We allotment codgers love a mystery. Hardly a day passes but we mull one over, they can range from the latest Felix Francis whodunnit to what appear to be over-frequent visits by Jack Smith to Mrs Biggin’s semi. Today’s papers gifted us two mysteries to debate during our brew-break.
The first concerns The God particle, at least that is what the headline writers term it. There is near hysteria regarding the first glimpse caught by scientists of the Higgs boson, the so-called God particle that is thought to underpin the subatomic workings of nature. We learn that physicists Fabiola Gianotti and Guido Tonelli were applauded and borne shoulder-high by hundreds of scientists yesterday as they revealed evidence for the particle found amid the debris of hundreds of trillions of proton collisions inside the Large Hadron Collider at Cern, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva.
Apparently the Higgs bocon is the signature particle of a theory of the origins of mass. Its name derives from Peter Higgs of Edinburgh University who first pointed out the need for the evidence that could be provided by the missing particle. It seems we are now one step nearer knowing where we came from, which will hopefully be more cheerful than where we are going to.
But after some debate we decided that this did not qualify for the Codger’s mystery of the day award on the grounds that we haven’t the faintest idea as to what they are talking about. To us the only mystery is why they bother and whether it justifies the fortune already spent on it. But who are we to suggest that cancer, climate change and such are of more immediate priority?
The second mystery of the day is the Big Society. We have never fathomed out what it is and were reassured today to read that the public administration select committee, having considered the matter at length, are no wiser than us. What is it, they ask. Nick Hurd, the minister for civil service appeared before the wise men and claimed that people fundamentally undertstand it. Having conducted research which showed that only one geezer in Southend had even the vaguest idea, the committee begged to differ. It demanded the appointment of a Big Society minister. That rather upset Mr Hurd, who supposedly already has that dubious honour.
Having read the report I am no clearer as to exactly what David Cameron’s dream is. But one finding by the committee did strike me as worthy of thought. Presumably a key part of this never-never land is volunteering, people coming forward to work for their community. The MPs pointed out that given that the government is financially screwing charities and self-help groups into the dirt whilst at the same time privatising local services previously under the aegis of local authorities, the likelihood of anyone volunteering is reduced. Who would be prepared to work for free for a private profit-making concern?
But is that really what this mysterious society is all about? In May, David Cameron relaunched the policy for the fourth time. If even the select committee is bemused perhaps he should have a go at launch five. Maybe it is all in some way connected with that elusive particle?
At least we have two good questions for next Friday’s quiz. We can be pretty sure that the only responses we will get will be ‘pass’.
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE WITH THIS MIDWEEK ‘ON THE MAP’ QUIZ;
1. W hich South American city has a famous Copacabana beach? 2. The Bass Strait divides which two islands? 3. Which Middle East capital is known locally as El Qahira? 4. Where is the official country home of US Presidents? 5. Whose Vineyard is an island off Cape Cod? 6. Where was checkpoint Charlie? 7. Which US state has a ‘pan handle’ seperating the Atlantic from the Gulf of Mexico? 8. In which two countries is the Dead Sea? 9. The site of ancient Babylon is now in which country? 10. On which river is the Aswam Dam?
OOOOOOOOOO ANSWERS TOMORROW OOOOOOOOOOO