What a full English breakfast can tell us about the state of the NHS

Among devotees of the full English breakfast, few things polarise more than the inclusion of baked beans. Some people are unrepentant berfs (beans exclusionary radical foodies) whereas others consider beans a coda to close the symphony. My own view is conciliatory: provided the beans are in a separate pot, I’m happy. ‘Hash brown technologies’ seem like useful additions, but end up destroying time-tested alternatives What worries me more is the arrival of the hash brown. This is a transatlantic invader: the grey squirrel of the breakfast world. Not particularly objectionable in itself, it risks eradicating the more attractive indigenous option, which is fried bread. Before you know it, you have

The case against a cashless society

‘We don’t take cash,’ said the boy behind the counter in Pret after I tried to hand him a £5 note and two pound coins. ‘My’ ham and cheese baguette and bottle of Coke sat in a brown paper bag on the counter and a woman standing beside me grimaced as she waited to be served in the otherwise empty shop. I say ‘my’ in inverted commas because I have since looked into the legal rights concerned and what I might have said to handle this in an effective way. As it was, I got it wrong. Not one of these people in this queue had any cash on them.

The tyranny of card-only payments

Even though being a right-centre comedian accords me default outsider status, I am not in any way an edgy bloke. Consequently, I find myself surprised at just how unnerved I’ve become by the drift towards a cashless society. I’m not yet at the stage where I’ve started using phrases like ‘the great reset’ or renaming my first son ‘Crypto’, but I have become a bit twitchy about yet another huge change concerning the fundamentals of how we live (and the way we all ignored it when we realised we could go to a restaurant with a built-in reason to not tip). The perils around the exclusive use of contactless payments

‘Fear and bullying’ at the National Trust

Is Winston Marshall — guitarist, banjo player, composer of Mumford & Sons, and father of the west London ‘Nu-Folk’ music that eventually conquered the world — a martyr to the Twitter mob? I find his story more interesting than that. He was trolled earlier this year for tweeting in favour of a book by Andy Ngo about the power of the far-left in the United States. (I haven’t read the book; I gather it is polemical, but in no way fascist.) Because of the difficulties this created for the band, he apologised, but later felt uneasy since he believed he had said nothing wrong. After consulting his fellow band members,

Has Covid accelerated the cashless society?

Time is, I fear, running out. Running out, that is, to avoid handing to a small number of multinational corporations our right to buy and sell things. Running out to prevent governments and central banks helping themselves to our savings, by means of negative interest rates. The payments industry is closing in on its target of driving cash out of circulation and instigating cashless payments as the only way of doing business. That, at least, is the conclusion one might reach from reading a report by Worldpay: the Global Payments Report 2021. It claims that cash payments in UK shops in 2020 made up 13.4 per cent of total payments,

Covid is hastening the creep towards a cashless society

If your local pub ever reopens, don’t be surprised if one thing is missing: the till. The anti-cash lobby is seeking to take advantage of the pandemic to rid us of our banknotes once and for all. When UK Finance — the trade body for the banking and payments industry — pushed the government two weeks ago to increase the limit on contactless card payments to £100 (it was raised from £30 to £45 at the beginning of the pandemic), it was a new offensive in a campaign for a cashless society which has been going on for years. Small shops might fight back — the British Retail Consortium warns

Ross Clark

The cashless lobby is cashing in on Covid-19

Coronavirus, we have been warned many times, has brought scammers out in force. But lobbyists are not far behind. Their activities may not be illegal, but they are pretty disgraceful nonetheless. Hardly had the coronavirus outbreak begun in January than my email inbox began to fill up with press releases claiming that the contagion was being spread by banknotes and coins – coming, er, from businesses with a vested interest in cashless payments. In Britain, the payments industry seized the moment to lobby the government – successfully – for the limit on payments via contactless cards to be raised from £30 to £45. The new limit duly came into effect