Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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What a wonderful country!

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THE following WhatsApp dialogue was monitored by the Ministry of Informational Correction and Cancellation. Since the identities of all WhatsApp users are protected by innumerable layers of encryption, no government agency could possibly learn the identities of John and Mary. That said, they do happen to be currently enjoying protective custody.

Should this dialogue be leaked, readers may be reassured that there is no need for alarm. The financial situation and incoming guest numbers they mention are safely under the control of the Home Secretary.

JOHN

What a wonderful country England must be to live in, and how wonderful its people are!

MARY

What makes you think that?

JOHN

They’re so generous! Every day they welcome a thousand or so migrants to their southern shore, and they demand no identification. They even have a comfortable rescue boat to make sure none of them is in any danger as they cross from mainland Europe. Once landed they are housed in hotels!

MARY

That really is wonderful. How enlightened their leaders are! If they can afford such luxurious accommodation for strangers, think how well-off their own citizens must be! This England has obviously got rid of all poverty, disease and crime!

JOHN

Yes, it must have. Mary, I’ve been doing a few calculations, and my findings are mind-expanding. For one thing, migrants have been landing daily and welcomed with overflowing bounty for at least six months. The average seems to be a thousand new guests daily. Luxury hotel costs run at £250 per night or more. But even if most of the arrivals don’t score five-star, but have to pig it in three-star places at £50 a night, that makes the cost £50,000 per day as well as travel costs, organisation costs, spending money for these welcomed guests and so forth.

MARY

Wow! More than a quarter of a million pounds a week!

JOHN

So a million a month, right?

MARY

From what you’re saying it could be a little more.

JOHN

Possibly more than a little. Mary, have you ever heard that song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’? It’s about a generous young man who gives his beloved special gifts for each day of Christmas.

MARY

I know the song. I felt kinda sorry for the girl. I thought he was overwhelming her a little. First she gets this partridge in a pear tree. Next day she gets two turtle doves. The third day she gets three French hens . . .

JOHN

But that’s not quite how it worked. The point was that he sent her a partridge in a pear tree every day for 12 days. That’s 12 pear trees with 12 partridges. Then two turtle doves every day for 11 days. That makes 22 turtle doves. Then three French hens for ten days. That’s 30 French hens. Then four-times-nine calling birds. Then five-times-eight gold rings . . .

MARY

Then it would be six-times-seven geese laying eggs . . . OMG! What if each goose had half a dozen goslings? That would be . . . mmm . . .

JOHN

Forty-two times seven, which turns into 294 future geese.

MARY

Plus all the other presents in the six days still to come. Including five-times-eight milkmaids perhaps with a cow or two each and flirting with 30  lords leaping around and 22 pipers all probably piping different tunes . . . OMG! I hope the poor girl didn’t share a bedsit with three other students like I have to. But that wouldn’t happen in England where there’s no poverty, would it? Anyway, weren’t we talking about the boat arrivals?

JOHN

Yes, we are. The point is that the quarter-million pounds per week are part of a cumulative cost, just as with the generous young man’s Christmas presents. Supposing the migration had only begun today at £50,000. Then next day the total cost would be £100,000 as well as the £50,000 for today. That’s a total of £150,000 in the first two days. Then the following day another £50,000 . . .

MARY

OMG! That’s £200,000 in just three days!

JOHN

Not exactly. Remember the cost is cumulative, because the migrants housed today and the next day are still costing a further £50,000 each day. More likely the total will be £300,000 by day three. Then on the fourth day the total has become half a million. By the end of the week the total has become £1,400,000. Let’s call it a million in case I’ve overestimated either the hotel costs or the numbers landing – though I may even have under-estimated. At the end of the second week I’ve worked out that it’s £3,800,000. Let’s round down the possible over-estimate to £3million. And this is based on today being the first day of the migration. As I said, the numbers landing have actually been growing from a few hundred daily over the last six months. At least. And it has been growing cumulatively!

MARY

That means . . . oh! I was never good at maths. You’re so clever, John. That’s why I’m studying social work.

JOHN

But at least you’ll remember enough maths to know what a geometrical progression is.

MARY

That when the amounts in a series keep getting bigger, but not in a regular, even sort of way, right? It all turns into a curve that soars right out of the graph and you soon run out of paper to contain it.

JOHN

That’s why we have computers. Computers have infinite virtual space so they can generate unlimited real quantities. That is what England is going to need. Unlimited quantities of pounds, increasing each day. Think how few months before the total is a billion pounds? And because of the cumulative – geometric progression – effect, how many fewer months to the next billion! And maybe not much more than a couple years to reach a trillion? And still further on . . .

MARY (dreamily)

 . . . cumulatively rising like the presents in the Twelve Days of Christmas.

JOHN

Only it’s not just twelve days, and Christmas in England never ends. Or more probably, on account of ‘The Coronavirus Pandemic for which British People including Children Must All do their Share Not to be Selfish but to Stop the Spread, Get Double Vaccinated with Boosters and Protect the NHS’, Christmas may never begin again. Same difference whether it’s all Christmas or no Christmas, though, since the English people are so rich and so generous! 

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The Freeshooter
The Freeshooter is retired, writes novels and listens to Germanic opera.

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