Special Dispatch from the Heedrum Hodrum Collider.
Citizen Cuddis, Paisley, Friday.
Oona Paloma-Blanca is a world expert in the obscure branch of arithmetic known as Dugdale Mathematics. It is a discipline that grew out of Scottish Labour’s desperate need to get a foothold on an alternative reality after the reality they’d been clinging to like a timber after a shipwreck, sank without trace when Jim Murphy’s eleventh-hour surge to Labour failed to materialise, in spades, with brass knobs on it, and a cherry on top, during the last referendum campaign.
Paisley International Airport
Last night, Ms Blanca swanned through the usual Thursday night throng of cosmopolitan sophisticates milling around the arrivals hall of Paisley International Airport. She pitched up at Customs with nothing to declare but a pound of rolling tobacco and a shoogly grasp of numbers.
Ms Blanca is virtually anonymous outside her native Madrid despite her clubby-book looks, Primark fishnets and a bahookie blessed with a rhythmic movement unsurpassed by even the finest of Swiss watches.
Oona is the latest addition to the gaggle of pioneering professors at the Heedrum Hodrum Collider near Paisley. These captains courageous have been pushing the frontier of the limits of the envelope at the cutting edge of the forefront of science — going beyond where no man has gone behind before — for the last two years. This is the team that put the ‘mental’ in ‘experimental’.
“We were so lucky to get her,” said Klaus Vier, the Collider’s Director General. “We were expecting a grant to convert the Collider into an enormous tumble drier during downtime, so we could diversify into domestic laundry services to mitigate the government’s austerity measures. But at the eleventh hour the government decided to divert these funds to provide monogrammed cufflinks for down-at-heel gents in the City.
“That’s when Oona’s mailshot hit the Collider’s doormat. As well as four years’ interest free credit, no medical and a free pen just for enquiring, she pointed out that through the practical application of Dugdale Mathematics we could use the money we never got for the tumble drier to meet the cost of offering her the HHC’s Chair of Dugdale Mathematics.”
“It was a no-brainer,” the professor said when we caught up with him and Oona on their way to the Collider. “We’re a broad church at the HHC but we had no one to champion political quackery until Oona came along. There was a downside to having a woman about the place though: there’s limited scope at the Collider for matters amorous and Oona’s arrival caused more than a few of the professorial staff’s pacemakers to start clicking like geiger counters during a meltdown.
Doctor Funf’s behaviour in particular, bordered on the lycanthropic. We had to ban him from wolf-whistling in the lab and ketamine injections were needed to calm him down every time Oona sashayed her butt from one side of the lab to the other.”
Professor Vier continued: “Essentially, Dugdale Mathematics is Looney Tunes arithmetic applied to fag-packet economics using the Wizard of Oz’s slide-rule. And for the sole purpose of frightening pro-independence voters into believing that their brains will transmogrify into clootie dumplings should they vote for the SNP. It is popular with political parties having zero chance of returning to power in Scotland before Halley’s comet next passes over a polling booth in 2096.”
The professor gave a practical example of Dugdale Mathematics: “Using a subset of the discipline called Baillie Algebra and times-tables made up as you go along, a 1p increase in income tax across all tax bands can be shown to generate enough money to end austerity, pay off the deficit and still have enough left over to give every Scottish citizen a Cadbury’s Creme Egg and every council tenant in Coatbridge a free solar-powered whirly for their drying green.
“In short, Dugdale Mathematics allows you to get a quart out of a pint pot and then repeat the process as often as you like — provided you don’t get elected, at which point all calculations become a busted flush.”
“Dugdale Mathematics isn’t confined to the Labour party,” the professor pointed out. “The Conservative party uses it too. It’s the only way they can half-inch £4.4 Billion from the welfare budget and still claim the very people who will have to trade down from a motorised wheelchair to a walking stick to make ends meet are actually going to be £3 Billion pounds better off.”
Professor Vier offered Ms Blanca the last word. She took a long sook on her Silk Cut and blew a heart-shaped smoke ring into his face (how is that even possible?) and said: ”yo no hablo Inglés”.