Scotsman’s Readers’ Ombudsman Accused of ‘Environmental Vandalism’

The Scotsman’s deputy editor, Ian Stewart, is to be admired for his honesty, or dare we say it, chutzpah. In his always readable Readers’ Ombudsman. on Mondays, he is prepared to take the stick from readers, and give his honest opinion on their opinions.

And The Scotsman should be given credit for being one of the few organs around which gives readers this chance to voice their complaints – in public.

Yesterday, Ian was getting stick about the grammatical tenor of his column. He explained: “I knew it would happen. Frankly, I am surprised it took this long, but I have been taken to task.

“It is aimed not at the content (which I would have thought the obvious target) but the way it is written. And the allegation is that I am damaging the environment.”

He copies the complaint, from an Anne Gray: “Dear Mr Stewart, I have discovered a new way of saving energy. Stop using unnecessary words in your newspaper articles. The number of times the words ‘and’ and ‘but’ are used to start sentences is amazing. I was taught never to begin a sentence using these words. Imagine the energy saving if you worked by the old rules.

Replies Ian: “I like to think I am as green as the next person. I don’t know what the carbon footprint of this column is but I suspect my rebellious ‘ands’ and ‘buts’ wouldn’t even amount to the nail on the wee toe. And using fewer words would only leave white space.”

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