On Newsnight on BBC2 last Monday, David Cameron, replying to questions on his personal views, said he preferred ancient to modern measurements. One of our regular contributors, John Frewen-Lord, speculates where such nostalgia might lead.
Mr David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister, has spelt out a number of measures aimed at securing the UK’s position as one of the leading technologically-advanced countries. The most recent announcement was that British schoolchildren should now be taught primarily in Roman numerals, rather than the Arabic numerals the rest of the world uses. The next phase of this program is to teach British schoolchildren primarily in Cuneiform script, rather than the 26-letter alphabet we use now.
In justifying such a move, Mr Cameron stated, “It is very important for the future of this country that British schoolchildren are given an edge over their counterparts in other countries. Part of that edge is ensuring that they use number and language systems that no-one else uses. That will ensure that the rest of the world will beat a path to the UK’s front door, and preserve the UK’s high standard of living.”
Already, manufacturers of computers and calculators have been instructed to produce special keyboards for the UK, with Roman numerals and Cuneiform script replacing the characters we see today. Most manufacturers have promised to keep the extra costs incurred down to no more than double current costs.
On the roads, the current system of speed and distance road signs will be replaced with those using Roman numerals. New cars will have speedometers reading in Roman numerals only, while owners of existing cars will have to convert their current speedometers. It is estimated that such additional costs can be kept to less than £500 per vehicle. Road signs involving words will be converted to Cuneiform over a period of time. The UKMA is already planning to re-issue its booklet on road signs, now renamed as ‘Roman Signs Ahead’.
But this is merely the tip of the iceberg. The Prime Minister’s party, at its recently held conference, vowed to move Britain much farther into the future (or should that be the past?). New concepts in data transmission are being secretly trialled. In an effort to show the Party’s ‘Green’ credentials, these will involve using natural materials only, such as stone, animal skins and wood. Such data transmission does not even use any electricity; instead it uses unique physical implements to embed the script directly into the stone or wood. Mr Cameron stated that he preferred such methods, regardless of the fact that some people might consider them retrograde.
Once a new generation of children emerges schooled in these proposed changes in British society, there will be many companies ready to cater to this new way of thinking. We have already learnt of the following books or articles – all in Cuneiform script of course – that will help British society to adjust to the changes coming:
- Stone tablets without tears – how to choose the right stone and the correct implements to get perfect results every time.
- Pyramid-Building for Dummies
- Become a Gladiator! An exciting new career opportunity.
- Togas for your children – don’t let your children be embarrassed in front of their friends by wearing last year’s toga.
- Is the wheel really that good? We test the latest stone wheel head-to-head against traditional log rollers.
- The latest Autumn collection of cave paintings – keep your cave looking fresh with these exiting new designs.
Some critics have suggested to Mr Cameron that his decision to change British society in this way – starting with the teaching of numeracy in schools primarily using Roman numerals – was out of touch with the way the world is developing in the 21st century. “Nonsense!” was the Prime Minister’s response. “It is important that we in Britain punch above our weight in today’s world. And switching the way our society develops is key to that initiative. I have already instructed the Minister for Education to start withdrawing all books showing Arabic numerals. That way we in Britain can show the world that we mean business!”
There was no comment from the other party leaders.