autistic because <reasons>.”

Dressing your children in very old-fashioned clothes (Rees-Mogg, the Royals).
Not realising that everyone has been willing you to retire for years. 

The self-educated person who gets words and names slightly wrong – and won’t be told.

Change an institution’s name and imagine you’ve changed the organisation.

Shut down an initiative to save money. A few years later, with a big splash, launch another initiative to do the same thing, under a different name.

The commercial imitation of an ethnic dish is much nicer than the real thing.

Someone calling you crazy after they fail to manipulate you. (@MindTendencies2)

And then I realised that the organisation was run by a secretive inner circle...

Those who are congenitally suspicious of scientific authority. (Observer)

Persistence of big game hunters, grouse shoots and deer stalking.

A single woman received a gift from married friends – it was a foot spa.

The “opinion poll” that attempts to plant ideas or sell you something.

Blaming your therapy client for the fact that your therapy hasn’t helped them.

You try growing tea in Europe or America, but it’s cheaper to import it from Asia.

Religious ritual as tourist destination (Indian temples). 

I’ve got kids but I’m still an individual, not like those other mothers. (And others on this template.)

More here, and links to the rest.