Passing Observations 98

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. HMRC, the UK, tax office will force 4.3 self-employed workers and property landlords to file quarterly digital returns from April 2024. The new system is being trialled on nine (yes, nine) people. Originally, there were 900 people testing the new system. But 891 dropped out, presumably because they found the system so easy to use and so much fun.

2. A 78-year-old man rang his GP to ask for antibiotics for a chest infection. He was worried that the infection would turn into pneumonia. The GP said she would ring him in five days. She told the patient that he didn’t sound very ill and wouldn’t get pneumonia. A few days later the man was admitted to A&E with pneumonia and heart failure. That is what happens when doctors try to treat patients over the telephone.

3. A good many of the doctors commenting on medical matters these days have PhDs not medical degrees. You can get a PhD in brewing, music and golf course management.

4. `You must prepare for the enemies capability, rather than his intentions.’ – Clausewitz.

5. It is assumed that only black people were slaves. This isn’t true. There were many white slaves (including children) in the 19th century.

6. What a pity that more of those who `take the knee’ so publicly don’t do something practical about the millions dying of hunger in Africa – as a result of deliberate political policies.

7. Remember that most of the original, black and white war film footage that we see and are impressed by, was faked. There is one famous black and white sea battle that was actually shot in the director’s bath tub. What looked like smoke from the ship’s guns was actually cigar smoke artfully blown over the bath and the model ships by the director’s wife.

8. The Great Reset enthusiasts are talking with enthusiasm about the four day working week. It will doubtless be part of the New World Order. An Icelandic study found that workers were happy working four days instead of five and that their productivity was not reduced. Unfortunately, the study was done only with public sector employees.

9. Two executives working for the Wellcome Trust (Britain’s biggest charity) were paid just under £8 million each in 2021.

10. `If you finish you beat everyone who doesn’t,’ said a Jamaican skier who finished 46th out of 46 skiers to compete in an Olympic skiing competition. He beat the 41 who didn’t finish.

11. I’d like to see Wikipedia change its name to Wikilies. Surely, that would be far more appropriate? And the thousands of people who produce the stuff and who call themselves `editors’ should be honest and call themselves `liars’.

12. I wonder how many of Britain’s GPs are now working a three day week. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it is a very high proportion.

13. The New Yorker magazine now describes black people as Black people as in `three Black dancers’. 14. If I invented Devi Shridhar as a character for a novel I’d have to tone her down a bit. I find her quite unbelievable.

15. In Canada, Justin Trudeau’s state of emergency allows banks to freeze the personal bank accounts of anyone suspected of being linked to protests.

16. Remember: as I pointed out months ago, the Bank of England has discussed producing a programmable digital money with the issuer deciding how it can be spent. Alcoholics could be prevented from buying alcohol. Those on benefits could be prevented from buying luxury goods.

17. Inflation in Argentina was 2,000% in 1990. It has slowly come down. It’s now 50%. Too many people dismiss inflation as harmless. It can destroy a society very quickly.

18. In the same way that the flu was rebranded as covid, so it appears that tuberculosis has been rebranded as AIDS to boost the numbers and to terrify whole populations.

19. Elon Musk’s company has been accused of torturing animals with trials of its `brain chips’. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (I joined in the 1970s and was an active member for many years), which opposes the use of animals in medical experiments, says that Musk’s company failed to provide dying monkeys with adequate veterinary care and claims that animals had portions of their skulls removed to implant electrodes in their brains. I wrote about similar experiments being done in the 1950s in my book `Paper Doctors’ which was published in the 1970s.

20. The Royal Shakespeare Company plans to teach children about `racism, sexism and ableism’ in all of Shakespeare’s plays. How jolly. There is no mention of ageism.

Copyright Vernon Coleman April 2022

Vernon Coleman’s book `Memories 1’ is the first volume of his autobiography. It’s unusual in that it consists of a mixture of reflections, experiences, confessions, regrets and observations – rather than the usual `and then I had lunch with…’ sort of autobiography. `Memories 1’ is available as an eBook, a paperback and a hardback.