The torrent of information that’s now in the public domain, thanks to various leakers and whistle-blowers, has embarrassed governments and caused a storm of controversy so big it could be seen from space.
But behind the huge headline-grabbing stories we’ve seen in recent months, there’s a whole pile of other hitherto secret information lurking. It’s stuff that governments know but have kept secret from us for their own reasons for many years.
So, for a moment, please forget all that big stuff about governments snooping on us. Thanks to my diligent burrowing into the darkest corners of newly released documents (I took a torch and a canary), I can now reveal many shocking things they wanted to keep from us. No need to thank me. I’ll see you at next year’s journalism awards.
Here, in no particular order, are some of the explosive facts the Government has always known but kept from us...
When, on TV reality shows, results are said to be in “no particular order”, they are always in a particular order.
Hotel and coffee chains with the word “Express” after their names are statistically no faster than those without.
Trains go faster after sunset.
The contract for the new 12th Doctor prohibits after-hours working.
The Government is considering official pardons for people who burp at official functions.
In 1983, as the road haulage industry voted to add a beeping sound to reversing lorries the runner-up noise was a quacking duck.
Despite claims to the contrary, no one album contains all the feel-good hits of our summers.
Joan Rivers died in 1986.
Unbeknownst to audiences, the Queen has twice stood in for an indisposed Dame Helen Mirren on the West End stage.
The word “unbeknownst” has almost died out.
The song Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens was inspired by the writers’ experiences on a chicken farm.
Go-faster stripes on cars work.
Despite billions in research, scientists are unable to produce a “pine forest” air freshener that smells anything like a real pine forest.
There is a secret 13th sign of the zodiac reserved for the super-wealthy.
Russell Grant plans to reveal full details in his will.
All surveys are made up.
In general elections in Poland, while polling Poles is legal, compiling a poll of polls of Poles is not.
The Government controls the weather and everyone at the Met Office is in on it.
A search of the entire database of 90 years of Radio Times reveals that until this sentence, no one has used the word “bumpty-liciously”.
Researchers believe they are three years away from being able to eliminate the gene that causes tutting in British people.
William Shatner knows more than he lets on.
The lazy dog was completely aware of the actions of the quick brown fox but couldn’t be bothered to do anything about it.
Thora Hird was Britain’s last surviving Thora.
Early in 2013, the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, which sets interest rates, secretly decided to meet quarterly because the monthly meetings were “getting boring”.
Cress was invented by the food industry solely to pep up the egg sandwich.
A more thorough search of the entire database of 90 years of Radio Times reveals that the word “bumpty-liciously” has been used on three previous occasions: twice by Stephen Fry and once by James Burke.
Eddie Mair hosts PM Mon–Fri 5.00pm and iPM Sat 5.45am, 5.30pm Radio 4