Good morning merry readers, Wilf is still waking me up early and yesterday I decided I might as well to go on my morning patrol before breakfast as I couldn’t get back to sleep. When I did my circuit of the gardens I realised the cold weather threat hadn’t reached London yet but it was little bit damp. Anyway after breakfast I settled down for a nice easy day as the only thing I planned to do was watch Bozzie on the TV in the evening. I did a few more patrols during the day, got fed a few titbits, and managed to sleep through Bozzie’s performance so I have to go by this morning reports.
Bozzie seems to have upset the Welsh and Scots by not going down the path they wanted. It is also a bit different from the Northern Irish but the big Irish Woman seems to be a lot less bothered about it than the Wee Krankie, who had a right old whinge. He has announced a few things that have eased up a little on the lockdown and laid out things that could happen in a month or two if the R value stays low. For example some people are being encouraged to go back to work, you can spend more time outdoors and you can even sit down on a park bench. There are to be a lot more details this afternoon and Bozzie is to answer questions in the Commons so I’ll probably dictate more later.
I see that the Russians have over taken us in the Coronavirus numbers stakes. If the numbers they are giving out are that bad you can bet they are actually a lot worse as like the Chinese they always lie about things like this because they can get away with it. Putin addressed the Russian people today on TV today and told them that they must all go back to work tomorrow. This seems not to have anything at all to do with the health of the nation but is down to economics. The Russian people are not very happy and Putin ratings have slipped badly.
A similar story is emerging in Scottishland with The Wee Krankie’s popularity, but it’s for a reverse reason, it’s because the people are getting fed up being under lockdown and crave the minor freedoms that England are getting. The Krankie has no intention of giving up any power and the only thing she has conceded is to allow people out more and that’s only because the people were already doing it and she couldn’t stop them. No sunbathing for the Scots or sitting in the park like us English not while Krankies in charge.
Back in 1962 the Indians and Chinese fought a month long boarder war over a disputed area of the Himalayan’s. After making advances into the Indian claimed area the Chinese called a ceasefire and withdraw to a “line of control” that the Chinese had declared in 1959. But the war has really been finalised and every so often disputes kick off. These are usually limited to pushing and shoving or occasional chest bumps but no shots have been fired since the ceasefire. Yesterday was noticeable as a fist fight broke out involving around 50 soldiers. Seven Chinese and four Indians were injured before officials from both side stepped in to stop the battle.
Following Bozzie’s call for people to go back to work Transport for London has said that they are ramping up services. Within a week they aim to be back to running 85% of bus services, 70% of Tube services and 80% of TfL Overground services. However TfL are desperately short of money and have the begging bowl out to the Government. They have burnt through nearly £2.5 Billion of reserves as they have practically no income as they are not currently charging bus fares and tube passengers have dropped by 95%. They only want £2 Billion from the Government.
Bozzie made his statement on coming out of Lockdown to Parliament this afternoon and spent nearly a hour answering questions. Watching it on the TV even I could have answered some of the questions as they were already explained in the statement or were asked more than once. Bozzie explained that from Wednesday the Government wanted people who worked in construction or manufacturing and those who couldn’t work from home to return to work. They also don’t want them to use public transport if possible, but to use cars, bikes or even walk as the public transport capacity will be limited due to social distancing. Other things that are being changed are people will be allowed out as often as they like, they can travel wherever that want for exercise, they can sunbathe, or sit on benches and even play some open-air sports within a family such as Basket Ball, Golf and Tennis.
If things do go well, at the end of the month the Government wants to open up primary schools for some pupils and open up some smaller shops. If it can be worked out this would be the time restart premier league football but behind closed doors and on live Television. Then at the beginning of July the hope is to open bigger shops and maybe some parts of the hospitality industry. Well I hope this comes true.
Breakfast with the Mutt and the Humans this morning. Bozzie was busy reading about his performance in the Commons and listening to the Radio. Radio Four where their usual anti Bozzie selves. Radio Five started off bemoaning Bozzie’s plan but when most of the people they spoke to were in favour Dame Nikki did a quick about turn. On LBC Nick Motorcar seemed to be broadly in favour even admitting that he didn’t expect to be. Over on GMB Piers Moron was having his usual wild rant about everything the Government has ever done. In particular he is mad that the Government will no longer let Ministers appear on the programming so that he can abuse them. Yesterday a Tory backbencher had the temerity to argue back and amazingly his connection went down in the middle of the row.
