You would have thought that City types were hard-boiled, armour-plated folk, well used to all the financial vicissitudes that life could throw at them, but no. Just consider these headlines from past week: Bank of England quells market chaos after UK government spooks investors; Core inflation spooks markets; Joules tanks as insolvency talk spooks market. And that’s just a small selection. Quite clearly, City types are a bunch of poltroons. My point, though, is the ubiquity of “spook the market”. I know how hard it is to write punchy headlines, but I’m getting rather bored with this one and would heartily welcome a new variant. Thinking caps on please, fellow hacks.

Wandering around my home town last week, I was struck by a couple of notices. The first, in the window of Holland & Barrett, was advertising for positions as “store colleagues”. Further light was shed on these mysterious entities on its website: “Our stores are the place where we can engage face-to-face with our customers and our skilled, trusted store colleagues are a vital part of our success. Wellness begins with you, start your journey today.” I’m sure they used to be known as shop assistants, but there you go. Job titles today, eh? Still, I’m glad they are going on a journey.

And then I was reading the notices in the register office, one of which began: “If you have a pre-arranged appointment…” I fear that we’re firmly back in the land of “pre-prepared”.

Thanks to correspondent Nick Cook for this cri de coeur: “I am sure you must have featured epicentre in the past. It is now used to emphasise centre, to mean not just the centre but the very centre. These things have nothing to do with earthquakes.” Indeed I have, but its pervasiveness means, I fear, that I lost that battle a long time ago.

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