It's a well-known story that whilst the Sicilian/Greek mathematician Archimedes was taking a bath, he noticed the water level rose. Now, today that's like, doh!, of course, mate, but at the time, this was one of great discoveries of the Ancient Greek world. Up there with the kebab even. It founded what we amateur, but enthusiastic, mathematicians still like to call, The Archimedes Principle.
Now, me and Archimedes may not have much in common, but we both reached a revelation whilst we were sat in a bath. Well, in my case, some other bloke sat in a bath. Bitching about how cold the water was. Yeah, I know, I know - time out - this blog takes in an eclectic range of subjects but I seem to be straying towards the banal tonight, and yes, I may have reached the limit of your 'WTF is he on about' - o'metre....
But bear with me Robsonites (@Tim Robson 2015), this shaggy dog tale gets both more profound, and less. The prime mover behind this paradox, some bitching pensioner, discovered that when he bought a costly newly built house last month, the bath water was 'tepid'. Yeah, not hot. He rang in to shout about this. At the time I was doing some charity work for a local business, answering their phone and helping people with housing needs (all right, temping in a building warranties call centre, whatever). So, after some digging, some questioning, some reflection, I found the cause of my caller's ire lay within the sturdy confines of the 2010 Building Regulations (section G).
This unlovely piece of legislation - actually, that modern equivalent of totalitarianism - a Statutory Instrument - sets the delivery temperature of bath water at between 44-46C (plus or minus 2C). This is to stop pensioners burning their arses in hot water and moron parents scalding their babies. Laudable aims, I think you'll agree. But, as JS Mill wrote in On Liberty "You're having a fuckin' laugh, mate." (Can't remember the exact page so I'm kind of summarising a more complex argument about the balance between a paternalistic state and individual liberty. John would agree with my précis though, don't worry about that).
But anyway, like my good mate Archimedes, I came to a revelation and 'Eureka' moment in a bath. Sort of. So I've developed my own principle. A principle future historians will no doubt call, the Robson Principle. Here goes:-
The weight of regulation curtailing individual liberty and the free market is equal to the total mass of legislators, lobbyists, and pressure groups (collectively known as 'wankers') available to justify their existence by annoying everyone else with vexatious and irksome rules using stealthy subclauses and statutory instruments. Or some shit like that.
Okay some of the words may need tuning. And the sentiments. And the conclusion, but damn it!, I think I'm onto something. I strike a blow for freedom, justice and the soul of man. Sips pint. Or something. Whatever. Passes the time between cat feeding times.
Anyway, I've just pulled the trousers down on my new article on Linkedin which explores the same themes, albeit in a more business friendly fashion. You see I can do both high, and low and every gradation in between.
It's a talent.
Maybe Archimedes' bath water was too hot. Hence him leaping out. Just a thought.