Monday, 7 September 2015

How many Pakistanis can you fit in a Mini?

Somebody asked me "how many Pakistanis can you fit in a mini?". I'm really the wrong person to ask because I need specifics. If we are talking about the original model then legally, five occupants depending on whether it has been retrofitted with a central seatbelt, but then that's unlikely since there would be insufficient legroom. Outside of the realms of the law you could possibly fit a small child in the boot and perhaps one or two very small children on the laps of passengers. It really depends whether we are staying within law or whether we are pushing it into absurdity in some kind of world record attempt. If it is the former, the question must specify whether the vehicle is in Pakistan as the regulatory regime is different and the enforcement much less stringent.

But then there is also the modern variant of the Mini, which comes in many configurations including an estate version with fold down seats in the rear compartment. But this estimation also requires other parameters be considered in that there is in fact a factory approved, road legal six wheeled limousine variant for which there is no reliable dimensional data available. It also depends on the type of fixtures and furnishings which are also unspecified. This has an impact on the internal volume of the cabin. Certainly a champaign bar would reduce the carrying capacity.

We also need to specify whether the occupants would be alive or dead in that corpses can clearly be manipulated to occupy less space in a way a living individual would find impossible. Were the occupants dead, technically you could liquefy them and thus as a fluid would mean a much inflated figure. And then it depends on the ambient temperature as particle density could make the difference. Also, if it's a convertible and prone to leakage, then there are intrinsic limitations. I'm not saying it is an unanswerable question. Merely that you would have to be in full command of the facts and properly define the parameters of the question before taking anything like an educated guess.

This is actually a serious post though. We often hear the refrain "politicians never give straight answers". The media wants you to hold this view. This is how they assert their supremacy and power over politicians. How often have you listened to a weasel like Eddie Mair or Evan Davies or Jeremy Paxman bully a politician into giving a yes/no answer? Their assumption is that you are stupid, cannot cope with anything with nuance and need everything breaking down into binary options according to parameters that they themselves define - thus controlling the message and preventing politicians from adding new dimensions to a discussion. What is seemingly a simple question can be one badly directed, often deliberately so, that is adjacent to the central issue as a means of diversion.

To properly answer a question, you have to set out the circumstances, make distinctions between the respective components, specify your personal weighting on what you think are the likely parameters and then give your answer according to the scenario you envisage - rather than the paradigm you are being goaded to accept.

It is a highly effective tool of media bias, where the likes of Paxman build their prestige and reputations as a slayers of untruthful politicians when in fact they are political players in themselves attempting to frame the discourse to produce answers they want to hear, rather than what is pertinent to the debate.

Effectively it's the same as insisting on an answer as to how many individuals can fit in a 1960's Mini when in fact the Mini is a modern BMW variant. The interviewee will seek to avoid answering the question because its the wrong question, and yet they come off badly for doing so. This is how the media creates a toxic atmosphere and hostility to politicians which gives them power. Real power. They then become the trusted prism through which we conduct our national conversation.

There is a classic example of this on this Youtube where you can see Evan Davies attempting precisely this deception. He can't cope with the arguments Owen Paterson is making thus uses the technique to steer the discussion on to grounds he is comfortable with. THAT is how they own your opinions.

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