Flogged to death

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Brian Wilson writes: “In the early 1960s, the Scottish Office flogged off key properties on Raasay…” (Platform, 25 February).

In my young day, “flogging” was a bit of army slang, referring to the reprehensible practices of certain quartermaster sergeants who would, for their own private gain, quietly sell off army property to the immediate locals.

Now I see this piece of indelicate military vulgarity being accepted as perfectly suitable usage in dignified publications dealing with serious topics.

Musing over the strange ways of language, I realised that the long-established and powerful metaphor concerning the uselessness of flogging a dead horse has been rendered meaningless.

Quite a few businessmen have been flogging dead horses to some purpose!

Bob Smith

St Ninian’s Way