Another Lockdown Monday; We have a new resident at No11, baby Wilfred looks like he and Bozzie went to the same “perruquier”. He doesn’t do much but sleep, eat, poo and cry. I’m playing it cool and keeping my distance, I don’t want to get shooed away like the Mutt. I had to keep rubbing Bozzie’s leg to get him to feed us, cats and dogs are just as important as babies. He asked the Little Otter to feed the Mutt and I, if I ever write my autobiography that’s what I’ll call it, “The Mutt and I”.
Lots of ideas surfacing about coming out of Lockdown. Some in the MSM are suggesting that all over 70’s should remain in it for the foreseeable future. There are two categories of over 70’s though, the highly vulnerable with existing health issues who should stay indoors and all the rest! Other ideas floated include staggered working hours, maintaining social distancing in the workplace, closing canteens, installing hand washing facilities at building entrances and putting up screens between workers. The Daily Mirror has claimed that primary school children will be going back to school on June 1st. The Government has called this out as Fake News as no date is set. Apparently, according to the WHO, there isn’t one case, anywhere in the world of a child infecting an adult with Coronavirus. Can we trust the WHO though?
The London Nightingale Hospital has only ever had 20 or 30 of its beds in use at any one time. Now the infection rate in London is falling and with it occupancy of ICU beds it’s been decided to mothball it once the current occupants have left. It will reopen if the fabled “second wave” materialises. If I had money I’d bet that won’t happen. At least there’ll be lots of beds and ventilators for the NHS to share out.
P&O and Cunard are repatriating many of their Indian crew using MV Ventura. With all their ships back in UK waters they’ll transfer crew from ships that haven’t had cases of Coronavirus by tender. The lack of commercial flights has seen Carnival carrying out similar operations throughout the world, using ships to return crew to the Philippines and countries in South America. The Ventura is due to set sail for India on May 21st, the crew members are being accommodated in passenger cabins. The Ventura has donated its surplus fresh produce to the charity UK Harvest. 8.5 tons of mainly fruit and vegetables have been distributed to groups in Portsmouth, Bognor and Worthing and to food banks in Southampton and Crawley.
Extinction Rebellion were out in London this morning, campaigning against HS2 and blocking deliveries, although work didn’t stop. The police turned up, so they started jogging on the spot, claiming they were exercising. When the police started taking their details they left, obviously an unnecessary journey. I recently read about HS1 and how people fought against it but now love it, with its Javelin trains and speedy commute into London. I wonder if the same will happen with HS2. Today there have been 204 Coronavirus deaths in England, the lowest number for over a month. Although Monday numbers are often low this is the lowest Monday number for six weeks, 3 of today’s deaths had underlying health conditions. The numbers for the other home nations are also very low. A pair of Rusty Spotted Wildcat kittens have been born at a wildlife park in Cornwall. These cats are distant cousins of mine from India, they’re very rare and are endangered. They’re also tiny. The kittens are the size of mice and their parents are about 9” long.
Morning folks. I was woken up during the night by Wilfs crying. I guess I wasn’t the only one as Bozzie seemed a bit grumpy. How long do we wait for a human baby to sleep through the night? Keir Stoma promised Labour wouldn’t pursue party political ends during this crisis but would cooperate for the sake of the country. Nobody seems to have told Kensington Council. Labour councillor Ian Henderson appeared in a video with the Tory MP Felicity Buchan about helping out at a local food bank. Labour group whip Sina Lari wasted no time sending Henderson a formal warning letter and threatening to “elevate” matters unless he got his appearance deleted. The letter stated, “Pandemic or no pandemic, you should seek formal advice and approval before appearing in media and publicity produced by the Conservatives.” Stoma told LBC he knew nothing of this and he’d investigate as soon as he had “dropped his daughter off at school”.
