A Guardian story by Kirsty Scott reports on a truly nutty decision by the Foreign Office:
The Scottish burr may often prove incomprehensible to English ears, but the Foreign Office apparently considers the accent so impenetrable that it has rejected a Russian student’s application to study in Scotland on the grounds that she might not understand the language.
It emerged in the Scottish parliament yesterday that UK Visas, a joint operation manned in Britain by the Home Office and overseas by Foreign Office staff, had used the excuse to deny the young woman a 12-week visa to study the English language in Scotland last summer.
Among the reasons for her rejection was one which said: “Given that you state you will need to resit your English exam in November, you cannot satisfactorily explain why you have chosen to attend an English course in Scotland rather than your other options of Oxford or Cambridge, where you should face less difficulty understanding a regional accent.”
The blunder was uncovered by the Scottish National party, who informed the first minister, Jack McConnell, at Holyrood yesterday. The SNP leader, John Swinney, urged Mr McConnell, who recently launched a drive to bring more immigrants to Scotland, to condemn “that type of attitude of institutional discrimination”.
Mr McConnell promised he would look into it.
A Foreign Office spokesman admitted it was “an error”.
I’ll say. (Via Taccuino di traduzione.)