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Imaginary numbers: the strange mathematics of UK infrastructure projects

An eminent mathematician writes, "We all remember Bertrand Russell trying to prove an entire logical system of mathematics from first principles in his Principia Mathematica. And then of course Kurt Gödel came along with his Incompleteness Theorems and said, 'That's nearly all bollocks, Bert'. But no-one, until the present Tory party, has ever invented from scratch a whole new method of arithmetic with no founding principles at all.

"Traditionally, arithmetic requires that a solution proved true today must also hold true tomorrow. Otherwise it's clearly not true. So, 'two plus two equals four' has to be valid on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Bank Holiday Mondays. But what if it weren't? What if the answer to 'two plus two' could be whatever you want on any day you choose? This is the important breakthrough in public financing of major infrastructure projects in the UK.

"Take, for example, the deceptively simple space-time inequality formula HS2 = 2 x Hinckley.C

The two variables are both continuously variable, independently. And although they appear linked by the 'equals' sign, that is a special Governmental operator which means, in layman's terms, 'they're both incredible value for money regardless of how much money is applied or how much of the project is completed'.

"HS2 is one of the most important concepts in modern Government mathematics, like zero or infinity. This is because it has no fixed value whatsoever. And the use of hexadecimal fractions in Hinckley.C, .D, .E etc acts as what we call a 'containment number' to shield the population from undesirable, and potentially dangerous, understanding.

"If asked to summarise the result of this breakthrough in number theory, and its application to the real world, I'd have to rely on the old dictum, 'The first 90% of any project accounts for the first 90% of the expense, and the remaining 10% of the project accounts for the next 90% of the expense.

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