How the British governmen's remaining brain cells were lost
by Steve Cook
Typo City 25/8/20
For months now the nation has been mystified as to why the government relied so heavily on the mathematical models of Imperial College Professor Neil Ferguson.
With the advantage of hindsight (or for that matter foresight) this was a move as bonkers as the UN making Tony Blair a "Peace Envoy", the W.H.O. appointing Robert Mugabe as the World Health Organisation's goodwill ambassador (LOL!) or putting a leading Flat Earther in charge of Google Maps. [One of these is obviously fictional on account of being too ridiculous, can you guess which one?]
The professor's mathematical models were true to the noble traditional of soothsayers and harbingers of doom thought to have died out in the Middle Ages but recently found alive and well and burrowed deep inside the British government. And as such they duly prompted the traditional wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst Believers throughout Westminster and other hotbeds of ancient superstition.
Yet rumour has it that, even though the British government is probably living in the 21st century or some very similar century such as the 18th, it was very eager to favour Ferguson's predictions of National Doom over the abundant predictions from sensible scientists and people good at math that said otherwise.
The latter however were disregarded on account of having several flaws that caused the government to doubt their feasibility, namely:
- They were not scary enough
- They were too accurate
Thus the government adopted the wailing and gnashing of teeth scenario and then generously shared the aforementioned wailing and gnashing with a credulous nation via television and an equally waily and gnashy mainstream media.
There has still been no answer to the question being asked by everyone except newspaper reporters: how did the government manage not to know that the "expert" it had decided to rely on for advice affecting such trivial issues as national survival was completely rubbish at predictions?
It was easily discoverable on Google that Ferguson had on several previous occasions made wildly inaccurate and alarming forecasts concerning previous viruses such as Swine Flu, Bird Flu, BSE and so forth. This was pointed out at the time by millions of bloggers who were not believed because they did not have the status of "expert" enjoyed by people such as . . . er, Ferguson.
It was at one time believed that when Ferguson's name came up, the PM had done the last sensible thing of his political career and carried out a Google search to find out what sort of chap was being recommended to him for advice that would affect the entire future of the country. Unfortunately, the story goes, the PM made a typo and googled the name "Gerguson" in error.
Google returned dozens of entries on Olaf Gerguson, the Norwegian serial killer, who ate the kidneys of half a dozen life coaches in Oslo between 2010 and 2014. As Gerguson was to be hired for his mathematical modelling and Google returned nothing negative on that score, the PM decided there was nothing to worry about and gave the order to bring him in for consultation immediately.
Three days later, the PM duly appeared on TV to scare an anxious nation with Gerguson's predictions as to how COVID19 was going to lay waste to the civilised world (Eton) plus lots of other places. Although they were inaccurate, they were scientifically inaccurate and came with a free pie chart, which was the main thing.
The projections that the PM gleefully shared with the nation included the scientifically settled fact that a million people would die horribly by Tuesday in Melton Mowbray alone unless we acted swiftly to destroy the economy.
It has now emerged that that story is not entirely true. For one thing independent fact checkers gave the story the benefit of their attention and revealed that the story wrongly gave the name accidentally searched on Google by the PM as Gerguson. A fact checking virus helpfully installed on the PM's laptop by (probably Russian or at least foreign) hackers was able to reveal that what the PM had actually searched for was "Fergusov". This returned 11230000 entries concerning Antonia Fergusov, a ballerina from Minsk who was with the Bolshoi from 2015 to 2019 until tragically killed in a COVID-related car crash on the M11Neva motorway just outside St Petersburgh.
By another remarkable coincidence Ms Fergusov, besides being a world-class ballerina, was also a PhD in Applied Mathematics and very good at mathematical modelling. This of course was mentioned on Google and served to convince the PM that Fergusov was just the sort of chappette needed to assist the government's War on Not Panicking.
I should point out that whilst all this may sound bizarre, it is in fact myriad coincidences, small distractions, lapses of judgement and typos that actually comprise the driving force behind all of human history. Well, that and lying anyway.
Be all that as it may, the "fact-checked" version of how Ferguson came to be the mastermind behind months of government fibbing, not to mention the crushing of the global economy, became the official narrative officially denied by the government for many weeks until the truth intervened and it was thoughly discredited in the manner of all official narratives.
The truth - like all truth, vehemently denied by the government - finally emerged thanks to a whistleblower in MI6 and this precipitated what is now known as Twerpgate (aka The Rise of Stupid) ,the scandal surrounding the Brirish government's decision to take advice from the totally inept.
It turned out that the PM's office is continually monitored by the security services via hidden microphones that enable everything that is said to be recorded.
This is a long-standing practice designed as an aid to the War on Peace by building up stockpiles of leverage in case of emergency that everyone forgot to tell the PM about.
The recordings are stored in vaults deep within the bowels of MI6. Thanks to the aforementioned patriotic whistle blower, who cannot be named for fictional reasons, The Daily Scare and other bastions of cutting-edge journalism such as The Onion, the Babylon Bee and Sarcastic Llama came into possession of a key recording that throws light on how the decision was actually made to hire Ferguson.
On the tape can be heard the recognisable voices of the PM and Health Secretary plus an unidentified senior civil servant we will refer to as "M" because it sounds James Bondy.
