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Punte e Virgola: The Magic of the Semicolon

This blog tries to reclaim the lost magic and tarnished reputation of the semicolon; our most valuable and flexible punctuational friend, and one this writer has kept in close touch with over the years; even at times when it has been blackballed from polite literary society or – at best – tolerated with hardly concealed suspicion.

Lionel Shriver a few years ago described the semicolon as “beleaguered” and “being eaten alive by the rapacious em-dash”. Why should this be? For my part I can’t understand why the semicolon is not the most popular member of the punctuation fraternity.

Quite literally the semicolon “makes sense”. It brings sense to any sentence where it is used; a subtle half-break to highlight the natural breath-point of the sentence and restore natural rhythm and cadence.

We acknowledge in this blog that the semicolon can be overused, almost a fetish for some writers. That word fetish is a bit theatrical, but I see the point. Here we argue that maybe the pendulum has swung too far the other way and – while avoiding compulsive overuse and sordid linguistic gratification – let’s leave some space in our hearts and minds for this special instrument.

What Makes A Good Policy: Five Watchwords

This blog is about policy.

Now you might wonder why anyone in their right mind would write about policy. What makes a good policy? Nothing, you might say. Policy is boring, it is irrelevant, it is meaningless, it is dry and it is old-fashioned.

To a point I agree. In the digital age what really is the point of writing out a few tired phrases purporting to be “the way things should be done” to sit in a forgotten corner of the web taking up space and interesting no-one.

Nobody reads it, nobody owns it, nobody updates it, nobody tests compliance against it. It is a hostage to fortune at best, a ticking time bomb at worst. It adds no value, it gives no insight, it does not help. Why bother?

The answer to these valid challenges is: this is the way our policy often is – but not the way it needs to be.

The New Senior Managers Regime: A Guide

On 7th March 2016 the new regulatory Senior Managers Regime came into force for the UK banking and insurance sectors.

This Blog is a guide to the banking regime (SMR). Many of the same rules are also included in the insurance version of the regime (SIMR) but we concern ourselves here mainly with the SMR.

The SMR replaces the old ‘Approved Persons Regime’ and is the tool now used by the UK regulators – the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – to assess and approve whether people in key management positions in UK financial firms are ‘Fit and Proper’.

And it reaches far and wide, especially when it starts getting applied to other financial firms (as well as banks and insurance companies) in 2018.

But what does it all really mean and how will it help?

Politics and The English Language: A New Look

George Orwell’s essay Politics and the English Language still resonates with readers today, and was part of the inspiration behind the founding of Prism­-Clarity.

Here we take a new look at this seminal piece and why it is still so relevant.

The argument is that language and politics are inseparable: politics is language and language is politics. Thought corrupts language, and language corrupts thought.

The message is that going back to clear English not only transforms bad writing into good, but helps clean things up more generally.

Maybe in other parts of professional or business life, not just politics. Maybe even in banking.