back to article 'Dear Mr F*ckingjoking': UK PM Theresa May's mass marketing missive misses mark

Britain's ruling Conservative Party was today forced to apologise to an elderly couple that received a letter, signed from the PM, addressed to a Mr Youmustbe F*ckingjoking. The letter was posted on Twitter this week by Laura McCormack, who said it had been passed to her by her neighbours. Trying to argue they can run the …

  1. ArrZarr Silver badge
    Happy

    I think I speak for everybody when I say...

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    1. B83
      Happy

      Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

      Speaking for everyone, your not F*ckingJ*king there!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

        "you're"

        1. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

          On balance, I think the incorrect use of "your" vs "you're" by the previous poster is slightly less of an issue than the party in power not only getting someone's name wrong in a mail out, but so massively and offensively wrong.

          Mind you, this is the same party that got confused about where they were a couple of weeks back.

          1. The Nazz Silver badge

            Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

            Is this an example of why our country is going down the pan, rapidly?

            What is so offensive about such a letter? Obviously, as the article alludes to, some miscreant has entered those details for a laugh. If i received it, i'd have a laugh and put it in the bin.

            And is the recipient the only one to receive such a letter? If so then maybe it was targetted and there could be further interesting developments afoot.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. Lysenko

                Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

                the offensive bit is realizing that your taxes likely paid for it

                Political party begging letters funded by taxes? They'd be eaten alive by the press and opposition. This sort of junk mail is paid for by prior victims and corrupt payments political donations.

              2. Jedit
                Mushroom

                "your tax dollars paid for something"

                Being British, our tax DOLLARS didn't pay for anything. However much Theresa May wants to help Trump find his dick, we're not the 51st state yet.

              3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

                ffensive bit is realizing that your taxes likely paid for it

                Firstly, this is the UK and we don't have "tax dollars".

                Secondly, this is the UK and here political parties are forbidden from spending government money on their own political campaigns (which is why there was such a fuss about it in the last elections).

                So, in conclusion, kindly shove off back to your capitalist paradise on the wrong side of the Atlantic.

              4. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

                This was a request for funding from a political party no tax pounds were wasted in the execution of this fiasco.

            2. VinceH Silver badge

              Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

              "What is so offensive about such a letter?"

              To you - you say you'd laugh about it if it had been sent to you - it's probably not offensive.

              I, too, would laugh about it. I wouldn't personally find it offensive if I was the recipient. (Though I would be certain to put it online for all to see).

              However, it wasn't either of us that received it. It was an elderly couple who, and I quote, "were more than a little upset to be addressed in this manner"

              That's what makes it offensive - it offended the couple it was sent to.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

                > That's what makes it offensive - it offended the couple it was sent to.

                The letter was sent out like that because it was populated with fields from a database. The database entry in turn came from someone entering data into a form. Most likely the form was someone registering for a free web service, or entering an online competition or something. It could have been one of the couple themselves.

                The "bug" is firstly that websites accept and record name and address data with no way to validate it; and secondly that they sell on this data to third parties.

                I don't have much sympathy for the Conservative party here. Around election time I frequently get texts from the Labour party asking me to vote for them. I have never, ever supported the Labour party, and certainly never given them my mobile phone number. I have complained in writing several times, and never had so much as an acknowledgement.

                Clearly both parties are just buying up mailing lists from dubious sources and spamming the recipients. Will the GDPR make any difference? I doubt it. Politicians write the laws, they don't abide by them.

                1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                  Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

                  I frequently get texts from the Labour party asking me to vote for them

                  Register with the mobile preferences site and indicate that you don't want to be spammed. When spammed, raise with the TPS service and national newspapers.

                  Make enough fuss and you'll get some action plus a grovelling apology.

                  Here's a thought - does a mobile number qualify as personal data under GDPR? If so, I forsee some fun times ahead..

    2. JakeMS Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

      I think if I received this letter, I would have laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

      This is an epic screw up! I mean, how does that even happen?! Hilarious!

      However, I've never received any letters from politicians, with the exception of "please vote for me" leaflets (everyone gets those). I'm not important enough.

      Nice job Theresa, this might just get me to support your campaign if you send me one of those letters too! Preferable with more offensive language in it. Show us you're human!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

        No problem, just post ur address here and we can rectify that for you...do you have any balanced and reasonable views...if so it'll be a Tory writing to you via your new alias to be advised on the letter.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

          I have worked with systems that do this auto mailing and you’ll all be disappointed to know that the receiver of the letter probably caused the problem himself.

          So many people do this, when they are annoyed at a web form will fill in some words like these to try and express their annoyance without realising that nobody will ever see it. In some cases the form is still associated with a profile and so the mailing finds it way out with the words on it through automated systems.

          We had software to catch most of them and it was interesting to see what some people put into web forms.

          1. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

            Your comment displays an attitude not uncommon in those who don't understand (perhaps never having even considered) the ethical issues connected with using computers to save yourself trouble.

            If you ask people to fill in a form with details to which you are not entitled, mperhaps as a sequel to some impertinent message, and you then fail to read what they have written; and then you use that data unquestioningly for a mail merge; you are a bloody fool.