At lunchtime Rishi Nik-Nak gave the Commons an update on the Furlough scheme. The MSM had told the world that the scheme was going to be extended for a month but reduced to 60% of the wages from the current 80%. Instead he extended the scheme to October keeping the 80% rate but telling employers that they would need to make a contribution. He also introduced a modification to the scheme to allow Furloughed workers to return to employment part time, maybe one or two days a week.
As if Covid-19 were not bad enough I read that the planned US manned trip to Mars is expected to bring back ground samples and NASA has decided that they will have to be put into Quarantine in case they harbour Martian Pathogens. Under the Outer Space Treaty 1967, any item brought back from another planet has to be Quarantined. This included the returning Astronauts who had to spend 21 days in Quarantine. This applied to all the Moon landings up to Apollo 14 after which the Americans concluded that there was no life on the Moon and they dropped the requirement. Rather than Chinese Flu we could get Mars Flu!
An interesting story coming out of Scotland is that a Coronavirus outbreak back in February was hushed up. Nike held a conference for 70 employees from all over the World at the Hilton Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh. 25 people are understood to developed Coronavirus following the conference, 8 of whom were Scots. However this was never mentioned in public despite Wee Krankie knowing about it. The first official case in Scotland is recorded as 1st March but this is clearly not true and Lockdown didn’t happen until 3 weeks later. When asked, Wee Krankie said a cover up was “complete and utter nonsense” however she admitted she knew about it but had been advised not to talk about it “for patient confidentiality reasons”. Doesn’t stop her talking numbers every day and telling us how wonderful Scotland is compared to England.
The next round of Trade Talks with the E.U. started today. I understand that the David Frost will tell Barnier that Fisheries will not be any part of the Trade Talks. We have told the E.U. we want a Norwegian type agreement where catch limits are renegotiated every year. The E.U. want a fixed agreement included in a Trade Agreement and it must be long term. The French have said publicly that it should be a 25 year agreement. We have told the E.U. that they are in Breach of the Political Declaration which says that a separate Fishing Agreement has to be in place by July. Things are getting interesting.
I have been reading that sales of Bicycles in Britain are flying and this is before Bozzie suggested biking to work instead of going by Public Transport which should push sales even more. The Evans Cycles, chain of shops, have a two week wait as their order book is so full. The other well know place to buy a bike, Halfords, says that since Lockdown started sales of bikes and cycling equipment have gone up 500%, with sales last month doubling. Britain’s biggest bicycle manufacturer is Brompton Bikes who make the well known folding models. They mostly sell through agents and online. Last month their online sales were up 5 times, this coincides with the launch of a home delivery service. But they also export much of their production. Until recently their biggest overseas market was the USA, but with China recovering from Coronavirus sales have suddenly leapt there too. Brompton moved from their old factory to a huge new factory a few years ago, but even before this latest rush they had started to have more works done. Brompton have been very lucky or had planned well, their new factory has the space for social distancing so they have been able to carry on manufacturing during lockdown.
It was a bit nippy when I did my patrol around the estate this morning, you just can’t believe that Bloke, I think he’s called shuffledknackers, who does the weather on the BBC. He said it was going to get warmer. Now it’s not likely to be till the weekend.
Today is a big day, the first day when England starts to move out of Coronavirus lockdown. Today you can meet one other people in public but you have keep to the two metres rule. You can go out as many times as you like for as long as you like, you can even go as far as you like. You can go back to work. You can visit a garden centre. You can play some outdoor sport that supports social distancing like golf, fishing or tennis. You can even sunbath on a beach (but it’s a bit cold today). But the English Police have no legal right to enforce the 2 metre rule. The other 3 Nations are not doing anything yet, but I wonder if their populations will be happy when the English are allowed more freedoms.
This morning the MSM seemed to want to tell us that people were rushing back to work on overcrowded public transport but other than one busy London Bus the failed miserably. They even filmed a traffic jam on the M1 in the Midlands caused by a multi vehicle accident and said it was “Traffic heading to London”. That was true as that was the general direction of the road but extremely misleading. Many businesses have started up again but many companies are only partially staffed. The one lot of places that seems to have done well today are the Garden Centres which did have socially distanced queues waiting outside when they opened this morning. Why these businesses ever had to close I don’t know.
