Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The sincerest form of flattery

Here’s an idea: let’s abolish the wheel. Let’s escape the tyranny of the circular device, and spend the money saved on axles, spokes and hubs on — oh, I don’t know — the National Health Service (NHS). Let’s take back control of rotation! But wait a minute. This can’t be done overnight. We shall still need some means of transporting ourselves and our goods until we have formally renounced the wheel, but before we have agreed on a new device. There’ll probably need to be an “implementation period” in which we remain “aligned” with the existing circular format.

Then, when we’ve finally got rid of the old system — let freedom ring! — we’ll need a new, bespoke mechanism. What we’ll want is our own round component that rolls around an axis; an independently designed disc that turns reliably to enable easy movement. Something that gyrates smoothly along the ground. I wonder what we should call it.
Matthew d’Ancona, in a piece titled "Theresa May’s new Brexit campaign is a mirage", published in the Gulf Times, where they presumably know a thing or two about mirages.

What seems to be going on is a reversed version of the branding exercise that a certain discount supermarket does when it wants to make its cheaper own-brand products look as close as possible to their popular branded equivalents, without actually crossing the line into outright counterfeiting:
Alcafé Gold Roast is a work of fiction. Any similarity to other brands of coffee, instant or gold, is purely coincidental.
But where the discount retailer wants its own products to look just like their almost-identical equivalents, the Brexit Delivery Team want their product to look completely unlike the thing they're desperately trying to duplicate in excruciating detail:
Government: "We are proud to announce an innovative new form of circular component, intended to rotate on an axle bearing."

Every Reman and Leave voter who's still awake: "It's a wheel, isn't it?"

Government: "No, it's totally not a wheel. Our old wheel was blue, with yellow stars on it. This is an entirely novel type of component - look, it's red, white and blue!"
Still, at least the government has found an excellent way to unite the whole country - simultaneously patronise and disappoint everybody who voted to leave the EU and everybody who voted to stay. Anyway, good luck trying to get your novel innovation past the patent office, guys.