Many people are aware of the Richter scale is used to rate the magnitude of earthquakes. As I waked into a supermarket this lunchtime, I happened to glance the front page of the Daily Telegraph. It was plastered with another one of those stories about how much safety and richer we are all going to be because of Brexit. I didn’t have a chair to fall off but if I did I would have fallen off it. I know it’s the silly season but the ludicrous notions that are spread by the right-wing Press, as a monster face saver, are just beyond belief. The detail isn’t worth bothering about but the effect of such plagues of wrongheaded wibble are real. Normality isn’t normal anymore. It’s disturbing.
It got me thinking that we need a scale to judge the ridiculousness of a Brexit story. A minor bit of fake news about a foreign cat up a tree could be down at one end of the scale. Up at the other end is a front-page story so utterly monstrously absurd that it ruptures the fabric of reality for everyone who reads or hears it. There may even be a potential for developing a Brexit News Story warning system. Now, following Mr Richter’s wise thinking, a scale of zero to ten might just do it. Let’s say:
Between zero and one, not much is felt. Rationality isn’t disturbed. Emotions are not aroused. Any instrument of measurement hardly flickers.
Between one and four you know something crazy is on the table. It gets a bit tricky just to pretend it’s not happening. You are starting to feel slightly annoyed.
Between four and five loud expressions, such as; “they can’t be serious” start to become usable. You really feel you are in the company of strangers from another planet.
Between five and six, damaged reputations are common. Heavy handed “newspeak” is all over the place. Bogus university prophets come out of the woodwork to justly the impossible or improbable.
Between six and seven the straight jacket needs to be on hand. Tin foil helmets are mandatory. Everything is scribbled in fine green ink. Fever pitch anger oozes out of radios upsetting even the hardest heart.
Between seven and eight the total devastation of normality starts to occur. Lemmings fling themselves off cliffs. A rift in time and space seems inevitable. All British cats become millionaires.
Upwards of eight is a place no none sane wants to go. Monkeys at keyboards really do start to write better stories than journalists. The largest ever read or heard piles of nonsense rarely go this far.
My forecast is that over the next 12 months there will be a storm of fives with one or two sevens in certain areas. We should avoid the eights but there is no guarantee.