Revealed: blame the pope

Why is it that some societies are very corrupt whereas others are more or less uncorrupt? According to a research paper presented today by Jonathan Hopkin, the well-known LSE academic, it is all down to religion. In Protestant countries people are, on the whole, incorruptible whereas people in Catholic countries can’t get anything done without giving or accepting bribes. As Hopkin told a captivated capacity crowd in the LSE auditorium: It’s all the pope’s fault! Look, I ran an SPS regression and the pope is the most significant variable.

Late on Wednesday evening, the Vatican was not available for comments but in an official statement the director of the London School of Ergonomics said he feared ex-communication. Research is not only about facts, the director pointed out, values enter into it as well. Academics need to take more responsibility for their conclusions.

Dennis the Penis

A funny thing happened at work today. The most pompous of my colleagues — Oxbridge education, plummy accent — was giving a long and particularly tedious talk. Then he drew something on the blackboard. An impromptu map, I think, but at this stage I was no longer paying attention. He continued speaking but turned around repeatedly and added to the map. For each addition the picture began to look more and more like a penis. After a while there was no doubt. There it was: a perfectly formed manhood in all its fully erect glory. Testicles, pubic hair and everything. I began laughing. First a little snicker, than a louder guffaw. Heads were turning in my direction. I whispered my observation to the person next to me who made a face of disgust. How dared I! Not funny. Not funny at all.