What's a nice land like you doing in a town like this?
Matthew Parris on the problem of size and fit:
Iceland, according to yesterday's Times, has a population “no larger than Coventry”. A few pages later we discover that the entire Icelandic citizenry “would fit comfortably into a suburb of St Petersburg”. Earlier I heard a commentator claim the Icelandic population approximated to Basingstoke's. On the radio, even less plausibly, I heard someone propose High Wycombe as the comparison.
Before this gets out of hand, don't yardsticks need standardising? I realise we ditsy readers have trouble getting our heads round the size of the population of Iceland, but do we breathe a relieved “Ah! Now I see!” on being invited to compare it with that of Coventry? How many of us have the least idea of size of Coventry? Or of how many people might fit into a suburb of St Petersburg?
We're getting into double-decker bus territory here. By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, the Icelandic population would fit into about 6,000 double-decker buses, which, piled on top of each other, would reach 600 times the height of Nelson's Column. If Icelanders all linked hands they would stretch from London to Leeds - whose population, incidentally, is twice the size of Iceland's.
Perhaps they should all get laid end to end. It would break the ice and they might come up with an ice figure or two.
Talking of skimpy briefs....
Posted on 10/09/2008 2:00 PM by Mary Jackson