Friday, September 8, 2006

'Comment is free'...but lawyers are expensive

I am starting to assemble a gallery of ludicrous opening sentences in Guardian "Comment is free" blogs.

There was Iain Dale starting his article with a completely invented word - "condundra".

Then there was Ed Vaizey talking about Blair's "gradual defenestration" in his first clause. I am still trying to imagine someone being chucked out of a window gradually.

But Christopher Hitchens today takes the absolute biscuit for "Comment is free" opening sentence blunders.

In fact, "blunder" is too light a term to describe it. "Limited catastrophe" might be more appropriate. First, he makes the basic mistake of calling the Liberal Democrats the "Liberal Democratic party". Then he writes an outrageous statement. "What statement?" - you might well ask. Well, I am not going to repeat it. I like to sleep at night.

Somewhere in the chambers of Sue, Grabbit and Runne I suspect a lawyer is working later than usual for a Friday afternoon.

17:06 update - someone in the Guardian corrected the outrageous sentence referred to above as my blog posting whirled around the internet. If you want to read what was originally written, Stephen Tall, bless him, has been bold enough to quote it on his blog. I notice that the Guardian have also removed a comment at the bottom of Hitchens' posting, which repeated the offending sentence. They have replaced the comment with this remark:

"This comment repeated - and took issue with - a factual error from the original post. It has been removed by CiF administrators following advice from our legal team."

So, even if someone at Sue, Grabbit and Runne wasn't having a late Friday afternoon, it appears that our learned friends in the Guardian were!

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