Humpty Dumpty Explains Br-eggs-it

“I’m sure that is Humpty Dumpty sitting atop that wall,” Alice thought to herself, espying him from a distance. As she approached she remarked out loud “But he looks just like an egg.”

“And she looks just like a typical Br-eggs-iteer with her public school accent and old-fashioned attire,” came back the riposte.

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”

“I’m sure you do. Everyone is talking about nothing but Br-eggs-it these days.”

Alice was perplexed. What was this egg talking about? “I’m afraid you will have to explain to me a little more what this Br-eggs-it is about.”

“It was all made to sound very reasonable at first. People wanted to eat eggs for breakfast, but they would have been much better to leave things as they were. They should never have held the referendum”

“And how were things before Br-eggs-it?”

“Well, the eggs belonged to the chickens and everything was fine. But oh, no some old timers insisted they wanted a traditional British breakfast with omelettes and other assorted trimmings and so they demanded to have eggs.”

“Well I’m sure it wouldn’t be such a problem for them to have a few eggs.”

“Ah, it is easy for you to think so but it is not so easy to make it happen. Article 50 in the Constitution clearly specifies that such momentous decisions need first to be voted for by the majority of the farm population and then argued over for two years.”

“Two years to implement such a simple thing!” Alice found herself opining, almost involuntarily. “That is a long time!”

“To implement the decision? Oh no. That two years is just to agree the terms of the implementation period, assuming that there is an implementation.”

“Oh now I am becoming confused. Whyever so?”

“Well, the terms of the deal need first to be agreed. And the chickens need to endorse the deal.”

“That seems reasonable, since it was the chickens that laid the eggs.”

“Yes, but the chickens have been most insistent that the farmers cannot both have their eggs and break them. And any deal must respect that principle.”

“I can see that would make it difficult to make omelettes.”

“You may say, but the chickens are now requiring that, after the implementation period of the deal, if no way can be found to make omelettes without respecting the integrity of the eggs to the chickens’ satisfaction, we will enter into a backstop arrangement wherein the farmers agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the farm animals over all matters of husbandry and cultivation.”

“Well I can’t imagine the farmers will be happy about that!”

“Then they should have thought about the consequences before they went ahead with such a foolhardy Br-eggs-it scheme.”

“But will the animals be able to take on the onerous responsibility of looking after the farm? Who will protect them from predators?”

“Don’t you think the animals are perfectly capable of protecting themselves? The chickens have managed fine by putting up a ‘No foxes allowed’ sign outside the coop. Not one animal has come to any harm on the farm for many years.”

“I’m not sure that is entirely true,” interrupted Alice. “Why I heard the farmer has shot dead three foxes in only the last month.”

“You expect the chickens to trust the farmers? The very rascals who want to have the eggs and break them to satiate their nostalgic craving for a breakfast menu that should have gone out of fashion with the Spice Girls?”

“Pardon me, but who are the Spice Girls?”

“Exactly! That is my point. So the animals have decided to take back control and establish proper sovereignty.”

“But how can they take back control if they never had it in the first place. And how are they going to make decisions when all the different animals want different things?”

“Desperate times call for desperate measures…” By this time the little egg-head had all but given up any attempt to hide his partisan views about the Br-eggs-it issue.

“But wasn’t the original Br-eggs-it problem that nobody could agree a solution that worked for the farm as a whole?” Alice persisted. “How does a takeover by the animals change that fact?”

“Clearly we will need to hold a referendum to fix the problem. You really must stop interrupting.”

“Now I am just getting more and more confused. Didn’t you say it was a referendum that started all the trouble? And that holding a referendum was a bad idea?”

“You really don’t understand this Br-eggs-it at all, do you? I can see I’d better start again from the beginning.”

“Oh dear, I’m sure I told him when he started that I didn’t understand Br-eggs-it,” thought Alice to herself. She could see it was going to be a long day…

About the Author

Colin Turfus
Colin Turfus is a quantitative risk manager with 12 years experience in investment banking. He has a PhD in applied mathematics from Cambridge University and has published research in fluid dynamics, astronomy and quantitative finance.

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