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

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Nick’s accident has been an education for my lexicon

Rebecca Armstrong
 

How did swearing ever get so frowned upon?

Stefano Hatfield
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links