Today’s Coronavirus numbers seem to be coming down still steadily. The daily death numbers drop every weekend because the Sunday numbers often aren’t registered until Monday and then not published until Tuesday. This means that most days the numbers reported are are couple of days out and often include deaths that happened days ago. To try to account for this they have introduced a 5 day rolling average which smooths out the numbers and this line has been declining for weeks.
The British Travel industry is in big trouble. We have known for several weeks that airlines were suffering and that British Airways and Virgin were pulling out of Gatwick and making many staff redundant. The Rolls Royce announced a swathe of redundancies. P&O ferries have joined in and followed Carnival Cruises who own the Cunard, Princess and P&O Cruises brands who are to lose 600 jobs at their Southampton HQ. Today it was the turn of Anglo German travel company TUI to announce 800 job loses.
EasyJet are currently not operating any services but it has an outstanding order with Airbus for 107 new aircraft worth around £4.5 billion. Their 25% owner Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has been trying to get the airline to cancel the order for some months. The airline is reluctant to cancel because it would mean having to pay a huge some to Airbus for 45 planes they purchased several years ago. The cost of these 45 aircraft were deeply discounted as part of a bulk discount that included the 107 planes in question. Stelios is offering £5 million to anyone who can come up with a legal way to cancel the order.
Nearly 800 people have reported their employers to the HRMC for suspected fraud over the furlough scheme. The most common thing seems to be employees who believe that their employer has reported to HRMC that the they have been furloughed when in fact they are still working. HRMC pays the furlough money into the employers account who is supposed to use it to pay the employees wages. In effect the employee is still working but costing the employer nothing. To report your boss the employee is running the risk of losing their job.
British Police have been going down fast in the eyes of the public, but it really takes the American Cops to foul things up properly. Three plain clothed officers broke into the Louisville flat of an ambulance woman and her boyfriend using a warrant naming a drug dealer who lived on the other side of town. The three officers had their guns raised and didn’t identify themselves. The boyfriend thought the home was being burgled and pulled out his legally owned gun. The Police opened fire killing the couple and at least five of the 20 shots they fired went straight through the wall into the bedroom of a 5 year old sleeping in the next door flat fortunately missing him. The ambulance woman had done absolutely nothing to resist the Police raid. The Police proceeded to search the flat for drugs and found nothing. Needless to say the officers were not charged with anything and have returned to duty.
Finally, before I retire to my cat basket, I have just heard Birmingham City Council is having the grass cut in 2 metre wide strips, leaving 2 metre wide uncut strips between them in their open spaces. The idea is supposed to indicate to people using the parks how far apart they should be. I think this is nothing to do with social distancing, I think it is just a way to save money by only cutting half the grass in an open space, but then I am a cynical old cat.
Morning everyone, it’s was a bit cold last night but it warming up a little bit now. Anyway I always feel warmer after eating so I should be OK soon.
I had a little chuckle at the expense of the Welsh Government this morning. They have been very “holier than thou” at their Press Conferences stating how they weren’t going to change their Covid-19 regulations like the horrible English. Then their Health Minister is caught at the weekend sitting at a Picnic table with his family eating Chips in defiance of the Welsh Lockdown rules. Suddenly the rules are changed and it becomes OK to have a Picnic with your household. Of course the Welsh First Minister says that it has nothing to do with the actions of the Welsh Health Minister. It’s another case of do as I tell you, not do as I do, just like that Scottishland woman and Professor Pantsdown.
The news that broke late last night that Public Health England had given approval to a Coronavirus Antibody test has been expanded on a bit this morning. This is a test that shows if someone has had a Coronavirus infection and is made by the Swiss Company Roche and is said to be 100% accurate. The Health Minister has said that the Government is negotiating with Roche to purchase the test in large numbers. The test analyses a small sample of blood in a patent Roche machine. Each test takes around 18 minutes to get a result and each machine can handle around 300 tests an hour. The test has already been approved by the American FDA and has the E.U.s CE mark. This type of test tells you if you have antibodies to Covid-19 in your blood, and is only any use 14 days after catching the Virus as it takes that long for the Antibodies to develop. At the moment it is not clear if you can catch Covid-19 more than once, so a positive antibody test doesn’t mean you are immune. Roche say that they are gearing up to manufacture “high double million” tests a month but it is sure to be in great demand around the world.