            And lazy.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

              If you ask people to fill in a form with details to which you are not entitled, mperhaps as a sequel to some impertinent message, and you then fail to read what they have written; and then you use that data unquestioningly for a mail merge; you are a bloody fool.

              And lazy.

              Your comment displays a lack of knowledge of this process and a lazy approach to considering it. People simply do not sit and read 10s or 100s of thousands of form data entry for this kind of activity, that would be ridiculous. There is software that is supposed to screen out this stuff but it's not perfect.

      2. Anonymous Blowhard

        Re: I think I speak for everybody when I say...

        "This is an epic screw up! I mean, how does that even happen?! "

        This reminds me of when National Westminster Bank sent letters to some of its most wealthy customers with the salutation Dear Rich Bastard...

  2. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Syria

    And people trust this lot to not confuse Assad with Asda.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Syria

      Breaking News

      Asda has withdrawn all Damascus Beef products from their shelves as a precaution.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Syria

        "Asda has withdrawn all Damascus Beef products from their shelves as a precaution."

        Does this mean the road to Damascus is closed too?

        1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

          "Does this mean the road to Damascus is closed too?"

          I'm sure the Israelis could open it in less than a week.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Syria

      It's easy, one is a tyrannical entity inflicting suffering on people and the other is Assad.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Syria

        @Shadmeister; What's up with that faux-chummy habit of formatting and signing every minor comment you make when you know as well as we do that your name appears above the message anyway?

        Wouldn't be a tedious Bombastic Bob-style gimmick to make your comment stand out from the rest of us plebs and build up a personal "brand" would it?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Cartimand

        Re: Syria

        "It's for the National Association for Dyslexics."

        When my doctor told me my dyslexia could be cured, it was music to my arse...

    4. GIRZiM

      ASDA Bomb Run

      I can't decide whether that title sounds like punk band, one of their 'songs' or a videogame for suicide bombers but...

      Do you mean the government is going to bomb ASDA?

      OMG!

    5. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Syria

      And people trust this lot to not confuse Assad with Asda.

      A third party mailing company on a business park in a nothing provincial town somewhere.

  3. TRT Silver badge

    They're working on this bit...

    "And of course you only have to go onto a party’s website or walk near a local campaign group to be inundated with requests for your personal information."

    If they get their way, you will no longer need to visit the website or take a walk or, for that matter, be inundated with requests for your personal information - they'll be able to collect it without interrupting your day whatsoever, not even to tell you that they've done it.

    1. AS1
      Trollface

      Re: They're working on this bit...

      It shows just how important it is to collect data on non-users "for security".

      I mean, were the real recipient's details on the non-mailing list, it would be trivial to cross-check false details before being transferred to the mailing list.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: They're working on this bit...

      I find stories like this reassuring.

      Precisely because it means that the much-vaunted data scooping apparatus... is either still pretty crap, really, or it's kept secure enough that the party in government can't access it.

      Either way, that's a slight comfort.

  4. Alister Silver badge

    So where's the one addressed to:

    Mr Whydontyou Gofuckyourself

    27 Hawthorn Drive

    Little Whinging

    Surrey

    GU21 6FU

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      In the Royal Mail National Returns Centre in Belfast.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Alister; "Whydontyou Gofuckyourself"

      School holidays would have been more interesting if they'd used *that* as the theme tune instead.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Why did they bother?

        School holidays would have been more interesting if they'd used *that* as the theme tune instead.

        Why Don't You? or Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go Out and Do Something Less Boring Instead?

        Well, I always followed the instruction, even if it were pissing down. Anything better than watching that dull mindless drivel of a programme....

        The Anglia TV logo was more entertaining....

        1. Tim99 Silver badge

          Re: Why did they bother?

          @Teiwaz

          Thanks for reminding me. I remember my father tuning our TV onto a different channel from the BBC, so we could watch Anglia TV starting. Now I feel really old...

        2. GIRZiM

          Re: Why did they bother?

          That makes two of us!

          But I reckon I might've stayed to watch Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set And Go Fuck Yourself Instead?

    3. Michel Carroll

      GU21 isn't Little Whinging, it's W*king

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "GU21 isn't Little Whinging, it's W*king"

        Oh, I thought it was a lightbulb!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You're short a star.

    4. The Nazz Silver badge

      re Alister

      I forwarded it to the ex.

      The address is not correct, but who knows, she could be putting it about there too.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mr Whydontyou Gofuckyourself

      27 Hawthorn Drive

      Little Whinging

      Surrey

      GU21 6FU

      Name is right, address is wrong. Use:

      Missenden Rd

      Aylesbury

      HP17 0UZ

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or as has been reported on the news recently:

        Bell End

        Rowley Regis

        B65 9LX

        Sadly, according to the Royal Mail, there don't appear to be any properties numbered between 59 and 79.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear valued donor...

    It says quite a lot about the attitude of the developer that they use an insult as the name placeholder.

    Was this developer a paid, professional contractor? Or someone's kid on 'work experience'? Hard to image that a party volunteer would be so childish, even if unpaid.

    1. MrWibble

      Re: Dear valued donor...

      Surely it's nothing to do with the developer, just someone has signed up on the website (probably to get access to something mundane hidden behind a data slurping "login" screen) using false details.

      Although, it's very unlikely there's a Feckoff Street, in Cocksville getting my spam.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Dear valued donor...

