The envy-my-bookcase phenomenon rumbles on, with every home-working TV presenter and politician taking care to be filmed with an impressive array of volumes in the background: The more erudite, right-on and woke your book collection, the more impressive you appear to be.
Wouldn't it be great if we could tinker with some of these highbrow collections? Why, minister, what's this we see behind you? A history of Playboy, Mein Kampf and a couple of Beano Annuals?
How can it be that some doctors and nurses are refusing the Covid jab? What do they know that we do not? To which the answer is, probably nothing.
The maxim “Do as I say, not as I do” runs deep in medicine. Some of us are old enough to remember the days when respected GPs smoked in their surgeries. And today, some nurses are not exactly a shining example of good health. Too many are smokers and about a third are overweight.
And when every other logical explanation for refusing the jab has been exhausted, there is always the old, well-proven fact that it is perfectly possible to be highly educated and dim.
It goes without saying that every effort must be made to take the pro-vaccine message into those communities where fake news and conspiracy theories run riot. If BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) people, having heard all the evidence, still refuse the jab, there is a risk of Covid-19 becoming virtually a BAME disease, with new infections largely concentrated among black and Asian families. Accepting the jab is not only a personal health issue but a social obligation. We are all in this together.
Now here's a strange thing, a bank that doesn't want your money. Some of us make a point of paying off our credit-card bill every month. And we sometimes pay more than we owe as a hedge against the next month's bill. Not any longer.
A stern note from the Co-operative Bank tells us: “Credit cards are not intended to be used to build up positive balances.” So from now on any surplus of more than £10 will be transferred to another account. The likely result of this is that thousands of us will no longer pay the bank a penny more than is due. Note: In the third quarter of last year, the Co-Op Bank lost £23 million.
“Surely no-one in their right mind would consider going back to such an archaic system,” declares a reader after last week's item on pre-decimal currency. Well, of course they wouldn't. But the very complexity of the old shillings-and-pence system was a national asset because it taught us to multiply and divide by two, three, four, six, eight, ten and 12. Everyone knew that three vinyl records at 6s 8d each would cost you £1. We were far better at mental arithmetic than we are now. Mind you, we never used the word “vinyl.”