Written by George Fripley
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Friday, 23 September 2011

Many people make the mistake of thinking that politics is all about people and that science plays no part in it. These people are clearly wrong. I will tell you why - and I'm not talking about getting a degree in political science either.

I already discussed how dark matter influences parliament in my book You Can't Polish a Turd - the Civil Servant's Manual, so I will not repeat myself here. There are, however, a number of other identified scientific principles that rule the life and potential career of a politician. These theories have been tested and proven to be correct over many years; the evidence of their validity is compelling. Perhaps the following are most important theories that all aspiring politicians should learn about:

The Thermodynamic Theory of Political Promotion

We all know that the balloons full of hot air rise - the same is true of politicians. The more hot air they have the more successful they become. Once the hot air runs out they begin a long, and hopefully gentle, slide back down the ladder before they finally they get their head out of the clouds and can once again feel solid ground beneath their feet.

While they are up in the clouds, floating in the realm of the recently irrelevant, their grasp on reality lessens until they are free to speak without any reference to what members of the public would think of as 'real life'. This realm is known as the crapposphere and it only has a limited capacity to absorb new politicians. It regularly ejects the less active ones to maintain its equilibrium. It has been shown that up in the crapposphere there is a clear negative correlation between amount of hot air released and the practicality of ideas suggested.

One of the more worrying aspects of this theory is that the increasing release of hot air by politicians in the last 10 years may be contributing significantly to global warming. Some brave politicians have suggested that such releases of hot air into the crapposphere are counterproductive, citing recent studies that suggest that despite its small size, the impact of the crapposphere on the climate is extremely significant, but these people have been shot down very quickly. If you want to remain a politician you should probably ignore this issue and hope that it will go away; you may even want to spout some ill-informed hot air yourself to ensure that your place in parliament is not endangered.

Viral Ignorance

This is a little known theory that describes how ideas are systematically spread throughout the political system. While it sounds like a medical illness, it is, in fact, a scientific theory. Many observers have likened it to a super virus with no known cure.

Where a politician makes a clear and definite statement on a matter that is at odds with all known information and relies on nothing other the equivalent of, 'a bloke down the pub told that his mate told him that his third cousin's workmate said that…etc,' the theory of viral ignorance shows that this opinion will soon start to spread throughout the parliament. It will become a statement of fact if sufficiently senior politicians 'catch' the virus and believe it is a vote winner.

You should ensure that you make such statements on occasion to see how easy it is. Signs that viral ignorance is occurring include the politician making wild accusations of bias and hidden agendas when their view of the world is challenged, as well as a willingness to listen to anybody who supports their viewpoint no matter what such a person's expertise is, if indeed they have any expertise at all. At this stage the politician will be able to convince themselves that their 13 year-old daughter is an expert on particle physics.

It has recently been found that, while not a real virus, most politicians are bound to be affected by this theory at some point in their career. You should also know that the psychological fraternity has yet to find a method by which to combat this phenomenon. This is, however, not a cause for concern as funding has been deliberately kept from such research as once this virus takes hold, it will assist you in losing any grip on reality that remains in your psyche, and so sets you up for fast-tracked promotion within your party.

Tule's Law

Professor Charles Tule has spent his long and distinguished career studying the political system and how the collegiate party system impacts the ability of the government to make decisions. The pinnacle of his career was the aptly named Tule's Law. This law goes some way to explaining how viral ignorance manages to prevail in many circumstances.

It states that:

The total common sense of a group of politicians is equal to slightly less than half the sum of the common sense of each individual.

This law provides an explanation as to why a group of seemingly intelligent people can get together in parliament and come to conclusions that the rest of the population can see as unwise and stupid in the extreme.

Exhaustive testing of current debates, and research into debates and policy decisions of the last 100 years, has conclusively proven that this law stands the test of time. While further testing is underway, it is generally believed that this law will not be able to be challenged. Professor Tule is now carrying out further research to see if he can refine his theory to find out whether there is a critical mass where very large groups of politicians have the capacity to lose all common sense whatsoever.

In addition to the proven theories there are also a number of way out and clearly insane ideas that deserve some attention if only to refute them. There was a theory that politician's offices are a portal to parallel universes, and that this was the reason why so many of them, and their advisors, were so lacking in a grip on reality. Since then it has been proven that the lack of a grip on reality is merely a quirk in the political personality - it is a naturally occurring phenomenon. There was also a theory that politician's minds were, much like those of birds, aligned with the earth's magnetic field and that any small changes in this field led to them wandering around in a state of confused and directionless chaos. This has also been disproven as most politicians find direction difficult to find at the best of times and often go careering off at random angles if pushed for decisions, irrespective any outside influences.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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