        I address mine to the paper recycling bin at the local tip.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Dear valued donor...

          Nice idea auto-recycling.

        2. Jedit
          Trollface

          "I address mine to the paper recycling bin at the local tip."

          Nice one.

          Back in the days when Freepost reply coupons still existed, when I felt the urge to waste some annoying company's money I'd typically fill out the details as Mr A Hitler, 1 Bunkerstrasse, Berlin on the basis that 1) sending mail to other countries is more expensive and 2) if it somehow actually got through, nobody deserved the deluge of junk mail more than Hitler. Plus, it added the enjoyment of wondering exactly what he would do with a conservatory in an underground shelter.

        3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Dear valued donor...

          I address mine to the paper recycling bin

          Hopefully removing any PII before you do..

          (any such bits on paper spam that we get does into the compost heap..)

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Dear valued donor...

        "Although, it's very unlikely there's a Feckoff Street, in Cocksville getting my spam."

        I'd say 69 Cock Lane gets a lot of mail.

        1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

          Re: Dear valued donor...

          Alas, it's not that long....

        2. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

          Re: Dear valued donor...

          69 Cock Lane

          For what it's worth (i.e. not very much), many years ago I lived in a house on a road called, of all things, "Lovers Lane".(1) The sign at the end was prone to disappearing from time to time, as you can imagine.

          (1) In Medway, Massachusetts, if you must know.

    2. John Lilburne Silver badge

      Re: Dear valued donor...

      "Hard to image that a party volunteer would be so childish, even if unpaid."

      Boris and Mogg spring to mind.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They're professionals

        Volunteers merely aspire to such heights

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Dear valued donor...

      "It says quite a lot about the attitude of the developer that they use an insult as the name placeholder."

      Back in the 1980s, a certain UK bank sent out a large mailmerge (which failed) to high end customers which started with the salutation "Dear Rich Bastard"

      Understandably their attempt to sell a premium product didn't work out so well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dear valued donor...

        A large ish organisation used to keep track of dead people by changing thr surname to Deceased.

        One day someone forgot to apply a filter.

        Thousands of people got a letter to their dead relative....Mrs Deceased on tje envelope....Dear Mavis on the inside.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Dear valued donor...

          Yes, the job of applying the updated mortafioe, along with the TPS filters etc was a disciplinary if forgotten.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Dear valued donor...

            Not Mortafoie, I meant Mortascreen was the death records used to filter out mailings to deceased people.

  6. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Silly Bankers

    Legend had it that back in the 80s a major bank had the idea of targeting their major personal investment clients with directed marketing. The requirement went out to the DP department (this was the 80s) and after testing, the extract/print/mail run was kicked off and everyone was happy ... until the phone calls started coming in.

    Due to lax testing and/or cross-fertilisation of live and test data the bank had sent a letter to each of its top 5% of personal banking clients addressed to, "Dear Rich Bastard".

    I enjoyed life in the 80s.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Silly Bankers

      I heard it as "Dear Filthy Rich Bastard". They also supposedly sent a mortgage mailshot to accounts in the name of children (< 10 years old)*.

      *Carefully worded to protect the guilty.

    2. Rob D. Bronze badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Silly Bankers

      It was NatWest in the 90's (although years later I heard it referred to as Barclays) and we used the anecdote to advise people about why you should usually assume that whatever you actually type in to the computer can find its way to a broader audience than originally intended. So having fun is OK as long as it doesn't interfere with being professional.

      Try https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/dear-rich-bastard/ for that and a few other interesting references.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile somewhere somehow a Mr F*ckingjoking is wondering why he isn't getting his post.

    1. Sanguma

      re: Meanwhile somewhere somehow

      I'm wondering, perhaps Mr F*ckingjoking could be contacted through Miss Chokesondick? I think they're neighbours.

  8. Lee D Silver badge

    I have to say - I moved house recently and do what I always do, went mad with a rubber stamp that says "Not at this address" and then re-posted anything that came through the door for previous residents.

    In the space of 2 months I was down to zero rogue mail, and because of the wonders of electronic banking and billing, I only really get letters about council tax now.

    But... the exception... fecking political marketing. I hate it. Not only did every political party send me crap as soon as I was on the electoral register (despite opting out of the public version), but obviously a previous resident was a donor to one and they sent no end of letters to them. Then they sent someone to my door to "check" - a lady literally holding a list of all the known donors in the area that hadn't responded by the looks of it... Then they started with the same gumpfh but with my name (presumably from the register again, because I never gave it). And I'm still getting crap about local elections now.

    I wouldn't mind, but I've never voted, and am of the belief that if a leaflet through your door changes your political allegiance, or provides you with some critical fact that affects your voting but that you never bothered to find out for yourself, then you probably shouldn't be voting at all anyway.

    Honestly, apart from a council tax summary and crap from local electoral candidates, I get no post whatsoever. Everything else is letterbox-spam and unaddressed (including the local council "newspaper" -two pages, hand-delivered...). This week alone - no less than 8 pieces of paper from various candidates. Stop it. Honestly, just stop. Because you're just giving me more reason NOT to vote for you.

