A considered reply to the rainfall tax

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The Independent Online
So, how will this new rainfall tax work?

Well, every time that it rains for a long time, somebody somewhere makes a lot of money out of it.

Obviously that's not fair.


So the Government is going to tax the people who make a lot of money out of rainfall.

Right. That's the gist of it.

Thank you very much.

Is that the end of the interview?

Well, that seems to wrap it up, doesn't it?

I don't think that's what they call an in-depth interview.

Oh. Isn't it?

No. Better ask some more probing questions.

Right ... Were were we?

You were saying: "So how will this new rainfall tax work?".

Oh, right. So, how will this new rainfall tax work exactly?

That's interesting.

What's interesting?

You added the word "exactly".

Did I?

Yes. I suggested that you said, "How does this new rainfall tax work?", and you said, "OK" and then you said, "How does this new rainfall tax work, exactly?".

Did I?


Why did I do that?

Because interviewers these days have discovered that they sound more intelligent if they ask stupid questions in an intelligent-sounding way.

That's interesting. Can you give me another example?

Certainly. One of the interviewer's favourite questions to politicians who have programmes to implement is this: "Where are you going to get the money from?".

Ah! And to make it sound more intelligent they say: "Where are you going to get the money from, exactly?"?

No. They say: "So, what areas are you going to target to find the additional resources in order to source the funding for this initiative?".

Blimey ... What does that mean?

It means, "Where are you going to get the money from?".

I get you. So ...

So you ask me who this rainfall tax is going to affect.

Right. So, who exactly is this new rainfall tax going to target?

Excellent ... ! Well, there are some people in the world who make enormous amounts of money out of rainfall ...

Good heavens! Are there really?

Oh, yes.

Name some.

Rice farmers. Umbrella manufacturers. Hydro-electric engineers. Water company tycoons. Deep-sea divers. Manufacturers of tumble dryers ...

Manufacturers of tumble dryers?

Yes. Every time it rains, it means people can't hang their washing out to dry, so more people buy tumble dryers.

Right. So, who else makes money out of rain?

Hairdressers. Bookmakers. Ornamental pond salesmen. Make-up manufacturers. White-water raft companies. Raincoat makers ...

Yes, yes, I get the point. Just a moment. Bookmakers? How do bookmakers make money out of rain?

Bookmakers make money out of everything.

How do they make it out of rain?

Well, let's say two friends decided to have a bet on which of two raindrops got to the bottom of a window first ...

They wouldn't go to a bookie to place their bet.

True. All right, have you ever thought that every time an event on which lots of money is wagered is rained off, the bookies keep it all?

Is that true?

I think so. Fishermen. Farmers. Taxi drivers. Marquee hirers. Owners of village halls ...

How do owners of village halls make money out of rain?

Have you never seen the sign "If Wet, In The Village Hall"?

Hmm. And taxi drivers?

Every time it rains, pedestrians jump in the nearest taxi.

Right. So we have all these people who make a fortune out of rain, right?


And the Government is going to soak them?

Ha ha.

How will it do it?

How will it do what?

I'm sorry. I mean, how will this new tax be implemented exactly?

Well, every time it rains.

Miles Kington writes: I am sorry. I have just been informed that it is a windfall tax that is being introduced, not a rainfall tax. Please ignore this interview and tune in again on Monday.