This week’s letters
PC take lacks literary virtue
So we’re not allowed to quote from acknowledged works of literature, nor
from the OED or similar dictionary (Letters, 3 September)?
The term ‘bastard’ has several meanings, only one of which relates to the
marital status of a child’s parents. My edition of Webster’s defines bastard as
follows: Bastard n. 1. An illegitimate child. 2. Something of irregular or
inferior origin, or form. 3. Slang. A mean or disagreeable person.
My belief is that the usage in reference to ITV Digital probably falls
within the range of the second meaning given above. As such, it is a valid and
perfectly correct use of English and in no way derogative to a child or its
The reporting of Pat Bottrill’s reference has been selective to the point of
it being next to impossible to know the full context of the comment without
actually having been present and hearing the exchanges.
I feel there is far too much concentration on what might be understood by a
few about a particular statement. We should concentrate on the reasons for making
such statements in the first place.
My view is that there is no place for political correctness in any form.
Language evolves, slowly, but it should never be hijacked for reasons of
political gain or expediency.
Technical author, Zuken Ltd
E-mail abuse is damaging firms
Either intentionally, or just through a creeping acceptance, employees are
taking their bosses for the ride of their lives. In every single company, a
large percentage of e-mail use is non-work related (News, 3 September).
The problem has now reached epidemic proportions, with e-mail abuse
affecting staff productivity and company profitability. Companies should not
believe that they are protected just because they are using content filtering
and blocking software to police e-mail usage. While these security controls are
a positive first step, they don’t go nearly far enough.
This filtering and blocking software at an organisation’s perimeter can only
track e-mails as they enter and leave a company. Employees know, however, that
their internal, non-work related e-mails go unchecked.
Employees enjoy the challenge of trying to beat filtering and blocking tools
and it is far too easy for them to find ways around it. Smart users have now
started embedding inappropriate content into Word, PowerPoint and Excel
documents, conning the perimeter software into believing they are sending
What’s needed now is non-invasive management of all e-mails to track
employee usage without compromising privacy.
Employers must act to stem the flow of staff stealing time.
Chief executive, Waterford Technology
Cannabis use is breaking the law
Cannabis use among staff is still an arrestable offence. The Home Office
never intended to make it non-arrestable when it reclassified the drug, as the
article ‘Clear cannabis policies needed at work’ claims (News, 3 September).
Possession of cannabis or any other similar drug is still illegal. There are
moves by some – not all – police forces to give verbal warnings initially,
rather like a disciplinary procedure, which if ignored will lead to arrest.
HRD manager, Calderdale & Kirklees Careers Ltd
Blended learning can be beneficial
I agree with Martyn Sloman wholeheartedly that blended learning as a concept
is not new (Opinion, 20 August).
But I applaud what I perceive as real blended learning for its renewed focus
on learners and how they acquire knowledge and perfect skills.
While technology has become a cure-all for the training challenges we face
over the past 10 years, we should not be using it for technology’s sake.
It should be used, where appropriate, to enhance the blended or integrated
learning experience. Give learners a quality programme based on educational
excellence, and both the individuals and their firms will rapidly realise the
Chief educator, QA