    1. David 18

      @Lee D

      Did a similar thing years ago, but still get between 5 and 10 mailings a month from the evil cult of scientologists to a former resident. We have lived there for over 16 years now.

      They have an office in town, I sometimes wonder what nastiness I could post through their door and stay on the right side of the law....

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        @David 18

        "I sometimes wonder what nastiness I could post through their door and stay on the right side of the law...."

        You could post leaflets that describe your honestly held and genuine beliefs, about what should be done to scientologists for example.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @David 18

          "about what should be done to scientologists for example."

          Well usually the gullible get fleeced. Isn't that punishment enough for unbounded stupidity?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "They have an office in town, I sometimes wonder what nastiness I could post through their door and stay on the right side of the law."

        We used to get mailings for a former tenant from a college he attended. As he was studying for the church it should have been fairly straightforward for them to check the relevant directories for an up-to-date address. When I got fed up with returning them I rang them up and told them that in future I'd keep returning them but there would be a £10 handling charge each time and I'd go to the small claims court if it wasn't paid. They stopped.

      3. Terry 6 Silver badge

        My kids, both young voters, would like election material from local candidates. Especially the younger one, who's only recently eligible .

        OTOH we've lived in this house from before they were born ( so over 20 years) and we still get post for previous residents occasionally.

      4. The Nazz Silver badge

        optional idea

        Save them all up each month. Choose one of them where you're likely to be passing, preferably whilst on foot, and post them all, every single one to that recipient.

        Let them eat 31 "only £22.99 super value meal deals (usually pizza, fries and cola)" whilst they read this months Liberal shite.

        Top tip : filter out any that contain your address.

      5. Mark 85 Silver badge
        Devil

        @David 18 -- Religious Door Knockers

        Simples... fight fire with fire. Go to the local Christian Science Reading Room and get a few of their brochures. Then, just "return the favor" to the Scientologists. I keep a supply of various handouts near the front door (in a drawer) to hand to them when they come knocking. It must work as I haven't had anymore door knockers for a couple of years now. But, I'm sure that will change when the next generation of "spirit filled" youth hit the street.

        1. Sanguma
          Pirate

          Re: @David 18 -- Religious Door Knockers

          You lack imagination. Fill a bucket up with soapy water and step outside just as if you were about to water the garden, just as the religious doorknockers appear down your street, and the likeliehood they'll stops and chats for a wee while, is drastically reduced.

      6. GIRZiM

        Re: I sometimes wonder what nastiness I could post through their door

        Dog turds.

        > and stay on the right side of the law

        As long as they're not flaming dog turds, I think it counts as a civil misdemeanour rather than criminal damage or attempted arson.

      7. 10forcash Bronze badge

        "They have an office in town, I sometimes wonder what nastiness I could post through their door and stay on the right side of the law...."

        Easy, get hold of 'some' signed for labels from a post office (tell 'em you need them for some ebay sales you're going to post later in the week or something)

        fill some envelopes with any old non-identifiable crap, preferably bulked up with bubble wrap so it goes up to the next posting size, address it to your victim, put a 'signed for' label on it but nothing else, pop it in a post box and repeat as required. What will happen is that RM will flag the item as no postage paid, they HAVE to deliver it, but can't until the recipient has paid the missing postage, plus a handling fee, so RM sends out a card advising that there is an item with a fee to pay, but doesn't give any clue as to what it is or where it's from. Most people will allow their curiosity to get the better of them and pay the charges, Virgin Media certainly do - I sent seven 'return to sender' items back to them that way as they refused to stop sending marketing material - not had any from them for well over two years now.....

        Bonus points if you keep a note of the tracking number so you can see if they sign for the item ;-)

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "Virgin Media certainly do - I sent seven 'return to sender' items back to them that way as they refused to stop sending marketing material - not had any from them for well over two years now....."

          This is Eeeevil and I like it, as like you I've been unable to get them to stop even when hitting them with a DPA section 11 notice - the argument they use is that they target the address but not the name, so there's no section11 requirement to comply with.

      8. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "I sometimes wonder what nastiness I could post through their door and stay on the right side of the law...."

        glitter

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "I wouldn't mind, but I've never voted"

      So don't complain about what those who got voted in do or don't do.

      1. Chronos Silver badge
        Stop

        So don't complain about what those who got voted in do or don't do.

        Why? Why should we not complain about the shitty, pre-selected system of "democracy" or the absolute idiots, incompetent arseholes and corrupt greedboxes you elected that we had absolutely nothing to do with?

        I'm sorry, I know people have died for the right to vote but I'm buggered if I'll legitimise a corrupt system as a memorial. Give me a "None of the above" option and I'll turn up every single time.

      2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        "So don't complain about what those who got voted in do or don't do."

        Fair.

        But they all do it, so how are you going to vote to stop it ?

      3. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re Dont complain about voted in

        That only makes any sense if you have a 'None of the above' that actually prevents any of the above getting in.

    3. tip pc Bronze badge

      Please Vote

      if you've never voted then your the person they all need to target the most.

      You should vote though, even if it is for Trump.

      People are sent to die in order to protect your ability to vote so you should at least honour that. Doesn't matter who for.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Please Vote

        You should vote though, even if it is for Trump.

        First part of the sentence is true...you should definitely vote.

