According to The Mirror – undoubtedly an acknowledged authority on the subject – there are 3.1 million rats in British cities. That means that, typically, city dwellers are never further away from a rat than 164 feet. This substantially extends humans’ zone of personal space, where rats are concerned, from the commonly held but now erroneous belief that humans are never further than six feet from a rat.


However, this potentially good news needs to be juxtaposed with a recent report in the Daily Mail that ‘thinking outside the box’ and ‘going forward’ (as in ‘we must consider our sales strategy going forward’) have been voted the most hated examples of current management speak. Apparently, ‘let’s touch base’ came third in the poll of 2,000 managers.


The survey found that such jargon is used in two-thirds of offices – although some 25 per cent of managers consider it a ‘pointless irritation’. Nonetheless, they continue to indulge in this pointless and pretentious pointless persiflage – no doubt under peer pressure and with the justification that these phrases are in common usage.


At least you know where you are with a real rat.