May I have a word about… alpaca owners and other communities

Sometimes, I feel as if I’m a voice crying in the wilderness. It was only last month that I railed against the use of “community” and yet what did I find last week but another egregious example. “Defra needs to convince the alpaca and llama-owning community that TB tests are a necessary evil.” I presume the hapless writer meant owners. And while we are on the increasingly tiresome saga of Geronimo the alpaca, could I make a plea for headline writers to stop using the word “euthanise” to describe the probable fate of the wretched animal? It’s an ugly, prissy word. What’s wrong with “killed” or, at a pinch, “put down”?

On a more edifying note, I would like to offer a hymn of praise to Prof Anthony Harden of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, who, responding to increasingly irritating questions about Covid on Channel 4 News, regretted that he didn’t have a retrospectoscope. What a splendid word, so much better than hindsight. I’d hoped that it was his coinage, but alas no. A retrospectoscope is “a poke at the tendency of doctors to rely on medical devices (ultrasounds, Cat scans, etc) to make diagnoses while jabbing at someone with 20/20 hindsight”, according to one definition. I salute Harden nonetheless.

I’d like to leave you with this: “If our soccer team, headed by a radical group of Leftist Maniacs, wasn’t woke, they would have won the Gold Medal instead of the Bronze. Woke means you lose, everything that is woke goes bad, and our soccer team certainly has.” That’s the considered wisdom of that noted football expert, Donald Trump. As the Premier League gets under way, I hope it’s not too late for him to join the pundits on Match of the Day. Gary Lineker and the Donald. That’s what I call a dream team.

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