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Right answer. Wrong answer.
9 November 2000
You are in a pub. There are three questions, with accompanying answers, below. Please, which are Right, and which are Wrong? Answers please on the back of a self-addressed postcard (stamp required), or send an email.
If you had to have sex with all of the Corrs (including the bloke), in which order would you do them?
I apologise in advance for the clear egocentrism inherent in the question. As a practising heterosexual member of the "grosser and browner sex", I have selected an example that has the most meaning to me. If you wish to suggest a better and less exclusive example, please feel free to do so (see postcard and email instruction above).
The answer to this depends on a few things, but basically, you stick the bloke in the middle (i.e. either second or third). It's like having a roast dinner. You don't have either the best bit or the worst bit right at the beginning or right at the end. You leave the extremes to the middle, where they can be either countered by, or enjoyed directly relative to, each other or the remaining plateful of potatoes (and others such examples of mediocrity).
Or then again, if you're like me, you never have one forkful of just one thing. Which I guess means taking one of the Corrs from behind while having the bloke Corr rub oil onto my nipples, or something. And a nice use of the phrase "meat and two veg".
Wouldn't it be great if all your possessions were attached to very long pieces of string, so that if you forgot to take one somewhere (i.e. keys, wallet, mobile phone), you could just pull on the piece of string, and you would have it?
And this would be even better if you are constantly losing things. It would just be a matter of remembering which piece of string it was attached to. This may become difficult, given that most people have quite a few possessions, and it would be a pain if, thinking you were retrieving your keys to unlock your bike, you actually drag your stereo out to the garage through lots of puddles.
In order to avoid this, you would need to label or colour-code each string depending on what type of item it is (although with the latter option, you would still need a chart showing which colour means what. And then what happens if you accidentally leave your chart on the sofa - it would have to be attached to a piece of string, presumably coloured luminous yellow or something. But that might clash with your socks or something. So, labels it is then).
And it probably wouldn't work if one of your possessions was an anchor. It would get stuck, and the string might break.
Don't get me wrong, I love the Queen and I think she's great. But is there a way that we can retain the monarchy, but ensure that it uses resources both more efficiently and effectively?
Clearly, the Queen provides an essential public service, and is equally obviously a natural regional monopoly. So, why don't we set up regulation for the Queen along the lines of all the other utilities (i.e. water, electricity, gas, etc.) in the UK. Two issues must be considered: efficiency incentives, and the removal of barriers to entry.
Efficiency is where the maximum output is created from the minimum input. What is the output of the monarchy? It is the pomp and ceremony, the visibility of the individuals, the grandeur of the buildings and institutions. First, a level of performance must be set, based in part on historic demand for the Royal product, and in part by a comparison of the costs faced by celebrities from more competitive markets (i.e. Britney, Westlife, Wogan, Beckham etc). In this way, a benchmark for service performance can be set. How are incentives retained, I hear you cry. I'm just getting to that.
It is difficult to conceive of how you can, without contradiction, remove barriers to becoming the monarch. First, the law prohibiting the monarch to be married to a Catholic must be repealed. This has already happened in Scotland. But this does not go far enough. There must be more competition between siblings to attain the throne. This is what I propose (and please bear with me):
First, convert Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle into two huge Big Brother sets, every area under constant surveillance. Then ensure that any crime perpetrated inside either of the areas can not be prosecuted through the normal courts system. All of the members of the Royal Household must then live for the majority of their lives (until becoming the monarch or quitting the House, but with breaks outside for minor Royal functions, and opportunities to find wives/husbands etc) inside the two sets. Then we allow them to plot, conspire against, even murder those higher up the succession list in order to attain the throne. That ensures there is strong competition for the throne, while retaining the tradition of right of passage of the eldest male child.
Not only does the Big Brother scenario encourage competition among the family members, but this is how the Queen's efficiency incentives are retained. Clearly, the situation and behaviour of her family in the Big Brother sets determines the success of and public opinion towards the monarchy. Therefore, the Royal Regulator (or OFQUEEN), can alter the situation in the Royal Household according to how the Queen's performance compares with the targets she was set.
Trust me. I'm an economist.
And remember, answers please. Which are Right, which are Wrong (with reasons). The next round's yours, mate.