Monday, 16 August 2021


They used to call August the silly season. 

Well, like Voldemort in the Harry Potter novels, it’s back. After months of competitive Covid with us out-vaccinating the EU (especially France) only to discover their infection levels are still below ours because of their more stringent controls - we’re now all talking about other things.

Anger however remains especially the rage of the anti-vaxxers who’ve convinced themselves that Covid is a conspiracy by global governments. In Brighton they attacked a vaccination centre forcing it to close. But here’s a nice story (for a change) from Russia. A 70 year old hermit whose 20 year life of isolation was induced by his dislike of society,  has come down from his cave to be vaccinated saying it seemed the sensible thing to do.

But anger has its place. Anyone who isn’t angry about the allied forces intemperate evacuation of Afghanistan and the potential harm this is bringing especially to its women is insensitive. It’s cruel that we’ve abandoned so much good work and hope.

We hear many more  children than usual have done well in their recent exams and that this grade inflation at A level and GCSE has enraged many. That’s ridiculous. Unlike Afghanistan this isn’t about life and death. So well done guys. And there’s more good news (unless, of course as a parent,  you’ve shelled out getting on for £ ½ million on your child’s private education to give them an edge in life). This is that the percentage of State Educated children getting into Oxbridge has gone up. So for you young Etonians with your A*s this must seem a silly season! This is diversity Britain and you can’t buy success easily anymore.

And talking of Etonians and buying success what a continuing dismal (and actually tragic) story is that of deluded David Cameron. He’s reputedly worth £40 million and has earned around £10 million from his Greensill Capital directorship, £800,000 for his book and £120,000 for each speech he makes. It seems his energy is focused on making money and now it’s coming home to plague him. In the silly season his pecuniary exploits (book or business), at neither of which he’s particularly excelled, will I suspect increasingly be in the spotlight. He’s always seemed to be effortlessly able until now. As Warren Buffett said:

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” 

My mood lightened recently when driving through Ditchling a Sussex village, the traffic in which suddenly becomes single-lane. In a moment of PG Wodehouse inventiveness, I exploited what I’ve called “the pre-emptive gratitude”. Quite simply on seeing a gap whizz into and through it smiling and thanking the previously oncoming traffic effusively. They will respond to your beaming thanks in kind. Silly but it works – maybe only in August . We’ll see.

Meanwhile the “say no to H20” brigade in America are at it. Here’s a comment in the magazine the Atlantic:

“12,167 hours of washing our bodies. That’s how much life you use, if you spend 20 minutes per day washing and moisturizing your skin and hair (and you live to be 100, as we all surely will).That adds up to nearly two entire years of washing.”

Apparently a lot of Americans agree and are avoiding washing.

‘I don’t smell!’ Meet the people who have stopped washing

Silly season? It’s the first time for ages when the media is crammed with strange stories. Is this normality? No just seasonal silliness I suspect.

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