Best news of recent times is that war has resumed.
No, not that tragic and brutal one. But after a lull in hostilities, another far older fight can continue.
There is a new leader to take up the cudgels against the barbarians.
The enemy is about to be pursued with renewed vigour.
In short, the Apostrophe Protection Society is back in action.
This warrior against incorrect punctuation, but especially the inexcusable misuse of the apostrophe, has recovered from the retirement of its former leader and a new chairman has picked up the reins.
And Bob McCalden has already promised to continue fighting the good fight — ‘to preserve the correct use of this much-abused punctuation mark.’
Which is great news for grammarians and pedants everywhere.
The naysayers will doubtless say it’s a lost cause, that correctly punctuated English has been trampled irretrievably underfoot by the under-educated masses. Let it be.
Admittedly the police are nowadays encouraged to ignore shoplifting, burglaries and other thieving acts. But that is no reason to allow these daily grammatical crimes and misdemeanours to thrive so prolifically.
The apostrophe is not some fussy needless adornment, as many would have us belief. It is an aid to comprehension. One purpose is to differentiate between the plural and the possessive.
Is the letter demanding that the handlers look for the passenger’s bags or the passengers’ bags?
What was the child’s intention when he wrote, ‘lets eat grandma’? Gruesome or companionable?
There is a difference.
And when you are corresponding in the serious worlds of commerce, finance, law and business it is the absence, presence and positioning of that seemingly innocent little mark that can make all the difference.
And, at times, result in or avoid expensive litigation.
A very un-level playing field
Everyone has their hands out. From needy individuals to vast corporate conglomerates. All are pleading for money.
It is the item most needed yet most lacking in our crumbling society.
The NHS is as good as bankrupt, propped up only by the government’s bottomless money pit, even if much of the cause is down to its own mismanagement
Birmingham City Council, the largest such body in Europe, truly is bankrupt. Others are cued to follow.
High Street enterprises such as Wilko, much loved by the masses nationwide, fold almost overnight unable to find a buyer and adding 12,000 jobs to the steadily mounting scrap heap of the unemployed.
Crumbling schools have ceilings held precariously aloft by metal stanchions while their pupils lose yet more precious hours of education.
Yet the country is awash in money.
Billionaires are created by kicking a globe of inflated leather around a patch of grass. And then have the gall of the uncultured to scream foul-mouthed abuse at far-lesser paid officials who dare to penalise their errors.
Couples with untold wealth waste weeks of precious court time fighting over their ill-gotten riches when they lack the sense to resolve their differences in a civilised (and far less costly) manner.
The whinging millenials (“I’ll never get on the property ladder”) always have money to spare for extortionately-priced concert tickets.
The concept of saving, of not spending unless you have the cash in the bank, is as foreign to them as a barbecue in Ulan Bator.
Oligarchs and sheiks flaunt watches that cost more than a house deposit only to demand non-existent police help when they are ripped from their wrists.
Selfish, uncaring clusters of those with too much unemployed time on their hands bar the way of the masses trying to put in an honest day’s work. Or perhaps get to a hospital appointment, or attend a funeral, or get to a job interview, or simply go about their day without one more needless hassle impeding their way.
Little wonder so many are claiming to be “working from home” (are they truly doing so?) rather than enduring what awaits outside.
Oddly, many thousands more incomers than ever anticipated (and certainly not planned for) are heading our way. Willing to brave the open seas to join the swelling ranks of the homeless, unemployed and undernourished.
Maybe there is some sinister reason yet to be fathomed – an invasion by huddles of black hoodies who scatter to pre-plotted destinations to meld into the landscape and lifestyle of the locals.
Only later, when the signal comes from afar, will they leap forth and reveal themselves as a formidable and unbeatable army of invaders.
We deserve nothing less.