Following on from British Airways announcement of redundancies and withdrawal of services from London Gatwick Airport, Virgin has made a similar announcement, It is to make 3,000 staff redundant and to consolidate operations on Heathrow. They’ll be retaining slots at Gatwick in case there’s demand in the future. Despite Coronavirus talks on a UK/USA FTA began today. More than 100 negotiators, from both sides, will be getting down to business over the next two weeks. UK Chief Negotiator, Oliver Griffiths and his US counterpart Dan Mullarney kicked off talks via a video link. Unlike the talks with the EU both parties here want an FTA. I’ll be intrigued to see which talks come up with satisfactory results first.
The Utah Highway Patrol stopped a car being driven erratically on an Interstate Highway, only to find it was being driven by a five year old boy. It transpired he’d had a row with his mum because she’d refused to buy him a Lamborghini. He’d taken his parents car and set off, with his life savings, to drive to California, where his sister lived, to get her to buy the car. Even if he’d made it his life savings wouldn’t have got him the Lamborghini, he only had $3 in his wallet.
Kent police have made idiots of themselves again. They sent a Helicopter and deployed armed officers after reports of a wild animal in woods near Sevenoaks. Unfortunately for them it turned out to be a chicken wire and resin sculpture of a tiger. More egg on their faces
Today the MSM is full of the bonking Professor Ferguson. Some of the lefties are asking why he had to resign, saying an apology should be good enough. They’re wrong, I think he had to go. As the man responsible for the Lockdown policy his breaking of it is sheer hypocrisy. How he ever got to be so revered I don’t know; his track record is very poor. I had a little chuckle to myself when I read that Rory is pulling out of the London Mayoral race. He’s blamed it on the virus, saying that he can’t campaign. Call me a cynical old cat, but I think he’s trying to pull the wool over our eyes. I suspect the real reason is that polls have shown he doesn’t stand any chance of winning and to carry on would be a pointless waste of money.
Matt Handoncock got himself in to a bit of hot water yesterday; he told shadow health minister, Rosena Allin-Khan to watch her tone when she had a go at him in the Commons, accusing him of fiddling the test numbers. The usual crowd of “right on” lefties said he was being sexist and would never have treated a man in the same way, ignoring the fact that she’d virtually accused him of lying. I was intrigued to read that someone had trawled through all of Handoncock’s past clashes in Parliament. There have been 44 occasions where he’s commented on someone’s tone, only 2 were aimed at women.
Bozzie was back answering PMQs today. Stoma is a more polite version of Steptoe, but not a lot better with his predictable questions. He won’t use 10 words when 40 will do, he loves the sound of his own voice. Bozzie mentioned a couple of interesting things; the intention of doubling the number of daily tests to 200,000 by the end of the month and some broad hints that if improvements in outcomes continue there could be some small relaxation of the lockdown rules on Monday.
According to the MSM there is a 3 stage plan for getting the country back to work. The first phase will be small shops and some outdoor spaces, probably including construction sites, garden centres and possibly golf courses and open air tennis courts. I expect football hopes to be included in this phase. The second phase will be larger shops and shopping centres with the third and final phase being cafes, restaurants and hotels. All the time people in offices will be encouraged to return to work when it’s safe to do so. I wonder if Bozzie’s Sunday announcement will match MSM thinking? The Irish deputy PM, Simon Coveney, has been talking to Barnier and says he’s worried about how the UK/EU trade talks are going. In other words the UK hasn’t given in to EU demands. Coveney is worried that if the UK walks away in June then the Irish Republic will suffer the most. It’s about time the Irish realised that the big EU countries, Germany and France, couldn’t care less about them and are ready to “throw them under the bus”.
The Germans are taking further steps in easing Lockdown. They’re to reopening all shops. Elderly residents in care home will be able to have visits from one person and two families will be able to meet and eat together. Older children have already returned to school, younger ones will now also return, staggered over the summer term. The Bundesliga is to restart later this month. German men will be delighted, the women not so much.
