Saturday, October 29, 2005

A very big number indeed

That's how much the occupation of Iraq cost the UK taxpayer in the last financial year (April '04 - March '05). It's very nearly one billion pounds. It's also an increase on last years figures but it's still less than was spent during the first year of the invasion. When a number is that large, I tend to find it difficult to get a proper perspective as to what it really means. What I normally do in these circumstance is try to break the number down into more something a bit more managable.

The cost per year is just too big to understand, so how much did the invasion cost per month?
£75, 830,000
That's still not really comprehensible. How much did it cost per week?
No, still to big. How much did it cost per day then?
What does that buy? Difficult to say really. It looks like hours might be required. How much did it cost per hour?
That's a lot better. I can just about understand that. But it's still more money than I've ever seen (and by quite some margin). You see where I'm going. How much did the occupation of Iraq cost the UK government last year per minute?
And relax. That's a number I can get my head round. It cost £1,730 per minute to occupy Iraq last year. That really is an extraordinarily large amount of money. Hands up anyone who can suggest better ways for a country to spend more than one and a half thousand pound a minute.

All figures are approximate

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