Passing Observations 3

Vernon Coleman

1. Now that we have decided to leave the EU we can all stop using metric measurements and go back to using proper Imperial measurements. We can bring back the mile, the yard, the foot and the inch and get rid of metres and their smaller relatives. We can exhume the pound and the ounce and get rid of the kilogram and the gram. The BBC eager to please its masters in Brussels has been a huge fan of metric measurements. But whenever you see the BBC still using metric measurements write and complain.

2. London is the largest city in Europe. It has nine million residents. The second largest city is Berlin with three million. London is also the richest city in Europe. The GDP per head in London is six times the average within the EU. London has the largest stock exchange in Europe with more than 3,000 companies listed. Europe needs England more than we need them.

3. Of the top ten universities in the world three are British. None of the others is European.

4. A third of all tech start-ups worth more than a billion dollars are in the UK.

5. Sociology isn’t a science – even though it calls itself one. It isn’t an art either. So what is it? `A load of old rubbish dreamt up by people too thick to do proper work’ is the most accurate working description I can come up with.

6. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, men make up more than a third of domestic abuse victims. (If I were trying to spin this I would say `just under half’.)

7. Antoinette and I no longer answer the telephone at home because the person at the other end is usually someone in India trying to hack into our computer and steal our lives.

8. `Trust in God and keep your powder dry,’ said Oliver Cromwell. Has there ever been better strategic advice? Succinct and relevant.

9. In Victorian times prisoners had to turn a crank in their cells 15,000 times a day. This was entirely pointless. The crank could be tightened by warders, so making it harder for the prisoner to turn it. And so warders became known as screws.

10. The world’s second largest diamond was cut recently. The 1109 carat stone, which was sold for $53 million, was cut into several saleable diamonds – the largest being 302 carats.It took 18 months to cut the raw stone. (Most of that time was presumably spent planning where to make the cuts.) Can you imagine the stress the cutter must have felt? And it can’t have been too much fun for the diamond’s owner waiting for news of the cut. And waiting for the phone call. `I know you really wanted a good, big diamond to turn into a piece of jewellery but how do you feel about lots of tiny diamonds?’

Copyright Vernon Coleman June 2019