        Second part: IF you're considering voting for Trump, stop, think, and do some research. He is not (at a minimum) a very nice person. He's also made our country the laughing stock of the world, because:

        (a) He seems to be incapable of forming complete, coherent sentences

        (b) He doesn't listen to any advice from people who have real knowledge

        (c) I'm not a doc, but he seems to be "losing it", to put it charitably

        1. Rob D. Bronze badge
          Joke

          Re: Please Vote

          Who's Trump? By your description, he doesn't sound like someone you would want standing for your county elections. You do get all sorts in those local councils, although at least they can't do too much harm discussing things like what colour to paint the town hall and whether the town fair should have a license for a tombola.

          Oh ... you said 'country' not 'county'.

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Please Vote

          He's also made our country the laughing stock of the world, because:

          d) He's a cunt.

          and e) we still hadn't stopped laughing about you guys electing Bush:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCQa4iFmkW4

        3. Alistair Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Please Vote

          @ Anton:

          Nice to see you standing up for your country.

          (yeah I'll get my coat)

        4. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

          Re: Please Vote

          Actually, a), b) and c) seem very good reasons for voting for someone, when you compare him to the usual run of politicians....

        5. IneptAdept

          Re: Please Vote

          I think it's funny if it is a wide held.view that he is the reason the USA is a laughing stock....

          Now this isn't a statement on Americans but the USA the rest of the world has ridiculed the USA since at least Bush snr

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Please Vote

        well, people die so that others have a chance to vote, rather than they _should_ vote, whichever way. Same with birth and life, you got it as a welcome gift, I don't think any GIFT should come with little strings and stars attached, because it's no longer a gift, it becomes, effectively, a loan (hard or emotional, but a loan).

      3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: Please Vote

        ...People are sent to die in order to protect your ability to vote...

        They are also protecting his right not to vote....

    4. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Lee, can I just point out on the flip side of that there's lots of people complain that they *don't* get information from local candidates during the election. Unfortunately people's allegiances do change and they're fairly fickle when it comes to their politics but I agree with your sentiment.

      As for getting information despite being on the edited electoral register, councils and political parties have access to the full register. The reason being is that's why it exists in the first place. Its for electoral purposes.

      I've never understood why people get so upset about getting leaflets from political parties. If you don't want to vote for them or vote at all even then chuck it in the recycling. As it happens, if you don't want any bother at all then just tell your next local canvasser that you don't want further information, they update their information because believe me they don't want to waste the effort of sending you political literature you don't care about either.

      All I would say about that is, like social media or the news sites you choose to visit, you end up living in a bubble where you only hear or see things you agree with and never have your opinion challenged. Which is a scary prospect.

    5. James 139

      "Not only did every political party send me crap as soon as I was on the electoral register (despite opting out of the public version)"

      That will be because they are part of a group that has access to the Full register, most political "entities" have access on request. It's quite a long list too.

      The "public" or Open register is the cut down version sold to companies.

      1. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
        Unhappy

        The "public" or Open register is the cut down version sold to spammers.

        FTFY.

    6. gbru2606

      The whole point of leaflets through the door is to help you decide who NOT to vote for surely?

    7. DJO Silver badge

      a rubber stamp that says "Not at this address" and then re-posted anything that came through the door for previous residents.

      If you need something incriminating (such as some freshly grown shrubbery) posted to you, getting the poster to send it to the name of a previous occupant can be enough to provide plausible deniability.

      Disclaimer: I do not now nor ever endorse any such illegal activity no matter how stupid the relevant laws might be.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "[...] getting the poster to send it to the name of a previous occupant can be enough to provide plausible deniability."

        In the 1970s an ex-pat colleague in our South African office had his subscription to the "Mayfair" soft pr0n magazine addressed to "Mrs Whitehouse". He let it stay in the office communal in-tray for week before retrieving it.

        That was the time when "Amateur Photographer" often arrived on the news stands minus its front cover - torn off for reasons of official censorship. A popular wall poster had been banned and unbanned several times. The censorship debate was about whether the silhouette of a woman - standing sideways on a beach at sunset - was wearing a top to her bikini or not.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          I have dealt with your blinkered approach to voting more times in my adult life than I care to mention, and thus have prepared answers for all the usual stock rubbish that people spout at me for it. It's a pity such time and effort isn't put into putting forward worthy candidates rather than attacking those that won't vote for unworthy ones.

          If your idea of democracy is "lesser of only two/three evils", then you really need to go back and look up the definition. Especially when those people are ALL you have available, and you can't even vote for yourself, a friend, a celebrity, a scientist, whoever the hell you want.

          "People are sent to die in order to protect your ability to vote so you should at least honour that. Doesn't matter who for."

          a) No, they died to protect my freedom of speech, expression, decision and life. Including that of people they disagree with, don't understand, don't share a culture or attitude, or people whom they find unbearable, uncivilised or even downright nasty.

          b) Yes it does matter. I will not vote in someone that I deem inadequate for the job. Present a worthy candidate and I'll vote for them.

          Force me to vote by all means, as a civic duty. But give me a "none of the above" or even "Other (complete details) ________" box in which I can enter anyone that I like, including nobody. No, the "vote for one guy one year and the other the next to 'cancel' it out" system isn't right either. And maybe if you forced everyone to vote, you'd be able to tell that despite party X winning over party Y, that actually party Z (the "we don't want either of them" clan) outclasses them in every election.

