I've come to the conclusion that they simply don't care anymore. Emailing is largely to blame, but the regular errors I see at work in whole-company emails sent by a department calling itself 'Corporate Communications' are enough to make me weep, or scream, or something. Especially when these people probably have job descriptions specifying 'excellent communication skills' or 'high standard of written English'. I sometimes feel like printing them out, correcting them in red and writing 'You are being paid to communicate clearly. You are not doing your job properly. You are a disgrace' etc etc. Sorry but I'm with Michael Gove here (though not with his idiotic suggestions for appropriate literature).
True to my word I went to see Simon Heffer do his Cheltenham last night. Judging by the demographic of the congregation I reckon that Mr. Heffer was preaching to the converted: Torygraph readers d'un certain age. I almost felt like a teenager again. (By the way, Adam, if you want to feel young again take up bridge). Some of the usual bêtes noires were rounded up and given an outing: I am good, the ubiquitous i-word, pernicious influence of American English, over-use of "like" by the yoof of today, fulminating over "flaunt" and "flout", misuse of modals (i.e. can, may and must) and the like. I probably agreed with every point that Rev. Heffer and the audience made although inexplicably the self-appointed arbiter of good usage did not know the difference between "squad" and "team" despite his keen interest in cricket. We have named (I think) a squad of 16 players for the winter Ashes tour in Australia but only 11 of them will appear in any normal tour match or Test match. You don't need a double first in English from Cambridge to know that. I felt smug. One of the members of the audience suggested that the yoof of today needed more Latin in their lives and recommended that "Kennedy's Latin Primer" should be a set book in schools. I am ahead of the game here as I did Latin as a subsidiary at university and have my copy already. Whether the yoof of today will be captivated by the prospect of learning a dead language (however useful it is for the Romance languages) I dread to think.