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And the winner is.......

A week or two back you'll remember I said it sometimes pays to have a sense of humour about the serious matters of state.

As a case in point I referred to Finance Minister Bob Richards who — when asked about the prospect of further job losses before the end of the year — was quoted as saying, “statisticians don't run governments, economists do”. Now, I don't know about you but on reading this I kept thinking there was a punch line there somewhere. It's often been said that there's many a truth in jest, so I offered to hand out a $50 prize to the reader who delivered what I thought was the best line.

Let's dispense with suspense, the winner of the punch line quiz is the person who posts by the name of Wannabee and who completed the Finance Minister's comment this way: “Statisticians don't run Governments, economists do ... and then politicians run those governments straight into the ground.”

It wasn't easy picking a winner, readers came up with some good lines. VB from Devonshire called me with a line she remembered from Yes, Minister, one of the all-time favourite send-ups of politics and politicians.

It was something Sir Humphreys said: “But, Mr. Minister, everybody knows economists don't run the Government the civil service does.” In the context of the recent selection of a new Commissioner of Education and the spirited defence by the PS Warren Jones, the comment may not be far off the mark!

Readers will also see a submission from Bermuda's Famous columnist. Unfortunately, I told him, the unwritten rules of ‘columnism' (mine) prevent me from choosing him. We will do lunch instead.

But hey, it was fun and we'll do it again some time. All we need is a public comment that cries out for a punch line. I mean how hard can that be? What follows is a selection of the submissions: —


A government economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.

A government statistician is an expert who will know today the things he predicted for tomorrow which are based on things which happened yesterday.

Therefore, a government economist can predict yesterday what a government statistician will predict tomorrow, meantime nothing gets done today!


“Statisticians don't run governments, economists do”, and the punchline is that an economist is a specialised statistician!


... and all Government experts know more and more about less and less until they know absolutely everything about nothing.


“Something will be done somewhere, just not here, or now but possibly at some time in the future when the time is right and then you will see the results. Said results will be as expected but not as predicted because a prediction might bias the outcome of the findings that will surely present themselves sometime.”


“Somethings got to give” said the guy who is about to collect a $125,000,000.00 guarantee. Or let's try this line: “Why did the Education Minister flunk his interview?”. Or maybe: “Is Crockwell gonna reapply to the new Tourism Authority for his now redundant position?”


“Statisticians don't run governments, Economists do”, 50 percent of the time anyways. The remainder of the economists' time is spent reviewing the data gathered by the statisticians in preparation for the next election. Based on current data, we forecast this trend to continue for the next several years, with 90 percent confidence and a 20 percent margin of error. Any questions on the numbers can be directed to the statisticians.


“Statisticians don't run governments, economists do” ... because everyone else is busy. And I thought politics was about marketing. But, unfortunately, knowledge of economics on its own doesn't help. Doctors don't run hospitals but try running a hospital without them.


The economist ...”missed” the mark — just government “meant” to do better!

I have to leave it to Wannabee to contact me for the $50, and I will need proof of course that you are who you say you are, that is that you are the real Wannabee, and not an impostor. This could be fun too — and challenging.

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Published September 11, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm)

And the winner is.......

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