          P.S. I did technically vote once, not for a person or party but to answer a question. To change the way that we vote. Because the way that we vote sucks, but the way we were proposing we could vote sucked less and therefore was a clear and progressive step towards improving not just my outlook but everyone else's. As a mathematician, I can say that neither system was ideal, but one was mathematically "fairer". It didn't matter, because most of the other 20m people didn't agree, so nothing changed.

          However, voting for one person over the other does not allow for such "less ideal" candidates to significantly improve the outcome for everyone. For instance, Clinton vs Trump.

          "Pick the person who APPEARS to be slightly less stupid, obnoxious, corrupt, inept and cringe-worthy from a group of three/four that you have no say in" isn't democracy. I don't know those people. "Pick the person you'd like to run the country" is a democratic question. The answer for which would be "Me", "My mate Jim", or failing that, someone like Stephen Hawking. I want a scientist in charge for once, like a meritocracy. Someone logical who spends their life cutting through the bias and getting to the issues and actually determining the improvement made in a repeatable manner, who could drastically alter the way we live and can distance themselves from rubbish like sex-scandals and stupid things people say about foreigners. Someone who hires people best for the job. Rather than someone who was education minister than prison minister then minister for Brexit then minister for agriculture and then....

          Absent that, I'd really rather not vote at all. Take the consequences of your own decision. I'll abstain. If my abstaining doesn't register at all, so be it. But think to yourself why you would tolerate ministers and diplomats abstaining from a crucial political question, but not someone who has no knowledge of the situation deliberately abstaining until a worthy candidate(s) appears.

          1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

            "I want a scientist in charge for once, like a meritocracy. Someone logical who spends their life cutting through the bias and getting to the issues and actually determining the improvement made in a repeatable manner, who could drastically alter the way we live and can distance themselves from rubbish like sex-scandals and stupid things people say about foreigners. Someone who hires people best for the job. "

            I'd like to agree with you, I really would.

            But then I remember that Thatcher was a chemist. Not the best advertisement for logical decision-making unpolluted by idealist thinking.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            "I will not vote in someone that I deem inadequate for the job"

            Then spoil your ballot. Parties take note of that.

          3. Martin
            Thumb Up

            Force me to vote by all means, as a civic duty. But give me a "none of the above" or even "Other (complete details) ________" box in which I can enter anyone that I like, including nobody.

            I actually agree entirely with this. I think that if voting were compulsory, and we had a "none of the above" box, it would win an overall majority fairly often - which might persuade people that they need to improve the calibre of the candidates.

            But I still think you should vote. If you really don't like any of them, scrawl "None of them - they are all rubbish!" on your voting slip. You'll at least be counted as a spoilt paper.

            1. Chronos Silver badge

              If you really don't like any of them, scrawl "None of them - they are all rubbish!" on your voting slip. You'll at least be counted as a spoilt paper.

              I used to put "F, must do better. See me after class" in red ink that I brought for the occasion. A moment's satisfaction yet nothing changed. The "none of the above"/"none suitable" option as an official stance with real consequences for the stuffed shirts who have been preselected would get people voting. Personally, I'd disbar anyone from standing for ten years who has appeared on a ballot where "feck right off" has won a majority. Now that's accountability.

              While we're at it, get rid of this seat nonsense. Elect the local MP on the constituency vote but elect the government on a separate ballot after the MPs are elected. If they're a minority they may just have to think about policy rather than bullying it through on the party whip system and hoping The Lords will be too doddery to notice that it's a crock of horse-feathers. Doing deals to get a majority is then right out.

              1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                The party system is the root of most of the problems. Ban them, and make everyone stand as an independent on their own policies.

                1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

                  Re: "Other (complete details) ________"

                  I'd vote for Little Bobby Tables every damn time.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "and then re-posted "

      Once received a letter to my house number and street name - but for a different town about 20 miles away with a post code that only shared the initial city letters.

      So I wrote on the envelope in large letters "not xxxxx town" - and dropped it in a mail box. A few days it came through the letterbox again. As it appeared to be possibly important I put it in a larger envelope and put stamps on it to try to make sure it reached the correct destination - which presumably it did.

      Last Xmas someone knocked at the door with a package for me - which they were delivering by hand as they were passing. It was perfectly addressed to me. However - Royal Mail had delivered it to the same numbered house in a street which was a "xxxx Court" rather than my "xxxx Road" - in a different town about 12 miles away. The postcode only shared the initial two city letters

      1. paulf Silver badge
        Facepalm

        @AC "Once received a letter to my house number and street name - but for a different town about 20 miles away with a post code that only shared the initial city letters."

        I used to live in xxxx road, with xxxx place just around the corner. I used to regularly get post incorrectly delivered to me for my number on xxxx place. Ironically it was usually bumpf from the CWU that was being misdelivered (Communications Workers Union - union for Royal Mail posties in the UK for anyone not familiar).

    9. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Debt collectors

      "In the space of 2 months I was down to zero rogue mail, and because of the wonders of electronic banking and billing, I only really get letters about council tax now."

