Metro 86

Richard Herring: My manifesto for idiots

Friday 18 Oct 2013

I read a newspaper article that claimed 50 per cent of 999 calls are either hoaxes, pranks or involved trivial incidents that did not warrant bothering the police, ambulance or fire brigade (or coast guard – never forget the coast guard).
Here are some genuine examples of idiotic people ringing the emergency services for dumbass reasons: an old woman who was having trouble turning on her television set; a man enquiring about the score in a recent Middlesbrough football match (as if supporting ’Boro wasn’t dim enough already); a teenager who’d missed his last bus and needed a lift home (doesn’t he know what parents are for?); and a man who’d received an electricity bill that he’d already paid.
These aren’t funny. These stupid people are clogging up the phone lines, meaning that non-stupid people experiencing genuine emergencies can’t get through and are getting injured and killed.
And by the way, I am not talking about stupidity and intelligence as measured by academic qualifications here. I went to one of the best universities in the country and, believe me, I met some of the densest people I’ve ever seen there (most of them are in the current Cabinet). The problem here is people who lack basic common sense.
Which is why I propose we set up a different emergency number for these fudge-brained time-wasters. Everyone in the country has to sit an exam in the bleeding obvious, so a sample question might be:
Q: You receive an electricity bill that you’ve already paid. Do you:a) Not worry about that at all. Your letters have probably crossed in the post. If it’s still an issue after another fortnight, then maybe ring your electricity supplier and explain what’s happened and they will surely sort it out. At no point would you even consider dialling 999. Only an idiot would do that.b) Dial 999?(The correct answer is a.)
Anyone who fails the test is given a different emergency number. Let’s say it’s 666 (it’s OK, they’re stupid, they won’t understand the significance). That line is manned, 24 hours a day, by a pigeon, which will just coo reassuringly down the line at them.
‘I can’t turn on my TV set.’
‘Cooo cooo cooo!’
‘Ooooh, thanks, you’ve made me feel a lot better.’
The slight downside of this system is that occasionally a stupid person will be in a genuine emergency and will come to serious harm… I think that’s a small price to pay for knowing that I can always get through to the emergency services because no one is clogging up the switchboard because they’ve mistaken the moon for a UFO and think we’re being invaded by aliens (still not making this up).
Stupid people have to learn. But they won’t. That’s the intrinsic problem right there in a nutshell.
These nincompoops are costing the taxpayer millions of pounds a year. Something has to be done. Which is why I am setting up the British No Nitwits Party (the BNNP), which if elected, promises to deport all people who display any sign of basic foolishness. Of course only someone really spunkbrained would think that this was any kind of solution.
By voting for the BNNP they’ll have booked themselves a ticket on the first boat out of here. We’ll make sure that consequence is clearly spelled out in our manifesto. Not that that will help them understand.
Stupid people don’t even know they’re stupid. In fact, the most stupid ones think they’re the only clever ones.
Sometimes I think no one can see this except me.
Richard’s show, We’re All Going To Die!, is touring nationally until April 2014. For tickets and details, visit