2016 is already shaping up to be a watershed year in world history in several respects. It will be – probably – the year that ISIS’ resistance to the Syrian Arab Army collapses, and Bashar al-Assad drives them out and reclaims control of the whole of the country. It will be – probably – the year that something big happens in Ukraine. It’s impossible to say what, exactly, but the present reality is unsustainable, and if Ukraine rolls into spring with nothing much changed about the situation – no visa-free travel to Europe, no resolution on the eastern mess, the economy still passively obedient to the law of gravity – I believe the Poroshenko government will fall. Probably.
It will also be the year that “probably” entered the British official and legal lexicon as an acceptable modifier to judgment. Let’s preview what the updated definition might look like, shall we?
Used to mean, “very likely”
I’ll probably be home by midnight I’m probably going – it depends on the weather He probably didn’t even notice
2. judicial modifier/UK/ˈprɒb.ə.bli
Used to mean, ” judged to have occurred as described despite the inability to prove it did through the introduction of compelling and demonstrable evidence; based, rather, on a surpassing need for it to be true. Shall be assumed for reporting purposes to constitute sufficient certainty that extrapolations can be made as if they were facts”
The murder was probably carried out by the Russian state, probably on the personal orders of Vladimir Putin
The British press has long been an embarrassment (as is, in fact, the political establishment itself), and it often seems as if every British newspaper is nothing more than a tabloid, filled with the most salacious gossip interspersed with photos of the idle rich or ‘hot’ celebrities capering and mugging and showing off their naughty bits. The Independent is owned by a former Foreign Intelligence officer of the KGB and billionaire, although nobody in the British press ever refers confrontationally to his spy background – instead making excuses for it and suggesting he was not really very interested in British secrets, ho, ho – or calls him an oligarch unless it is immediately followed by an explanation of why the label ‘tycoon’ or ‘businessman’ fits better.
Let’s look at their latest cacophony of outrage over thoroughly un-British evildoing, featuring the British media’s favourite target – Russia, and its president, Vladimir Putin. No barbarism, savagery or disgusting perversion is beneath him, as we will learn. Try to keep a stiff upper lip. Continue reading