I am amazed that CNN have appointed Greta Thunderbird to their Coronavirus expert panel. She is branching out, first a Global Warning expert and now a Coronavirus expert. Who knows the limitations of her expertise. What’s next, a seat on the UN Security Council, bringing peace between Israel and the Palestinians or even managing the English football team to World Cup victory. Her talents are obviously endless so I’m looking forward to her next step.
More problems for Wee Krankie today. It is reported that 10 huge Russian Trawlers have entered Scottish waters and are hoovering up fish. Despite Scottish fishermen complaining to her, Wee Krankie is refusing to do anything. Is it beneath her to ask the Royal Navy to step in. Then she faced demands that individual regions of Scotland should come out of lockdown at different time to suit local conditions. She didn’t like this idea suggesting that Scotland should only move as one. However this is basically what she and the Welsh and Northern Irish are doing.
M&S have decided to have a sale to try to clear out all the clothing they have been unable to sell because many of their shops have been shut. The problem is that they have been had lots of Spring and Early Summer fashions that they have been unable to offer for sale except online and in some stores where they have fashion next to food halls. So the idea is to slash many lines by at least 50% to try to clear them. 10% of the selling price will be donated to the NHS Charities Together.
It was lovely to see Anne Widdiecombe having a go at Piers Moron on TV this morning. Moron asked her if she understood what Bozzie had said about Lockdown over the weekend. He didn’t like it when she indicated that what he had said was quite clear to her. Moron sat there saying “Hold on, hold on” and she told him to stop talking and to let her answer the question. Piers was not happy.
A team at Cardiff University have been looking at the use of every day products in the fight against Coronavirus. They have discovered that in a test tube many common mouthwashes kill the Virus. Mouthwash is designed to be Antibacterial and some of its ingredients dissolve the Bacteria’s shell. Early work seems to indicate some of the ingredients do the same to the virus. Work is now in hand to find which ones are effective and how it would be possible to use them in future because it would be foolish to think you could drink them.
I want to know why we were told yesterday that Coronavirus testing capacity was 120,000 a day and then today they did 126,064 tests, a new daily record. I’m not really complaining but it would be nice to know if we suddenly increased capacity today of if one of the numbers was simply wrong.
The E.U. have launched an action against us over freedom of movement and the cheeky buggers have given us four months to “address the shortcomings”. They have issued an enforcement notice claiming that we have “limited the scope” of EU citizens living in the U.K. They give examples going back many years including EU citizens not being able to claim Job Seekers Allowance and some E.U. citizens that we have thrown out being handed lifetime bans. If we don’t do what they want they threaten to refer the case to the ECJ who they say could fine us millions. Good luck with that. When will they learn that the more awkward they are the more we will dig our heels in.
A lovely sunny morning even if it is a bit chilly still. Bozzie was talking about Sad Dick at breakfast this morning and telling the Little Otter about the way he had tried to blackmail the government into bailing out Transport for London. Bozzie said they were aways going to give TfL some money but they had to get concessions out of Sad Dick. In the end he has agreed to increase fairs by more than inflation, to stop some of the costly concessionary fares and to reinstate services. Perhaps the hardest for Sad Dick is giving up control of the TfL board. TfL have announced that the Congestion Charge and the Low Emission Charge will return on Monday, although this is their own choice and is not tied to the bailout. Some Key Workers will be exempt from the reinstated charges.
In an interview with the Evening Standard Sad Dick has told the paper that running London during the Pandemic has taken a toll on his mental health. He said that he had been depressed, felt vulnerable and mentally fragile. If that’s the case then he should step down as London Mayor and let someone more capable take over.
The SNP have set up a party commission to consider whether they should introduce a Universal Basic Income in the event of them gaining independence. From what I have seen UBI is an excuse to sit back at home and get paid to do nothing, pretty much like the furlough scheme. The thing that people tend to forget is that someone has work and pay tax to raise the money for UBI. Well if that what they want to do in in dependance that’s OK provided they don’t expect to still get money from the rest of the UK.
I read in this morning’s paper (Bozzie left the Torygraph on the table) that the number of Coronavirus cases in London has fallen very steeply in the last couple of weeks. Public Health England say that the number of people catching Covid -19 in London has dropped to around 24 a day giving an R number of about 0.4. A number this low means that the number of new case halves every 3.5 days. Back towards the end of March the R number was 2.3 and there were 213,000 new infections a day. With such a low R number London could be virtually free of Coronavirus by the of the month. I wonder if Bozzie read this article because I understand that he has been discussing the possibility of changing the Lockdown rules for different regions at different times. For example the R number in the Northeast is still around 0.8 double that of London. Wales has been moaning that they don’t want people coming from London and infecting them. The reverse may actually be true with the Welsh R number reckoned to be between 0.7 and 0.9. London went into this Pandemic about 2 weeks ahead of the rest of the country and could be coming out at the same rate.
