Passing Observations 180

Dr Vernon Coleman

1. How convenient it was that that the awfully sad Titanic mini sub story lasted nearly a week. I gather the authorities knew within hours that the mini sub had imploded but pretended to keep searching. The story was clearly kept going to help smother the story about Joe Biden’s son Hunter – who got away with a wrist smack for offences which, I suspect, might have put lesser mortals behind bars. It’s called news management, and propaganda organisations in the mainstream media have got really good at it. I repeat: the authorities knew that the Titan submarine had imploded six days before they released the news. Did they keep this news secret from relatives too? We prayed for the men in the sub, and I now feel tricked and cheated. Nothing new about that, though.

2. The Arts Council in England announced that it was giving nearly half a billion pounds of taxpayers’ hard earned money to organisations which describe themselves as in some way associated with the arts and which said they could use some free money, please. The rash way in which taxpayers’ money is wasted takes little heed of reality. A tiny percentage of the population pays 90% of the tax paid in to H.M.Treasury and yet thousands of those in the tiny percentage are leaving the country every year. At the same time around 1,000,000 immigrants are coming into the country ever year – and most of them will expect to be subsidised by taxpayers. The whole nature of the population is being changed and the future for Britain looks very weak. We have a political system which discourages thrift and punishes hard work but, simultaneously, encourages laziness and reckless spending. It’s all designed to take us into a world where we will own nothing.

3. In the 1990s every company was a dot com company. It didn’t matter what they made they described themselves as a dot com company in order to excite potential shareholders. Then everyone in business became a block-chain company. If your local corner store wanted some investment it rebranded itself The Block-chain Corner Shop. Today, everything is an AI company. The corner shop has become the AI Corner Shop.

4. The ESG gestapo are so strict that companies can only get a bank loan if they can prove (by filling in loads of forms) that they invest only in sustainable goods. I have grown to despise the word `sustainable’ and everyone who uses it.

5. Tennis player Emma Raducanu is convalescing and cannot play. So she has (inevitably) an online video channel. Fans pay $5 a month or, if they send a video of themselves playing tennis together with $2,000 they can have personalised advice on how to improve their technique. I’m setting up a new channel. Anyone who sends me $2,000 can have personalised advice on their tiddlywinks technique. I may make a fortune.

6. A man or woman without a purpose is nothing.

7. The French tax authorities are using Google Earth and AI to help track down naughty people who have undeclared swimming pools. Evil Google has developed software which can cross check satellite images with land registry records. Tax inspectors chase homeowners who have undeclared pools. A private swimming pool adds 500 euros a year to tax bills. Oddly, not long ago Google paid almost 1 billion euros for tax evasion.

8. The BBC said that Nicola Sturgeon was the exception to Enoch Powell’s rule that all political careers end in failure. She was then arrested. Sturgeon will be remembering for a decade of decay and division and for endless virtue signalling during the fake pandemic – including making Scottish children wear masks for months more than English children.

9. Why is it, incidentally, that the Scots who want independence from the UK, which they regard as a fascist state, are the same Scots who wanted to stay in the EU – a large fascist super-state? Too much whisky on their porridge, perchance.

10. Every economist knows that if you raise taxes too high, the tax income will fall. When taxes are unfairly high people either emigrate or stop working. The same thing happens with companies. The UK Government says its windfall tax on oil companies will bring in £26 billion in the next five years. But it won’t, because oil companies are moving away from the UK. Harbour, the biggest independent North Sea producer has cut planned expansion in the UK and 350 workers will be made redundant.

11. The UK Government wants to force pension funds to start investing in risky bits of the stock market. This is surely contrary to the fiduciary duties of the pension funds but it will impoverish millions.

12. The UK is being punished for leaving the EU. Companies in the UK are struggling because they have to deal with more regulations than companies in the EU or the US. The Government promised to get rid of the daftest EU laws but instead it has just added piles of new laws to the ones produced by the EU.

13. YouTube has removed all the old television programmes in which I appeared – some of them dating back to the 1980s and even earlier. What on earth were they frightened of?

14. `You were not made to live like brute beasts, but to pursue virtue and knowledge.’ – Dante.

15. I found a cutting the other day which reminded me that when I was at medical school I ran a discotheque called The Gallows for kids in Birmingham. (There was nothing else for them to do in the 1960s). As part of the entertainment I used an epidiascope to project pathology slides on the ceiling (I couldn’t afford the proper lighting). I mentioned on the Light Programme (the forerunner of Radio 2) that this was proving very successful. Unfortunately, the Medical School Dean heard the programme. He was quite decent about this and insisted only that I returned the epidiascope to the pathology department. You can find more strange stories in my three volumes of autobiography entitled `Memories 1’, `Memories 2’ and `Memories 3’.

16. `Seek the truth and endure the consequences.’ – John Wick 4

17. Australia has the highest cigarette taxes in the world but smoking among young people has increased six-fold in the last four years. Maybe an Aussie politician will add these two facts and get something other than fish as the answer.

18. The roads in Britain are 48% more congested than roads in America and 15% more congested than roads in the EU.

19. The 2012 Olympics in London cost taxpayers at least $20 billion. And the Olympic Stadium continues to cost taxpayers a small fortune. Why on earth do countries compete to hold the Olympics? The last city to make a profit was Los Angeles in 1984.

20. The world advertising spend is around $500 billion with Meta, Amazon, Google and Apple taking $340 billion of that. Advertisers who spend money on the big four don’t seem to realise that less than 1% of web users click on adverts.

21. Around a quarter of all 16-24 year olds in China plan to work in the IT or internet sector – as influencers, etc. Unfortunately, if 25% of the Chinese work as influencers, who are they going to influence? It reminds me of the time in the 1990s when the majority of American college students said they intended to start .com businesses, become multi-millionaires and retire before they reached 30 years of age. I wonder how that worked out for them.

Copyright Vernon Coleman June 2023