Number of the Month

December 2014

The fourteenth annual Numby Awards

By a curious coincidence, many of the great cultural centres of the world come into their own at the time of the winter solstice, and so it is with those atmospheric Assembly Rooms above the Takeaway Kebab in Londonís Balls Pond Road.

My perennial problem of coping with that staircase was magically solved by the leader of the Balls Pond Boys Brigade. As he worked for the street lighting authority, he was able to borrow a motorised platform and I entered the chamber through a convenient window. Unfortunately, this did not do a lot for my desired anonymity as I received a round of applause for my unorthodox entry.

Sad to say, just when the affairs of the Organising Committee seemed to have settled after a period of flux, it appears to have lost two of its most important members.  Sir Hugh Jerrors cited the pressure of his duties as President of Advanced Computer Modeling Enterprises Inc (ACME) in Bermuda for resigning the chair. A spokesperson firmly denied rumours that it was anything to do with personal taxation.  Unfortunately this loss is compounded by the announcement that Baroness Effluvia Coldbottom has been appointed General Secretary of the United Nations Spoon and Fork Executive (UNSAFE) and thus has no time for other commitments.

The new Chairman is Dr Shane MacGuffin, Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Much Hadham, while the awards were presented by the famous artist (and Committee member for ten years) Tracey Hirst, whose construction Slug in a beer bottle once caused such a sensation at the Tate Modern. She was recently appointed Professor of Cardboard at the Royal Academy. 

The Address from the Chair, which has become such an important part of the noble tradition, was entitled The Appropriate Society. Here is a brief extract:

First let me say that most of my remarks refer to the situation here in the UK: but this is not to belittle the contribution of other nations, and particularly the USA, in the steady progress we have all been making towards an ideal society, as our awards will, as usual, amply demonstrate.

We are not fascists. We do not seek to control people, we simply seek to control their channels of information, so that they become persuaded.

We should welcome the fact that the worst deviants have gathered together to form one political party which they call UKIP, which makes them easier to identify and attack. This has enabled the best of our society to unite in their battle against such aberration. Nasty old cynics among our opponents like to call this natural coming together as The Establishment, but we prefer to think of it as The Movement. Meticulous scientific research has established that 95% of UKIP supporters are old, male and ill-educated. They openly flout agreed standards of behaviour and vocabulary.

The key to the problems of our society is information; that is information about the people and appropriate information to the people. So, for example, although oppressive uniformed street policing now has been largely withdrawn from our streets, we have the highest density of surveillance cameras in the world. Furthermore, the media (and particularly the famously unbiased BBC) provide all the information to the people that is appropriate for them.

It is apodictic that education is the heart of the matter. Our new teachers emerge for their training colleges fully cognisant of the overwhelming importance of appropriateness and they in turn pass it on to our children. All are equal in the sight of appropriateness. We are approaching the time when everyone will have a university degree, but I foresee a time when everyone will have a PhD. Then we will all call each other Doctor and there will be no discrimination, sexual or other.

Let  me leave you with a little ditty that summarises our aims:

You gotta accentuate the appropriate,
Demonise the inappropriate,
Latch  on to the acceptable,
Donít mess with Mister In-between.

So, as we launch a further augmentation of our famous and influential awards let us be proud of our contribution to the Appropriate Society.

Naturally, those stirring words gave rise to a standing ovation, which was eventually terminated by Mz Hirstís rising to present the latest awards.

This began with the first Nearly Man Trophy, a celebration of the heroism arising from the questing soul of man. By a strange coincidence it also illustrated the inappropriateness that is still rampant in our society. For the courageous nominee had been a victim of a typical smear campaign. That noteworthy individual, Chris Turney, had been dubbed Fool in Chief by that nasty nest of carping critics that unfortunately still exist in the murkier corners of the cyber-world. Fear not! As it always will, appropriateness triumphed in the media and the story was forgotten in a matter of days. Nevertheless a picture is worth a thousand words.

The award for Masters of manipulation went to the entirety of the US medical establishment. Simply by arbitrarily changing definitions they turned 130 million healthy Americans into patients. Never has the sheer power of creativity and innovation in the application of numbers been so aptly illustrated, as the veritable tsunami of international propaganda descended upon a population eager to be informed and to conform. The medical profession not only dramatically increased its own business, but unselfishly performed the same service for an army of dieticians, journalists, academics, managers, politicians and civil servants. It is fortunate that no other serious health issues face the world. Definition flexibility is now an important tool for the creators of the Appropriate Society.

Pertinacious group activity is not, however, confined to the USA. So the new award for Conspicuous Unity goes to the entire UK establishment media for its campaign against one man, Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP. He is tainted by a disfigurement that is now more potent than the Mark of Cain. It is the sin of Inappropriateness. He dares to pour scorn upon the official State Religion of Global Warming that is embraced by all the other official parties and (almost) all of the establishment media. He opposes the established policy of dismantling the archaic integrated system of energy supply and its gradual replacement by a heavily-subsidised, appropriate and religiously approved non-system of intermittent sources. He even questions the doctrine of the infallibility of European Union Officialdom. He is clearly incorrigible and has only himself to blame for receiving the full weight of the disapproval of those in whom we trust. It may all seem heavy-handed to those who are ill-informed, but there is a cost to pay for the achievement of the Appropriate Society.

An individual award goes to jointly to a couple of professors at Kingís College, London, who identified 7,000 victims who died because of diesel particles. Unfortunately, the 7,000 are all anonymous, so we cannot check the data with their families. Oh, the power of numbers!

In a new departure, a ribbon was added to the SPONG trophy previously awarded to Robert Lustig. This was to celebrate his achievement in creating a whole new industry from scratch in record time. It now all seems so obvious that the anti-sugar campaign was the next step in the progress of the movement towards universal appropriateness, but it takes genius to encapsulate it in a three word slogan. The benefits in such areas as increasing employment and raising taxation income are incalculable. The March goes on.

The award for constructive use of statistics goes to Dr Anna-Maija Tolppanen of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, who proved that cynics are three times more likely to suffer from dementia - yet another blow to those who try to stand in the way of the inevitable advance of appropriateness.

I regret that at this point your bending reporter was overcome by an overpowering wave of depression and discreetly departed, thinking only of the Dirge for dead children.

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went

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