I once worked for an editor who took the view that the perfect leader column, in which the newspaper expressed its own opinions, should always contain the phrase “on the other hand. . . .”
I thought of him at the weekend as speculation broke of steep tax hikes to refill the Exchequer's Covid black hole. So here's my first view, from this column on June 13: “The past few months have virtually bankrupted this country, largely in the cause of keeping old people alive.” So doesn't it make sense for old people to pay the bill? We could freeze the state pension for a few years, or restrict the Winter Fuel Allowance to those in real need. On the other hand . . .
For while it's true that most of the money has been spent on keeping old people safe, it's younger, dafter people who have been crowding into pubs or house parties where the virus thrives. Covid-19 is suffered by old folk but spread by idiots. So maybe they should be clobbered with tax rises. Let's have an idiot tax. On the other hand . . .
I couldn't have put this better, so I'll just nick it instead. A reader writes: “Covidiots are saying that nobody will prevent them from visiting their friends and relatives this Christmas and enjoying themselves. Maybe so. Nobody can stop them this Christmas, but maybe the undertakers will prevent them from doing the same in Christmas 2021.”
Starting next month, Premium Bond prizes will not be posted but paid directly to your bank account (assuming you have one). You'll be informed of any prizes by email (assuming you're online).
But first you have to let National Savings and Investments know your bank details which involves logging on and giving them your NS&I number which, confusingly, is not the same as your holder's number. In the first stages of logging on, your phone rings. It's the landline because that's the number you gave them years ago. It is NS&I on the phone. They want the security number they have just put on your screen. You go back to your screen, make a note of the number and return to the phone, by which time they have hung up. You are allowed four attempts at this process before they cut you off. The passwords are case-sensitive. So you may have climbed all the NS&I ladders but one mistyped capital letter is enough to send you slithering back down the snake. Having just completed this ordeal by keyboard, I wonder how many Premium Bond holders will give up, cash their bonds and blow it all on Lotto instead.
Deer are breeding like rabbits, endangering our forests, and the Countryside Alliance is urging Brits to help by eating wild venison. So what's holding us back? Online I found a 1kg slab of venison loin for £45. By way of comparison, Tesco's finest beef sirloin is £21 per kilo. That's the trouble with venison. It's dear.