Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Erring on the side of semantics

The Home Office refused to apologise yesterday for wrongly labelling 1,500 innocent people as criminals because of errors in the bureau which identifies whether individuals have convictions...
It emerged yesterday that errors in the cross-checking of names had resulted in 1,500 innocent people being wrongly labelled as pornographers, thieves or violent robbers, in some cases resulting in their being turned down for jobs or university places.

"We make no apology for erring on the side of caution. We are talking about the protection of children and vulnerable adults."

Officials falsely labelled 1,500 as criminals
The Guardian, Monday May 22, 2006


Well, I suppose it depends on what you think it means: "to err on the side of caution." To the best of my knowledge, there are currently two definitions in circulation; I leave it to the reader of this page to decide which is the more valid.

Definition provided by an actual dictionary
"If you err on the side of caution when you are deciding what to do, you do the thing that is safe instead of taking a risk."

Definition provided by those tosspots at the Home Office
Delegating tasks of a highly sensitive nature and of potentially significant consequence to a collection of bungling, disinterested cretins from Office Angels or similar.


Dictionary definition obtained from
Although one must allow for some differences in wording, I believe it would be fair to say that this definition corresponds in general intent to most idiomatic dictionaries.


Good use of the word bungling. Not used in polite society enough, I feel. In fact only really used in tabloid newspapers.

Good work chap.

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Listed on BlogShares