Mullaney revels in the apostrophe limelight
It’s gone absolutely mental, shrieked Martin Mullaney, apostrophe slayer.
Or, perhaps that should be its gone absolutely mental?
Who knows, and who cares? Certainly not Birmingham City Council.
Moseley councillor Mullaney is on something of a high since his barmy plan to abolish apostrophes went global.
“I’ve even had New Zealand television interviewing me, I’ve been on BBC and Radio Four and had people emailing from America saying I am a disgrace and ought to be shot. That’s a bit rich since they got rid of their apostrophes 100 years ago,” added Mullaney.
For a man who craves publicity, this is like winning the lottery 10 times over. He’s loving it.
Cornered by Iron Angle in the tea room at this week’s full council meeting, Mullaney was keen to show his knowledge of grammar would make a goldfish appear well-read.
A lively discussion ensued about the Gentlemen’s sign on the toilet door. Mullaney suggested the sign ought to read Gentlemens’, which would of course be quite wrong since Gentlemen is already a plural. But then, what do you expect from someone who argues King’s Heath should not have an apostrophe because the village is no longer owned by the King?
Mullaney is frank about his grammar black hole, which he blames on having been “educated” at one of Birmingham’s worst comprehensives in the 70s. Surely he could get some council funding to attend an adult learning course?
You know what it’s like. The new wallpaper goes up, looks great, but then in the cold light of day ... maybe not.
How else to explain the redecoration of Tory city council leader Mike Whitby’s office three times in four years at a cost of £11,000?
Sensing a scandal, Labour asked for an explanation.
The reason that the decorators seem to live in Whitby’s office is all to do with health and safety regulations, apparently.
The first lick of paint went on in October 2004, four months after Whitby took control.
Perhaps he wanted to get rid of former Labour leader Sir Albert Bore’s somewhat utilitarian taste in decor.
Then in September 2006, wouldn’t you just know it, electrical equipment had to be replaced in order to satisfy the health and safety police.
What with all those wires being ripped out, the decorators were quickly on the job again. The cost this time was £6,927.
Then last month, with Whitby off in Kuwait, “electrical and minor cosmetic works” costing £1,644 simply had to be carried out.
Whitby comments that all of the work has been “sensitive to the costs of the public purse while balancing the need to preserve the historical qualities of a listed building which is used to host and welcome some of the world’s most significant investors, politicians and business people”.