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December 19th. Statistics.

I feel sure that the Owner has forgotten my Momentary Lapse of Apparent Loyalty. It was, as she said, not Typical of the Moral Dog. Even Squeaky Cat has forgiven me and he has High Moral Standards. He allowed me to me squeak him repeatedly for nearly ten minutes yesterday, and it would have been Longer had the Owner not started Howling. I do not remember it at all myself. As Scarlett O’Hara said, Tomorrow is Another Day.

Today, I am being a Very Good Dog when we pass a queue of Small Humans and an Elf. It seems Our Esteemed Visitor is back.

Why is Santa back again? I ask the Owner. I have already told him what I want for Christmas, and he has already said I am a Good Dog.

He needs to keep checking, says the Owner, to make sure you are still a Good Dog. I get a Sense that she may be Referring to Something Better Forgotten.

I had not realised Santa was so obsessive, I say.

Santa likes to be sure, she says. It would not do for Santa to be Easily Deceived by rare instances of Good Behaviour. It would be like the World imagining the Prime Minister of Great Britain holds Racist Views based on those few instances of Somewhat Derogatory Language he has used with Journalistic License in the Past. One does not want the World thinking that the Prime Minister of Great Britain is a Bit of an Oaf, Goodness Me.

Heaven Forbid, I say.

Indeed, she says.

So Santa may have taken Many Other Opportunities to Observe the Moral Dog’s Good Dog Behaviour? I ask.

I expect he will have done, she says. Many Other Opportunities. Once again I get a faint sense that she has More to Say.

Something Troubles Me. A Vague but Niggling Memory of a Day, not all that Long Ago, when there was a Misunderstanding regarding a Frisbee.

How often does Santa typically attend in order to Observe the Moral Dog and indeed the Prime Minister? I ask. Do you think he attends Every Day?

No, she says, he cannot possibly come Every Day, not with the Entire House of Commons to cover. I believe He comes on Random Days in order to observe a Representative Sample offering him a High Probability of Accuracy in his Conclusions. This is called Statistics.

I see, I say. I feel it may be sensible to focus on the Prime Minister rather than the Moral Dog. So if the Prime Minister were to Prorogue Parliament when Santa was not looking this would not Count Against Him? I ask, as Clarity is Important at Times Like This.

Well, says the Owner, Santa might well fail to take it into Account, but it would Still be a Matter for the Prime Minister’s Moral Conscience.

I thought you said the Prime Minister did not have a Moral Conscience, I say.

I might have said that, she says.

So the Prime Minister had better be Good for Goodness’ Sake, I say.

I Believe there is a Song to That Effect, she says.

I am still troubled. Santa’s approach seems to me a little Risky, I say. Santa might, for Example, view the Prime Minister on an Atypical Day, one on which he was a Paragon of Virtue, and form an Entirely False Impression.

Yes, she says. That is the Risk of Statistics. It is all to do with p numbers. Although, she adds, in the case you Mention, Santa would have to watch for a Long Time.

I think we agreed that I was a Good Dog yesterday, I say, as if the thought had Only Just Occurred to me. So I assume this would have helped my Good Dog p numbers immensely.

Indeed, she says, yesterday was indeed Notable for the Goodness of the Moral Dog, although I believe Santa may have been Elsewhere yesterday. One must hope that the Vagaries of p numbers have not give Santa a False Impression based on Any Other Day. I think I detect a tone which suggests that her memories go back Slightly Further than Yesterday.

That is a Shame, I say. One would not want Santa to miss out on Such Typical Days.

That is Statistics, she says. There I always a risk that Santa may Form a View of the Moral Dog on an Atypical Day. I am Slightly Troubled by a Strange Memory that seems to feature a Moment of Apparent Disloyalty.

I look at the Queue of Children. What do you think Santa might do if he Inadvertently Misjudged the Moral Dog? I ask. Or indeed the Prime Minister, I add, so that she does not think this is About Me.

It would rather depend, says the Owner, on what the Prime Minister – or indeed the Moral Dog – had asked Santa to deliver. For Example, the Prime Minister might have asked for Influence over the Judiciary but might instead get a Flea in his Ear.

The Moral Dog would not get a Flea in his Ear, I say. I am given Regular Drops for That.

No, she says. In the Entirely Hypothetical Case of the Moral Dog he might ask for a new Squeaky Cat but in fact receive a Frisbee. I feel that her use of the word Frisbee may not be Entirely Coincidental.

I clear my throat. Do you think Santa might, to pick a Random Example, have been watching the Day Before Yesterday? I ask.

Let’s hope not, she says.

I knew it.

Categories: christmas dignity dog dog philosophy

Hergest the Hound

I am a dog of many thoughts.

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