Passing Observations 111

This is a long standing series of small items which have caught my eye or mind and which seem relevant, startling, amusing or all three. Occasionally, items which appear here may return as a longer piece. Mostly they will not.

  1. The UK Government is fast tracking legislation through Parliament ‘in consequence of recent events in Ukraine’. Why am I not surprised.
  2. If you die before your 75th birthday then your beneficiaries can draw down money from your pension scheme tax free. If you die after your 75th birthday they’ll generally pay income tax on the amounts they draw down from the pension. Quite an incentive to kill yourself if you’re approaching 75. (I’m out of temptation because I’m over the age limit.)
  3. Pensioners who don’t have a civil service pension, and who rely on a private pension, will be hit hard by the fact that there has been a 25% drop in dividend payments.
  4. Twitter recently paid out $150 million over claims that it harvested 140 million users’ phone numbers. Twitter had broken a promise made in 2011 after previous incidents. The company exploited customers’ privacy concerns in a way that facilitated further invasions of consumer privacy. Lovely people eh.
  5. ‘Stagnation, inflation and taxation have combined to sound the death knell of capitalism in England.’ – Paul E. Erdman writing in `The Crash of 79’ (first published in 1977).
  6. Is it not slightly odd that the United States is holding over 100 million doses of smallpox vaccine when the disease has been extinct for nearly 40 years.
  7. Antoinette bought me a radio controlled car for my birthday. It is supposed to do around 35 mph. The snag is that on the box there is a label saying ‘suitable for 14-year-olds and older’. I am usually OK with stuff for up to five-year-olds but I’m going to have trouble with this. The back of our garage is stuffed with solar panels, garden equipment, etc. that remains a mystery to me.
  8. It occurred to me that Boris Johnson makes Richard Nixon look positively decent and honest. Johnson masquerades as a gentleman but he doesn’t have a single attribute that would qualify him for that designation. Tory MPs who support him and defend him are reprehensible and indefensible.
  9. A primary school in London is reported to have pupils speaking 60 different languages. Over a third of the pupils are entitled to free meals (a common sign of poverty).
  10. Good broadcasters always employ at least some members of staff who work on the edge. It’s what makes them exciting. I cannot think of anyone employed by the BBC who is likely to know how to spell the word `originality’ let alone know what it means. Please remember not to pay the BBC licence fee (but do it legally, of course).
  11. On the late evening of 4th June I rushed around the house putting buckets and bowls under leaks. The sky was alight with lightning. A thunderstorm raged for two hours. I looked on the Met office site to see how long the storm might last. The Met Office said that there was ‘a 10% chance of precipitation’. And these people claim to know what the weather will be like in the year 2050!
  12. The absurd love affair with ESG is fading fast. For a couple of years now investment bosses have fallen over backwards (and betrayed investors’ interests) in trying to show their allegiance to the absurd demands of ESG. Now the hapless idiots are beginning to realise that ESG will ruin us all.
  13. Global warming is regarded by too many in the media as an established principle – beyond debate. But there is no more evidence in support of global warming than there is that the moon is made of cream cheese. Those who believe in the myth of global warming are ignorant idiots who are a greater threat to us all than any terrorist group.
  14. The celebrated Canadian physician Sir William Osler once said that ‘The desire to take medicine is perhaps the greatest feature that distinguishes man from animals’.
  15. If I were young George, (son of William and Kate and a boy with great expectations) I would be planning for a career outside kinging. His uncle Harry and auntie Meghan will turn Britain into a Republic. And a damned good thing too.
  16. Am I the only one puzzled by the fact that an MP who was spotted looking at tractors on his smart phone has resigned, while the Prime Minister and the Chancellor who have both been fined for breaking the law are still in office. And why has no-one criticised the complainant who looked at the MP while he was looking at tractors? I thought `looking’ was a criminal offence.
  17. Arthur Sackler, whose family company gave the world OxyContin (the opiod painkiller that has launched a thousand lawsuits) helped market Librium and Valium – the world’s first benzodiazepines – spending huge amounts of money on ads in medical journals. (It has always seemed to me that medical journals will take ads for just about anything as long as the drug has a licence and the cheque is large and doesn’t bounce.)
  18. Over 450,000 Americans have died of opiod related overdoses.
  19. Rod Stewart, a singer, complained that the BBC made him sing ‘Sweet Caroline’. How did they make him sing it? Did they threaten to pull out his fingernails? Why didn’t he just say ‘no’?
  20. Rishi Sunak doesn’t have much of a reputation left. I don’t think even Tory MPs would make him the next Prime Minister. He was fined by the police for breaking lockdown laws which he helped create. And his wife managed to avoid paying a good deal of tax. And now Sunak is accused by economists of wasting £11 billion of taxpayers’ money in which the Financial Times calls a ‘debt blunder’. That’s over £180 wasted for every man, woman and child in the UK. Sunak should be forced to pay it back. I’ll have my £180 as a cheque please. I don’t trust bank transfers.

Vernon Coleman’s page book Covid-19: The Greatest Hoax in History was banned four times. But it is now available as a paperback and an eBook. If you’d like a copy please go to