I'VE just received one of those little gifts the Government hands out from time to time. As far as I can tell, the only qualification for getting it is not being dead. This is the Winter Fuel Payment and in a sane world it would be paid after Christmas to prevent old codgers squandering it on presents for their grandchildren. And how much of these £100 gifts end up in the annual £265 million wage packet of the Bet365 founder Denise Coates is anyone's guess.
THE Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, has trained several members of the Jordanian royal family. The latest is Princess Salma and I hope she was treated more gently than her grandfather, King Hussein. As a young officer cadet on the parade ground, he was ordered by a fiery sergeant-major: "Move your feet sharpish, sir. You are the idlest king on this parade, sir!"
I LOVE the idea, from BAE Systems, that the Royal Navy's warships could be commanded remotely by officers in control rooms ashore. But why stop there? Why not have two sheets of paper? We plot our warships on one sheet, the Russians plot theirs on the other. We then try to guess where they are and "destroy" them with a tick of a pen. I'm surprised nobody has thought of it.
TEN years ago, one in eight women aged under 45 had only one child. Today, according to the Office for National Statistics, that figure is one in five women. The one-child family is becoming the norm. There is no shortage of explanations, from general despair about the future to the cost of childcare and the difficulty in getting on the housing ladder. But I wonder if another factor is the practice of women Tweeting and Snapchatting every grisly, gruesome moment of their labour and delivery to their horrified friends. Once seen, forever traumatised.
THE Metropolitan Police has 841 male firearms officers but only 63 women. According to a deputy assistant commissioner this week, it shows the force has "some way to go." Does it? Or is it simply a fact of life that many more men than women feel happy holding a gun? It is absolutely bonkers to suggest something is amiss unless male and female are represented 50:50 in every area of human activity. Britain has 40,000 midwives and only 200 of them are male, yet we don't hear any anguished protests from the equality brigade. Nor is there much of a furore about the shortage of white men in bhangra bands or the Somali deficit in Morris dancing. It goes without saying that police recruiters should offer equal opportunities for all. But those opportunities must include the individual's opportunity to say, no, thanks - even if it mucks up the box-ticking.
HOW the media works. Have you noticed how anything Donald Trump says is regarded as ignorant gibberish, until he denounces Brexit when he is hailed as a brilliant and insightful commentator? Curious, that.