Another lovely warm and sunny morning, breakfast, a quick morning patrol and a snooze are on the cards. The infamous 400,000 gowns the RAF sent a plane to Turkey to collect have been inspected and declared unfit for use in the UK. The Government has come in for a bit of criticism for wasting money on this order but it was placed by a procurement group within a NHS Trust. They didn’t check if the manufacturer had an export licence, leading to the first delay, then it turns out that this sportswear makers claims of meeting our standards were false. The day after the order was placed the Government banned individual NHS procurement teams from placing order as they’d been bidding against each other, forcing up the price and because other faulty PPE had been ordered by them. It sounds like the Government is carrying the can for the NHS.
Labour MP Nadia Whittome is in the papers this morning, claiming she was unfairly sacked from a care home where she used to work (and had returned during lockdown) because she had raised the spectre of a shortage of PPE. She appeared on Newsnight criticising the Government over the lack of PPE before receiving a letter telling her she wasn’t required any more. I can’t blame the care home for sacking her, they haven’t had a single case of Covid-19 and say they have 3 months supply of PPE with access to more if needed. Patients and staff were worried about her appearances in the MSM causing anxiety and adverse publicity. If she feels she was wrongfully sacked she can always go to a tribunal.
Has Sad Dick gone mad? He’s decided that what London needs to help it out of Lockdown is more cycle ways, so he’s going ahead with converting many roads to take more bikes. Why isn’t he reinstating public transport services? They carry 90% of workers into and around London while cycle routes carry around 5%. Should he manage to double the number of cyclists he’ll still only have provided for 10% of commuters. When the truncated transport system gets flooded by commuters I expect he will blame the Government!
Keir Stoma has said that the main reason Labour lost the general election is Steptoe. Before the GE and during the leadership election he refused to criticise Steptoe but now he’s leader he doesn’t have to worry about the Corbynista vote so is free to speak his mind. He told the Financial Times that in election workers in over 40 constituencies had said that Steptoe’s leadership was raised on the doorstep as a problem. He added that the Labour Manifesto’s spending proposals were also a big problem, which many people saw as unworkable. Hong Kong customs have made a seizure of 38,500 shark fins weighing some 26 tonnes. Another example of the strange eating habits of the Chinese. The fins were mainly off Silky and Thresher sharks, both endangered species.
UK/EU trade talks are making progress in some areas but struggling in others. We want one big agreement covering all areas but the EU would prefer a series of mini agreements. Things are also looking promising on research and development, transport, chemical waste, law enforcement and judicial co-operation. Where the big problems still exist are in data sharing arrangements, we want access to the central intelligence database of Europol but the Germans in particular don’t want to concede this to us. Perhaps the biggest bone of contention is fishing. The EU want to maintain access to our waters and we want a new annual agreement limiting it. We are sticking to our position and the EU isn’t, I say tough.
The Government has indicated that it will reopen the bidding process for 3 replenishment ships this autumn, they’re required to support our two new aircraft carriers and will replace the old fleet auxiliary ships. The original tender was run under EU tendering rules, since we’ve left the EU there’s no need for us to allow EU companies to bid, hence this new competition is likely to be limited to UK companies and consortiums. After the slowdown in British industry caused by the virus it’d be nice to see these ships built in the UK. IAG, the owner of Aer Lingus, Iberia and British Airways has been talking about restarting a number of flights in June. In the case of BA it’s talking about restarting up to 50% of the mothballed flights, but it all depends on progress being made coming out of Lockdown. Bozzie is due to go on the telly on Sunday evening to lay out what he has called a road map. He’s expected to follow this up with a statement in the commons on Monday.
For the first time since it began the Notting Hill Carnival has been cancelled. It’ll be nice not to see fighting, robberies and people being stabbed. The only people who will miss it are the police, who’ll miss the overtime.
Good Morning people. I understand it’s something called VE Day today. I had no idea what it was when I heard Bozzie talking about it, so I went to find out. It’s a celebration of the day Winston Churchill beat Adolf Hitler in an international bout. I know a bit about Churchill because his picture is on the staircase, as that’s reserved for previous Prime Ministers I guess he must have been one. He looks a bit old, so it couldn’t have been a boxing match, I’ll have to try to find out exactly what it was all about, I expect it will be on the TV today.
