Leading Article: Misdial for the voice of reason

Share
Related Topics
It is, says those banal BT advertisements, good to talk. But is it good to talk to the recorded voice of Faith Hammond of Lowestoft? For millions of Britons this weekend, there has been no choice. Queen for a day of the digital network, Ms Hammond was yesterday busy informing everyone who had forgotten that new dialling codes are now in operation. It will, we can be sure, be many weeks, maybe even months, before we have done with her services.

The challenge posed by the need to add the number one to many of the country's best-loved area codes is no small matter. For those in Bristol, Leeds, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield, proud cities all, there is also the added insult of having to change their dialling codes almost completely.

This being Britain, a nation which saw off Napoleon and even coped triumphantly with the advent of decimal coinage, the strains of having to master new telephone codes will be dealt with as such challenges always are - doggedly, defiantly and with good humour.

It is true that other nations deal with these terrible crises differently. For them, it makes more sense to train their youngsters to be numerate and au fait with the latest gadgetry, so that nothing the future can throw at them holds any fears. Our way with numbers and domestic technology is different.

As most of us are largely innumerate, our attitude when mind-numbing changes occur is to suffer first and moan later. Ours not to reason why; per ardua ad astra. Such attitudes have served us well in the past and will do so again.

It is, in truth, hard to think of any event less imbued with significance than national PhONEday, as we were asked to call Easter Sunday yesterday. It seems to suit BT, its old nannyish culture still breaking through, to build up the event. There will, admittedly, be some cost if 3 million fax machines remain incorrectly programmed and continue to send faxes to machines that do not answer. But, in the scale of these things, this is of no moment.

If there is a significance in the new codes, it lies in the simple fact that we have responded so enthusiastically to the new regime of fax, modem and digital phone that we have, contrary to many warnings of a few years ago, outgrown the capacity of the existing codes to handle all the traffic.

So next time you speak to Faith Hammond, remember that hers is the voice of progress, if not of reason.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

PHP Developer - MySQL, RDBMS, Application Development

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: PHP Developer - MySQL, RDBMS, Applicatio...

SAP Business Analyst - Data Migration, £75,000, Manchester

£60000 - £75000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP B...

SAP Data Migration Consultant, circa £65,000, Manchester

£55000 - £75000 per annum: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP Data Migration ...

SAP Data Migration Consultant, circa £65,000, Manchester

£55000 - £75000 per annum: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP Data Migration ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Lyceum Theatre in the West End  

The West End might be beating Broadway, but think about who it is that can afford to fill the seats

Rosie Millard
 

L’Unita: The venerable organ of Italian communism breathes its last

Peter Popham
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star