Crack­ing a joke about Wim­ble­don dress code

The Guardian - - JOURNAL LETTERS -

South­ern rail has a long track record for poor ser­vice. In your re­port (14 July), you say the own­ers have been fined £13.4m. This is a com­pany that was re­warded with a £100m profit last year, so not a par­tic­u­larly oner­ous sanc­tion. Your re­port states that the own­ers of South­ern, Govia Thames­link Rail­ways, will spend the “fine” on a pack­age of im­prove­ments to its fran­chise. A fine to carry out im­prove­ments to your own in­ad­e­quate, but highly prof­itable, ser­vice is not a fine. Pe­ter Ne­gri Nor­wich • Your re­port on the lack of Cus­toms cover at small ports (Small ports left un­vis­ited by Bor­der Force, 13 July) high­lights the folly of cut­ting civil ser­vice num­bers. When I worked in Cus­toms and Ex­cise in the 1970s and 80s we had a num­ber of coast pre­ven­tive men who vis­ited their lo­cal small ports reg­u­larly, gath­er­ing in­tel­li­gence and act­ing as a vis­i­ble de­ter­rent. The Thatcher gov­ern­ment was the first of many to pri­ori­tise short­term fi­nan­cial sav­ing over long-term se­cu­rity and ben­e­fit to the ex­che­quer. Ian Arnott Peter­bor­ough • The ques­tion ask­ing for a semi­colon ac­tu­ally re­quires a colon be­cause it marks a causal con­nec­tion: “Come and see me to­mor­row: I will not have time to see you to­day.” (Straight com­mas lose Sats marks for pri­mary chil­dren, 11 July). Who au­tho­rises th­ese pedants to outscore writ­ers such as Ge­orge Bernard Shaw by turn­ing our lan­guage into a dis­abling ob­sta­cle race? Joan Grif­fiths Lon­don • Re John Davies’ dog who picks up sin­gle cans (Let­ters, 14 July), my springer spaniel Finn not only picks up cans and bot­tles but also drops them into a plas­tic bag to be taken home for re­cy­cling. Vanessa Rick­ett Great Mis­senden, Buckinghamshire • Nice to see that you de­scribed the low­er­ing of a player’s shorts to en­force the Wim­ble­don dress code as a “crack­down” (Re­port, 14 July). Michael Cun­ning­ham Wolver­hamp­ton

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