      Depends on the last owner. Ours was a mortgagee sale, and the guy clearly has a bunch of debts. So every 3-9 months his debt gets sold on for pennies on the dollar to another agency, who issue half a dozen letters (and charge a few hundred euros), get them returned, rinse and repeat.

      So if they owe money, then you'll pretty much never see the end of them. Still getting his mail six years later....

    10. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Everything else is letterbox-spam and unaddressed "

      Which you can opt out of - discussion about that in Monday's story about Royalmail getting spanked for spamming (you'd think they could have sent a letter...)

  9. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    I'm pretty sure the Prime Minister doesn't man the Mail Merge process herself ( that being a boys job and all ).

    Also More likely Mr FuckingJoking filled in a form giving his preferred alias rather than his birth name and that was what was sent out.

  10. Cartimand

    Oh dear.

    Poor Mr Fuckingjoking and his wife DrearyFatBoring and their son SnivelingLittleRatface must have cruel jokes made about their name all the time (with apologies to Monty Python).

  11. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Privacy fail

    The papers printed the letter after carefully blurring out some of the text, but helpfully left the data matrix right next to it for anyone with a barcode scanner app...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Privacy fail

      My Labour MP once sent me a photocopy of a letter they had previously sent to another constituent who had posed a different question about RIPA. They had redacted the other person's name and address with a black marker pen.

      If you tilted the letter at an angle - the reflected light from the underlying ink showed those details perfectly.

  12. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    And this is why we trust politicians with IT systems

    … never.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: And this is why we trust politicians with IT systems

      It's sweet that you think politicians post their own mail rather than having a party organisation do it for them.

    2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: And this is why we trust politicians with IT systems

      Not just with IT systems.

  13. Velv Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    AND THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH...

    ...social media.

    Fuckups with Mail Merge have been delivered since the day after the concept was inventied. But now we have social media to blow everything out of proportion. While it’s funny it’s the Torres who want to keep all our data, move along, nothing really to see here.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The recipient, Raja Habib, of Brixton, London, told The PA: “At first I thought it was a scam…I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a complete shock to my system. I was embarrassed and insulted."

    "I mean, wouldn't *you* feel the same way if you got a begging letter from the Conservative Party? What if the neighbours find out and think I'm a Tory?!"

    "Also, I think the wife mentioned something about them misspelling my name."

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      RE couldn’t believe my eyes

      If I got a begging letter from the tories I'd do a quick check on all my bank accounts in case some Russian oilygark was using an account to launder a vast sum and redirect it and follow it to a sunny tax haven and spent the rest of my life living in fear.

  15. Laura Kerr

    Not just mail merge

    My turn to 'fess up - a long time ago, in a century far, far away, I was testing a middleware system that was supposed to receive text files, send them on to somewhere and record the file name in its audit database.

    Yawn, boring stuff. But the thing was having a real hissy fit and just would not work, or log anything to say why. I thought it must be some sort of edge condition, so prepared a big batch of text files, named text1, text2 and so on, all the way up to text100. Then, in a flippant moment, I added one called 'bollocks'.

    Guess which one worked.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Re: Not just mail merge

      Did anyone offer to fill the gap in your life?

      1. Laura Kerr

        Re: Not just mail merge

        "Did anyone offer to fill the gap in your life?"

        Sorry, but I have absolutely no idea what you're on about.

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Not just mail merge

      A former colleague once put a sanity check in some code for something that should never happen, the output being "I will eat your ears".

      Fortunately the boss of the client who saw it had a sense of humour.

  16. MrKrotos

    Junk Mail

    I found that taking said junk mail, mark it as "RTS", wrapping it round a house brick then dropping it off at the post office to return seems to resolve the issue.

    You do get some funny looks though.

  17. Wingel

    Not voting...

    I've never really understood the logic behind "if you don't vote you can't complain". Put a "none of the above" on the voting slip and you have an argument. Until then any vote will be taken as a positive endorsement and only encourage the buggers.

    And no, spoiling your ballot paper is not the same thing.

    1. Colin Miller

      Re: Not voting...

      In the UK, if a ballot paper is spoilt, then all the candidates (or their agents) must agree that it's spolt. So, should you wish to, you can use this to tell the candidates why none of them are worthy of your vote.

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Not voting...

      I think a lot of the people who don't vote but still complain are people who don't give the slightest toss about politics except when their taxes go up or something they use has its funding cut.

      The sort of people who would say that David Cameron is still our Prime Minister. They shouldn't be encouraged to vote because they are wilfully ignorant of what they are (not) voting for.

    3. philebbeer

      Re: Not voting...

      In the UK the number of spoilt ballot papers is recorded in the official figures of the vote.

      I agree that you should make the effort to vote but must admit that having got to the voting station I have spoilt my ballot paper on more than one occasion.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Not voting...

        For many years, that was my sole way of voting, in both locations and general elections, since there was no way any candidate other than the favoured party donkey would get in. It is different in my current constituency - the current MP had a majority of just two votes in the last election!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I have spoilt my ballot paper on more than one occasion."

        As someone who regularly works UK election counts: please don't. The staff are almost exclusively low paid council workers staying up all night to supplement their income, and they have to go into work the next day as well unless they take annual leave. They don't need to see your hilarious drawing of a cock and balls at 3am.

