There are many common sayings in the English language that really don’t make sense when you really think about them. I’m thinking of ones like:

  • There’s no such thing as a free pair of trousers
  • There’s no point crying over spilled battery acid

Or my personal favourite:

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in a cave plotting a terrorist attack against some ducks.

Oh dear, now I’ve used the phrase “terrorist attack” I’m probably being watched by GCHQ. Looks like I might have to go and hide in an embassy somewhere.

While we’re at it, GCHQ, if in fact that is your real name, I have a bone to pick with you (what a stupid phrase that is, by the way). According to your website:

“GCHQ’s headquarters are in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. We have two much smaller sites; one in Cornwall and one in Yorkshire but most of the c5,300 staff work at the impressive Benhall site located at the entrance to the Regency spa town of Cheltenham.”

This makes no sense, because GCHQ stands for Government Communication Headquarters. So what you’ve basically said is, the Government Communication Headquarters headquarters is in Cheltenham, but there are other Government Communications Headquarters in other locations.

No, you’re not allowed that. You can only have one headquarters. That’s what headquarters means. It’s the one location that is in charge of all the others. If you have other locations, they cannot be called headquarters, they must be called something else (e.g. Government Communications Non-Headquarters or Government Communications Giraffe Underpants – just a couple of entirely reasonable suggestions). Otherwise it’s like a country having 7 capital cities or a child having 9 dads.

I’m scared. Not because you’re spying on us all, but because I assumed that you people were supposed to be clever.

Why do people use language that doesn’t actually make sense?

Don’t even get me started on the whole “Quad Bike” thing. I mean, bike is short for bicycle, which means two wheels. How the hell can something be a four-wheeled two-wheeled vehicle? Okay, I’ll shut up now…

Basically, the world’s all wrong…