It must have seemed like such a good idea at the time. Stephen Pollard, the Daily Express’s departing columnist, decided to have a swipe at the new owner and porn baron Richard Desmond.
Under the auspices of writing a piece on organic farming, Pollard ensured that the first letters of each sentence spelled out the message “f**k you Desmond”.
It reminded Guru of a rebellious school chum who wrote a poem called Falling Under Crimson Kaftans, in much the same vein, and managed to get it published in the school magazine. Oh, how the third-formers laughed.
But getting one over on Mr Wedd, a mean-spirited but essentially harmless English teacher, and ridiculing a rising media tycoon are two quite different things.
Pollard’s schoolboy prank backfired immediately. His new employer, the Times, promptly sacked him, before he had even set foot within the building.
Subtle way to say ‘clear your desk’
Guru has always agreed with the Campaign for Plain English’s drive to abolish business jargon.
This year’s Golden Globe awards for the worst examples of boardroom balderdash focused on the terminology used for sacking people.
Gone are the old euphemisms like “downsizing” and even “rightsizing”, apparently today’s CEOs inexplicably talk about “getting rid of low-hanging fruit”.
The worst offender came from New Zealand, where a CEO treated his staff to a video in which he sensitively explained that his company was fostering a new “family atmosphere” following a recent merger.
But staff became distinctly nervous when he concluded the session with, “Unfortunately, some of the family are going to have to move away from home…”
Snowmen theory left out in the cold
Guru was pleased to see that on the 25th anniversary of the Sex Discrimination Act at least one academic is seriously trying to tackle equality gender issues.
A female academic at Birmingham University has criticised the building of snowmen because she claims they reinforce traditional gender stereotypes that man’s territory is the outdoors.
That should have Daily Mail readers shouting, “It’s political correctness gone mad…”
Firm works in the dark to stamp out smut
Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance decided that it couldn’t wait for the Data Protection Code any longer and invested some cash into F4i, a Welsh company set up to filter filth from the Internet and prevent it being sent to the workplace.
While Deloitte is confident there is a market for this service, it is having problems demonstrating it. Sending porn so that it can be blocked, by way of demonstration, is against the law in the UK. “It is hard for the company to show what it can do,” claimed a spokesman.
It could generate a new training programme for their consultancy arm – how to write a business plan without any sales figures.