Here is a transcript of a key snippet that starts when a flustered "M" enters the room and interrupts the PM and Health Secretary. Boris and Matt had been discussing routine matters such micro-chipping vaccines so that when people drop dead from the toxins their corpses can be more easily located using Google Maps and a proposal by the Royal College of Psychiatrists to shake the plebs out of their complacency by discovering that not being afraid of the Coronavirus is a mental illness worse than pedophilia or warmongering.
M: (slightly breathless) Good morning Boris, Matt, I'm so sorry to interrupt but there's something I need you to see. . .
PM: Can it not wait? We are rather busy as you can see . . .
M: Best not Prime Minister, in light of the current emergency that's going on . . .
PM: Which one?
M: The "People not being scared of the Coronavirus" one. The situation is pretty grave as you know.
PM: (ruefully) Tell me about it! I had Gatesy on the blower for an hour yesterday giving me an ear bashing about how much money he stands to lose if we can't convince the hoipoloi to get enthusiastic about his dodgy ruddy vaccines. We've tried everything to make the flu sound like the Black Death but Joe Public isn't buying it.
M: Then it falls to me to be the bearer of good news, Prime Minister! (rustling of papers)
PM: What good news is that then?And what's the catch?
M: It's a report from professor Ferguson at the Imperial College . . .
PM: Never heard of him.
M: Oh he's, like, an expert or something. Or very similar to one anyway. He's advised the government before. He helped destroy the farming industry during the Foot and Mouth and Swine Flu epidemics and really helped Big Pharma make a packet from vaccines during the Swine Flu thing . . . So he's well thought of.
PM: Nope, still doesn't ring any bells. Maybe I should Google him...
M: No need to go to such extremes Prime Minister. Main thing is some of the chaps think he's a top chap and we should listen to what he has to say and not waste time bothering to listen to anybody else...
PM: Yes but is he any good at . . . what is it he does exactly?
M: He does sums and such to make predictions about epidemics.
PM: Oh, right, yes. So is he any good?
M: Well, it depends what you mean by "good", Prime Minister.
PM: Well are his predictions accurate? Will they help us understand how this virus outbreak is going to go?
M: Yes Prime Minister! To within plus or minus four thousand percent!
Health Sec: We can live with that. And any shortfalls we can paper over using media-friendly statistics. Gatesy thinks very highly of him, says he's a Top Bloke. Really handy to have around of you want to scare people in the national interest.
M: The main thing is he's very scientific and he's scientifically worked out using complicated sums that millions are going to die from this Coronavirus thing - well, they will if we play our cards right. We can kill off millions of old people - save a packet on pensions - and blame the whole thing on a virus while sounding impressively scientific!
Health Sec: Brilliant! It is important to be seen as following science, even though nobody know what science exactly . . . or what "science" means.
PM: Well it worked for Hitler and those ethnic cleansing chappies in Bosnia. But his predictions sound really, really frightening, gonna scare the nation half to death!
M: Well that's the main advantage. Plus being able to say it's backed by science means we've got it made. If by "science" you mean nobody can understand it.
Health Sec (chuckles): Scare the riffraff enough and they'll wind up DEMANDING you ethnically cleanse their own grandmothers.
PM: Well that could come in handy. We could use that if we are ever going to sell dismantling the NHS and auctioning off the components as the patriotic thing to do . . . But hold on, what do you mean nobody can understand it? Surely it can't be that hard.
M: Well it is. It's quite brainy stuff, Prime Minister. But that's important because people are more likely to take on trust information that they can't understand. When they understand it, they tend to argue the toss and make constructive suggestions and so forth which takes up valuable administrative time and resources.
PM: But do you understand it?
M: Yes, but I went to Eton.
M:P Is that it there?
M: (rustling of papers can be heard) It just arrived by courier from Imperial. It's a five hundred page summary of Ferguson's mathematical model and the resultant predictions of . . . er widespread death. Very important you get your head around it also Prime Minister. If you are going to go on TV and tell the citizenry they are going to probably die, it's important you have some understanding of what you are talking about.
PM: Not necessarily. You can't expect a chap to understand lots of stuff AND run a country. I mean ... look at that ruddy great wadge. It'll take me a month of Sundays to wade through it! Can't you just give me a summary of the summary, in layman's terms?"
M: I can try. Stop me if you don't understand something.
PM: I probably won't. But explain away old chap . . . and make it snappy. I have a PDH appointment at the Tavistock in half and hour . . .
M: (Clears throat) Well, in layman's terms and put bluntly, professor Ferguson's mathematical models tells us that there are numerous infintesimal denominators and trending curves displaying lots of calculus and differentials along with decimated decimals over the course of a time dilated hypothesis resulting in a profusion of numbers to the square root of logarithmic rhunes. This means that the x-axis of the graph and the y-axis converge to zero . . .
Continues woffling in this in this vein for quite some time until the tape ends abruptly. Sound of health Secretary snoring in the background.
Just before the recording is cut short, the PM can be heard to utter, "Enough already! My ruddy bbrain is starting to hurt. Tell the smarmy bugger he's hired and is to attend tomorrow's SAGE committee - He can bring with him a summary for the committee in plain ruddy English of not longer than two ruddy paragraphs. Now . . . more important matters . . . do you think I should wear a mask when appearing in public?
Health Sec: I'd advise against it, Boris. Makes you look fat and a bit dim. Point of fact no politician who's worn a mask in public has ever wound up looking other than a complete twat. Putin never does it for that reason so I hear. Trump did it but soon knocked if off when advised it could cost him the election. . . .