It’s very quiet on the estate this morning, I understand it’s a Bank Holiday. I thought they only happened on Mondays but it turns out the normal May Day one has been switched for VE Day celebrations. Anyway, it’s was a lovely warm sunny morning so after breakfast I took up my position on the windowsill. I was having a terrific snooze, dreaming of food, when a load of jets streaming red, white and blue smoke shot over me. It didn’t half make me jump!
Randy Andy’s in trouble again. He’s being sued for £5 million that it’s claimed he owes. When he was married to Fergie they agreed to buy A 7 bedroom chalet in the ski resort of Verbier for £18.3 million, with the final payment being due at the end of 2019. It’s claimed the final payment hasn’t been received. The first of 7 Air India repatriation flights is due to take off tomorrow taking 250, mainly students, back to Mumbai. What I can’t understand is why we have been flying empty planes out to India to bring Britons home and the Indians are flying empty planes here to take Indian nationals back to India. Is it beyond the bureaucrat’s abilities to fill the planes in both directions and save on flights and money?
It never rains but it pours for the Irish. They are desperately worried that the UK/EU trade talks will stall with terrible consequences for them. Now they’ve been hit with a bill of €3,000,000 for work done on their London Embassy. The listed building, built in 1867, needed roof repairs. When the roofers started work it became apparent the roof was in poorer condition than thought. The chimneys were in a dangerous condition too and needed demolishing before being rebuilt, to original specs, under the watchful eye of the listed building inspectors.
Today is supposed to be the last of the warm days for a while, so once I’ve scoffed my Felix and been on patrol I’ll be back on my favourite windowsill in the sun. But first an update on Westminster happenings. The Times is saying the Government is going to introduce 2 weeks quarantine for anyone entering the country from June. There will be exemptions; anyone coming from Ireland, anyone who works in shipping, anyone driving a Eurostar train, anyone driving a lorry cross channel and any airline pilot. No doubt there’ll be many more exemptions to come. I wonder if they’ll quarantine the illegal immigrants who still arrive every day by rubber dinghy? We might stop infected people coming into the country, but what will the effect be on our tourism service industries, all of which rely heavily on overseas visitors? My little cat brain tells me it’s a rubbish idea, I wonder if it’ll make the cut when Bozzie is on the TV tomorrow.
A Scientist, Professor Spector, has said that we’re probably counting the numbers of people infected with Covid-19 wrongly. He has his own app and thinks we’re probably underestimating the number by two thirds. He has information showing that many people had symptoms in January and that many of these symptoms, such as loss of taste and smell weren’t counted by the NHS as relevant. If this is true then our death ratio (deaths per infection) would be a lot better than it is now.
Every day we are given an updated Covid-19 death count. The MSM claims this shows we are doing worse them most other countries but this crude count is very misleading as it misses so many variables. Many countries count only those who have had a positive test while we count all those who are suspected of being infected. Some count care home and private home deaths while others don’t. But what’s the best way to achieve a country to country comparison? I think you need to look at (and include) other variables such as the age of the general population, the population density, the number of BAME people, the ratio of men to women, obesity levels and more comprehensive positive test numbers. As far as I know no country is using all these variables in their counts.
The papers are running with a story about cutting down on public transport usage. Grant Shatts confirmed this at the press conference saying the Government wants people to walk, ride a bike, or get an e-scooter. Shatts said that because of social distancing, even with a full service being restored, only 10% of rush hour capacity would be available, hence the need for alternatives. To encourage this he announced £2 billion in funding for improved cycle routes. It great cycling to work if you work a few miles from home, I wouldn’t want to be one of those commuters that live 30 or 40 miles from their work place. I live upstairs from mine and some days that’s far enough for me! Bozzie is doing his Ministerial broadcast at 7 o’clock tomorrow evening. He’s been practicing looking ministerial in front of the mirror, but the Mutt keeps yapping and he’s been getting annoyed, so I’m keeping out of the way.
Right off to supper and bed, I’ll report on Bozzie’s new ideas on Monday.
© WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file