The latest set of Brexit talks broke up this lunchtime with David Frost issuing a four page statement which said that “very little progress has been made on the most significant outstanding issues”. He went on to explain that the E.U. want to tie us in to all their rules and regulations and would not accept that the U.K. had left the E.U. and was an independent nation. Their is only one more round of negotiations to go before a decision has to be taken on an extension of the transition period. Frost said he had no doubt that Free Trade Agreement along with agreements on things like Aviation and Security could easily be reached in that time, but the EU was insistent on a single overarching agreement and that was impossible to achieve because of the E.U.’s stance on things like Fishing and the ECJ.
The Police have now issued over 14,000 £60 fines (reduced to £30 if paid promptly) for breaches of the Coronavirus Regulations. Which force hold the record for issuing the most? Well in the first few weeks it was Lancashire but it now the Met with over 900 and that’s hardly a surprise. What is interesting is that the CPS says many people have been wrongly fined. I somehow doubt that very many people have bothered to appeal a fine and have just paid up up quickly to save £30. Therefore the number wrongly fined is probably much higher than the CPS admits. While on numbers the number of Coronavirus tests jumped again yesterday to 133,784. Is Bozzie going to get to his 200,000 available tests by the end of the month.
It’s been slowly getting warmer over the past couple of days, I do like to be able to wander outside before breakfast it gives me an appetite. Anyway it was breakfast with the gang this morning and for once I didn’t learn anything other than Bozzie moaning about “all the Eurovision Crap” on TV tonight.
The Police just don’t get it. A Chief Superintendent in the British Transport Police has been traveling between his rented flat in Glasgow, where he works, and his family home in Yorkshire. He says he hasn’t broken any of the rules as he drove himself alone in his car. Until this week, in England, you have meant to make essential journeys only and then local only. This restriction was eased this week, but is still in place in Scottishland. Another case of one rule for the elite and another for all us Plebs.
I read that a 23 year old man was Tasered by Police as he tried to escape from them in Hackney and was climbing over a wall. He fell off the wall and suffered a serious back injury leaving him paralysed from the waist down. He was later found to be involved in drug dealing but is still in Hospital. The Police are investigating and the officer has been suspended.
The number of Coronavirus deaths fell a little bit again today while the number of tests again set a new record high at 136,486. Of these test 31,347 were Pillar 4 serology tests for the national surveillance programme run by Public Health England and the Office of National Statistics. These are anonymised test taken to show the spread of the disease.
Today the Government launched a new programme to see if they can use Medical Detection Dogs to detect Coronavirus in humans before symptoms are apparent. The Government have given £500,000 for the project to be carried out by the MDD and Durham University and will use Labradors and Cocker Spaniels which have been successful in detecting other diseases such as Cancer, Malaria and Parkinson’s. The hope is that a dog could test up to 250 an hour. I wonder if there is such a thing as a sniffer cat, I culd volunteer!
I understand that the anti-lockdown demonstrations didn’t go so well today. In London about 40 demonstrators turned up but were out numbered by Police. 19 demonstrators were arrested, including Steptoe’s brother Piers, and 10 others were issued with fines for not social distancing. Steptoe’s brother refused to leave the area when told to do so by the Police and then refused to give his details and was taken away in handcuffs. The event in Glasgow was also attended by about 40 people, only a two people turned up in Cardiff and nobody at all turned up at either of the two events in Leeds or in Sheffield.
I suspect that some of my readers will be delighted to read that the Purple Mamba club in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire looks like it has survived the Pandemic and will be reopening just as soon as it is allowed to. The club is for Swingers and has over 2000 members who have stayed connected by web cam during Lockdown. It is so popular that is claimed that on a Saturday night they often have to turn away 20 or more club members. The clubs owners think that when they are allowed to open they will have to comply with social distancing rules so they are planning that their first event may have to something like “speed dating” where people can keep 2 metres apart.
And on that note I shall retire to my Cat Basket. It is forecast to be warm and sunny in London tomorrow so I’m looking forward to spending some time snoozing on the windowsill. Night night all.
© WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file