Mayoral language

We are about to elect a Mayor, and the booklet containing the candidates’ statements has arrived.

Inside the back cover, the working of the alternative vote system to be used in the election is described. The back cover, however, gives a completely different impression. In big letters: “mayor, 51 councillors, You decide”, followed by a telephone number, suggesting that the mayor will be chosen by a popular phone-in as if it were a TV show.

The Returning Officer’s statement contains a misprint.

One candidate’s statement contains a number of infelicities, such as this:

As the leader of the Council for the last two years, the Council has made real improvements to …

or the statement that he was chosen as candidate by his local party “overwhelmingly with over a 50% majority”.

One of the other candidates promises to restore English classes. Perhaps they should be made compulsory for Council employees and officers, and indeed for anyone seeking election.

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About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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One Response to Mayoral language

  1. Mark Wilson says:

    Hi Peter:

    We have just elected one last weekend. Remember, representative democracy requires even illiterate people to have a representative 🙂

    I was not sure of the exact name of the grammatical error you point out. Wikipedia comes to the rescue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dangling_modifier
    I find this a) infuriating and b) extremely common. I am sure I have seen it recently in an American Mathematical Society publication. If even professional logical thinkers can’t express themselves logically, the future looks grim. I may be overstating the case but I strongly feel that sloppy language reflects sloppy thought. Now, can I get a grant to test that hypothesis?

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