Why we neeed good subedtiors and riters

The Guardian has reproduced a strongly worded email which was sent by a senior staff member to subs and writers on the Sunday Express, pointing out mistakes in an edition of the paper. The article is priceless and should be read in full by anyone who cares about language.

"P2 – The lead begins with a name but the surname is not capped up. The stupid phrase 'ahead of' appears three times in the copy. We are then told 'fewer than one in five voters were happy with Brown's premiership'. That means none. The GCSEs story said 'almost six in 10 pupils'. So is that five or four? Voters and pupils don't come in fractions.

P3 – Why wasn't there a drop cap start to the story? Those weekly paper staples 'local residents' and a 'local fan' put in an appearance.

P4 – The splash turn says Maddie was kidnapped. Really? I thought nobody knew what happened to her.

P5 – Someone is described as an 'ex-pat'. At the very least that's amateurish. Look, let's make it really simple; if you don't know what a word means or how it's spelt, don't f***ing use it.

P6 – The caption says 'rail-soaked' instead of rain-soaked.

P9 – The conflict in Georgia provides us with some classic bollocks. What is a 'battle tank'? Does this mean wars now have referees who decide whether or not a tank is allowed to go into battle?"

And so it goes on, right up to: "P84 – Neil Hamilton writes: 'See Venice and die, the saying goes.' Er, no it f***ing doesn't, as our angry reader was quick to tell the editor. Stop writing this drivel and subs, stop letting it through."

I thank Nature's Chief Subeditor, a noble gentleman, for drawing my attention to this article.

Giles Coren has recently had some trouble with the Times subs (strangely, his frustrations erupted in The Guardian, aka The Grauniad, not in his own organ). His Downfall is here (video, but even I watched half of it, admittedly with the sound off).