Sunday, 21 September 2008

The problem with large numbers

A large number, possibly a majority, of people in this country are mathematically challenged, they don't really understand large numbers. A million, a billion, a trillion; they are all just big scary numbers. In my second plug for an old Etonian who is not in David Cameron's shadow cabinet, do take a read of Devil's Kitchen and his reporting of a Guardian Comment is Free comment on government spending. Here's a short extract:
"The NHS IT programme is a complete, utter fucking mess. It doesn't work and it never will work. It will eventually be scrapped, and if Liebour were still in power it would promptly be replaced by something even more useless and expensive.

It will end up costing the taxpayer twenty billion pounds. Do you understand what twenty billion pounds are? Let me help you:

On the day that Queen Victoria died, I put half a million pounds in used fivers in a suitcase, took it out into the woods, and burnt it in a bonfire. There wasn't any good reason for doing this—in much the same way as there isn't any good reason for much of Liebour's 'public spending'—but I did it anyway.

Then I did the same thing the next day. And the next. And the next. Every day of every week of every month of every year since the day that Queen Victoria died I have been burning half a million pounds in used fivers in a suitcase in a bonfire in the woods.

And I'm still not at twenty billion. I've still got nearly two years to go."
The amount of money this Labour government have wasted is hard to comprehend but is insignificant when compared to the money they have committed the country to spend on PFI scams.

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