Passing Observations 79

Dr Vernon Coleman

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 idea of zero covid is as absurd as the idea of zero dandruff, zero road traffic accidents or zero death.

2. Don’t pay the BBC licence fee (but do it without breaking the law) and don’t give money to Wikipedia. Both have betrayed the people.

3. Hospitals in the UK are still separating patients from their loved ones when they are ill. There is absolutely no logical, medical reason for this. It is done out of thoughtlessness, stupidity or meanness. There are no other explanations.

4. Why are people given knighthoods and other gongs for doing their jobs? Lewis Hamilton has been given a knighthood for driving a car round and round in circles. I always assumed he was paid for this.

5. I have, over the years found that it is vitally important to let the small stuff fall away. I have also found this to be the most difficult thing to do. It is terribly easy to be distracted by small annoyances which take up far more time and energy than they merit. For example, during 2020 and 2021 I had to work hard to refuse to waste time replying to liars, idiots and fruitcakes who libelled me in the media and on the internet.

6. The new laws in the UK which give pedestrians and cyclists precedence over motorists are going to cause chaos on the roads. That, of course, is the intention. In towns and cities there will be huge queues. And nutty Greens will soon discover that they can bring traffic to a complete standstill not by gluing themselves to the tarmacadam but simply by walking backwards and forwards across the road.

7. Is it just me or has the amber light duration been shortened on traffic lights? Traffic lights seem to change from green to red with hardly any hesitation. Another trick to remove more motorists from the roads, perhaps?

8. For two years we have been warned about the dangers of an infection (provably no worse than the flu). But every time I pass a hospital I see staff members walking around outside in their uniforms. This is utter lunacy and shows great ignorance. The risk here does not concern covid but the serious hospital infections which cannot be treated with antibiotics and which can be transmitted on clothing. Any hospital or clinic worker who wears their `working’ clothes outside their place of work should be charged with attempted manslaughter. This goes for administrators too – they should change out of their work clothing before leaving the hospital.

9. Edwin Chadwick and John Snow saved more lives than the entire pharmaceutical industry. (For details see my book `The Story of Medicine’.)

10. A technical error which forced Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram off line apparently knocked $50 billion off the share price of Facebook. But the best bit is the story that Facebook employees couldn’t get back into the building to fix the problem because their security ID procedures were all online. According to one expert `Facebook basically locked its keys in its car.’ We all need to have things to laugh about.

11. Listening to anything the BBC factcheckers say is like taking advice on public relations from Prince Andrew.

12. Recycling is silly. Look at glass, for example. It is made of sand and does no harm if used as landfill. Glass made from recycled glass is more expensive (and requires more energy) than freshly made glass. So what’s the point? And people who wash their plastic bottles in water (a valuable resource) and then put them into plastic boxes for a diesel powered lorry to collect and take to be sorted are harming the planet.

13. Does Boris Johnson now have more children than there are covid variations? Boris, by the way, is reported to agree with his father that the world is overpopulated.

14. We should never forget that Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, previously worked for Bill Gates and that Vallance, the chief scientific officer, previously worked for GSK, the drug and vaccine maker.

15. `Nothing has happened until people write about it’ – Virginia Wolff.

16. Would you accept a life without good surprises if there were no bad surprises?

17. The only person who knows the true monetary value of something is the person prepared to buy it – not the sellers, not the agents, not the auctioneers. Only the buyer.

18. While wandering slowly round a cathedral I examined some of the memorial stones. Here are three I spotted. a) `William Herbert Russell of Slaughter Court `who died of a rapid Decline 10 November 1819, aged 26.’ b) `The memory of Charles Ward Orde, late of his Majesty’s IXth Regiment of Light Dragoons 16th March 1810 aged 34. He lived an honour to an honourable Profession and he died the Death of the Pious and the Brave.’ (I wonder where Mr Orde died. We were fighting Napoleon but hadn’t yet started fighting in America. We were still fighting the Rum Rebellion in Australia and there was fighting in India against the rebels. The Punjab war had started. There were, all things considered, many ways for a brave young man to die in the early 19th century.) c) `Near this spot are interred the remains of the Hon Elizabeth Stewart. She was relict of the late James Stewart Esq.’

19. Congratulations to the 17 people who are so clever they managed to give my book `Endgame’ a one star review without reading a word of it. Book reviewing has reached new depths these days. And sadly, many people who enjoy a book don’t bother to write a review.

20. The typical UK family’s household bills will rise by at least £1,800 - £2,000 in 2022. This will be largely due to higher food and energy bills plus increased mortgage costs.

Copyright Vernon Coleman December 2021

Vernon Coleman’s latest novel is called Dr Bullock’s Annals. It is the story of a young general practitioner in Victorian times.