        (Note: most people who spoil their ballot do so by being less able to put a cross in the box than a Fulham winger, by voting for zero or multiple candidates, or by breaching one of the rules of anonymity. But in my experience everyone who *tells* people they spoil their ballot does it with the cock and balls.)

  18. Mr Youmustbe Fuckingjoking

    Stupid buggers

    got my address mixed up with someones elses

  19. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    I wonder what this means for party supporters in Scunthorpe. Not to mention Twatt, Swankerfield, and Little Bastard.

    https://www.royalmail.com/find-a-postcode if you don't believe me... well you're right!!

    YO25 9JL and it's B U R N B U T T S L A N E and not what it looks like. Well... it looks like Butts... honestly, could be someone else having a laugh.

  20. GIRZiM
    Mushroom

    Democracy

    Includes the right not to vote.

    I've always voted myself but I don't see that it's my right, in a democratic society, to force others to behave as I do unless it's a matter of communal interest. As those who don't vote do not contribute either way, they cancel each other out and are, therefore, of no communal interest.

    Right, with that out of the way, I'd like to address the altogether more serious matter of mail/post addressed to 'The Occupier'.

    I am not an occupier, I am legally resident in my home and if the authors of said illiteracy want to know what the difference is, they can come around and we'll discuss it over the top of the sandbagged machine-gun emplacement I've constructed at the top of the steps before the front door!

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Democracy

      "Includes the right not to vote"

      True, but in general not voting effectively increases the extremist vote - and if you're in the UK, where the marginal and swing seats decide the entire country, your vote is more important that you probably realise.

      Voter turnout is low in national elections and abysmal in local body ones (Next month remember!) which is how extreme policies at council levels are getting through. Extremists invariably vote no matter what.

      1. GIRZiM

        Re: Democracy

        > Extremists invariably vote no matter what

        That too is true but the moment you insist people vote without first giving them the right to vote on that proposition then you've already forfeit your right to argue that you favour democracy.

        It might be interesting to see how many people would be sufficiently motivated to get of their arses if that were put to the test and they were given a vote on making voting compulsory. But what if they vote against the proposition and then continue not voting, letting the extremists have the power?

        Modern societies are simply too large for Democracy as we know it to work - it was designed for city states and smaller populations. I don't know what the answer is, I just know it isn't Dictatorships or "The A.I.s will save us."

      2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Democracy

        Extremists aren't more likely to vote. Otherwise Corbyn would have won the last election - as it was he only got a youth vote bump of 3.5%.

        The more committed are more likely to vote. Often that correlates with extremists, but not always. I'm more likely to vote than a student, despite the politics that I'm voting for not being particularly extreme.

  21. John H Woods Silver badge

    I was addressed as: Dr John H Woods The Mighty Rechecki, 75 Acacia Avenue ...

    ... on a lovely embossed gilt edged card from an expensive Dubai hotel where I had stayed on business.

    Couldn't work it out until I recalled we had left in a hurry (due to Uncle Sam starting to bomb Libya) and I had asked the hotel to keep my room if I couldn't get a flight and had to come back ... the guy said "No problem, Sir" and hurriedly hammered on the computer, presumably mistyping "He Might Re check in" after my name.

    I may well have posted this story before, sorry if you've heard it :-)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is everyone assuming this was a mistake ? Surely this is the contempt that the ruling elite have for the 'little people' !

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty sure you're not supposed to read other peoples mail

    Youmustbe lives 2 houses down, and he'd really appreciate it if people stopped opening his mail and putting it on twitter. It's like all the school bully never stopped.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cox Cable

    Within weeks after ordering an internet package from COX Communications I started receiving a ton of junk snail mail.

    I called to complain that they sold my details to advertisers but they denied doing so.

    The first letter of my last name was incorrect on my cable bill just as it appeared on all the new spam mail in my post box.

    (I know what name I'll be using from now on thanks to this El Reg article)

  25. Oliver Mayes

    I once got a local election leaflet from the Labor party addressed to "Mr. . #0106".

    No idea where they got that from, I've definitely never given my details (real or fake) to any political party.

  26. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Devil

    Spelling error

    "Britain's ruling Conservative Party"

    That should be 'ruining Conservative Party'.

  27. EastFinchleyite

    Look on the bright side

    Mr Youmustbe F*ckingjoking should think himself lucky that he only received a begging letter from Mrs May. It could have been a lot worse. He could have received a letter from Mrs May's previous government department, the Home Office.

    " Dear Mr Youmustbe F*ckingjoking

    We know that you have been living in the UK for almost 50 years since arriving here legally as a child. You have worked and paid taxes all of your adult life and have married and raised a family.. However our records show that your paperwork was either incorrectly filled in when you reached the age of sixteen, or is missing entirely. Please fuck off back to the country you came from even though you have no knowledge of it and do not speak the language.

    Please note that the colour of your skin has had no bearing on this decision. You have 30 days to comply or you will be arrested.

    With best regards,

    The Home Office"

  28. Pat Harkin

    Who remembers the Nat West bank mail out to its 2000 wealthiest customers?

    "Dear Rich Bastard..."

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/dear-rich-bastard/

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