Laurie Taylor column

November 30, 2001

From: Maureen

It is that time of year again when we deck the hall with boughs of holly and bicker about the departmental Christmas dinner.

As you may recall, the Departmental Board decided that the nature of this year's dinner should be decided by ballot. This, it was argued, would allow individual preferences to be expressed without arousing the type of emotion that led last year to a serious assault on a vegan postgraduate tutor, and a drive-by shooting in which Dr Quintock sustained near fatal injuries to his bicycle. It was further agreed that votes should be weighted as follows:

  • Senior lecturers and above: triple weighting
  • Other academic staff: double weighting
  • Research staff: single weighting
  • Postgraduate tutors: half weighting.

The results of the ballot are as follows:

Gastronomic choice

  • Chinese: 32 per cent
  • Harvester Christmas dinner (with all the trimmings): 24 per cent
  • Your basic Indian: 37 per cent
  • Vegan: 7 per cent.

Your basic Indian elected .

Seating plan

  • Decided by prior ballot: 25 per cent
  • Arranged by status: 34 per cent
  • I'll sit anywhere but next to Mr Odgers: 41 per cent.

Not next to Mr Odgers elected .

Agreed drink entitlement (per person)

  • Three pints of bitter (or one bottle of wine): 22 per cent
  • One-and-a-half pints (or half bottle of wine): 8 per cent
  • Six pints of bitter (or two bottles of wine): 70 per cent.

Six pints elected .

Therefore, this year's Christmas dinner will held in the Star of India with six pints of bitter (or two bottles of wine) allocated to each person and with Mr Odgers seated separately. It is perhaps worth mentioning that this innovative exercise in democratic participation has resulted in a Christmas dinner that is identical to the departmental Christmas dinners we have held for the past 22 years.

Seasonal greetings, Maureen.

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