Oh lovely another sunny morning. A delightful stroll around the No. 10 garden pre-breakfast before it gets too warm. I am convinced something has been in the garden overnight, there are some different scents. I don’t think it’s an urban fox, something that big would trigger the intruder alarms and have woken me up. I reckon it is something small like a hedgehog. I wonder where it hides during the day. I think I might snooze in the shade under the big azalea this afternoon and see if anything ventures in.
After breakfast, I had a read of the papers Bozzie had thrown around. Little Otter was talking to Wilf, saying things like “look at that silly pussy cat sitting on daddy’s papers”. Little does she know.
Last week I told you about the new huge customs area the Government are setting up in Kent to manage HGV traffic through Dover. Today I can reveal that this is only the first of 10 or 12 to be constructed near ports and that there are to be around 5 in Kent alone, which are all expected to be operational by 1st January next year. A 200 page document detailing the new border controls was published this morning. The Government is to write to the 12,000 businesses that trade with the E.U. to introduce them to the new controls and customs declarations as they don’t have to make them at the moment. The new system is being set up to handle 400 million custom declarations a year.
Vauxhall’s Luton plant stopped making cars a years ago and currently is a very successful van producers. In fact, the order backlog is such that they want to start a 3 shift working pattern. But where to get experienced people to work on the assembly line. Well someone had a bright idea, why not ask for volunteers from their Ellesmere Port car plant that is currently shut down. They got over 190 volunteers and apart from wages the company is picking up all their travel costs and expenses. The demand for vans is such that the Luton plant recommenced production post Covid with just one shift. A second shift was added on 1st June and the 3rd shift started yesterday. The Ellesmere Port plant is currently scheduled to restart on 1st September, so Luton has time to recruit and train new recruits before the volunteers will be needed back on Merseyside.
There has been a lot of talk recently about several Government departments being relocated away from London and into the Red Wall. Today I heard that Pocklington in East Yorkshire is being considered for the construction of a new Government departmental “hub”. When looked at in total it is not a silly idea. York, which is only 14 miles away, is one of the favourites for a relocated House of Lords, building land and houses in the area are very cheap by Southeast England standards and several large housing developments in the area have recently gained planning permission. In addition, there is a lot of local pressure for the reopening of the Beverley to York railway line that was part of the Beeching cuts. Trains used to run between York and Hull via Beverley and Pocklington station was on that line. If it happens, remember I told you first!
I hear that the Government is getting ready to change the law later this month to allow local authorities to license pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants who want to serve food, to put tables and chairs on the pavement outside their businesses. In many cases using wide pavements or pedestrianised areas makes sense and should not obstruct passers-by. The Government is looking to introduce a continental cafe type culture in an effort to replace coronavirus reduced indoor capacity with outdoor areas to help make more businesses viable. As an incentive, I hear the Government is going to wave all council license fees this year.
The results of the Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is due shortly and I hear a draft copy has already been given to the Party. The Labour Party confirmed today that they had the draft but refused to comment on what it had concluded. However, I hear that it lays the blame firmly in the lap of Steptoe who didn’t do enough to stamp things out. The question this raises is was he doing it on purpose and turning a deaf ear or was he just incompetent. I understand that Labour have 28 days to reply to the draft before the EHRC will publish the report.
Johnnie Walker whisky is going to experiment with paper bottles early next year. They claim that paper is more environmentally friendly than glass and are setting up a joint venture with other companies to manufacture the bottles for all of the co-owners. I could have understood it if the whisky had been sold in plastic bottles but I thought glass was infinitely recyclable and that nearly all new glass contains cullet as it lowered its production cost by reducing the heat input required.
I was having a lovely dream, in which I had cornered a mouse, when I was woken by the Little Otter calling me for my dinner. I have found a cracking spot under that azalea and, depending on the weather, I may well be back there tomorrow.
Wilf or Bozzie or both of them waking me up early is getting to be a regular thing. I thought I would pop into the garden before breakfast, just like yesterday. However, when I stuck my nose out of the cat flap I saw it had been raining in the night and the grass was wet. Well, I wasn’t going to go and get my paws and fur wet and have to spend hours grooming myself so I gave up and went back to the flat to see what was for breakfast. Dom was in early, having a cup of coffee (but it might have been builders tea) with Bozzie while he ate. They were discussing today’s program of announcements.
The first topic was face masks and how well the MSM had picked up last nights deliberate leak about making them compulsory in shops. Dom was saying that when the full announcement was made later it would not be a good idea to linger on enforcement and penalties. In fact, he pointed out that the Police were not happy that they were expected to enforce things and issue £100 fines for non-compliance, especially when they hardly ever wore masks themselves. Dom also pointed out that if someone in a shop refused to put a mask on the shopkeeper couldn’t be expected to detain them until a police officer turned up to arrest them. He then asked if banks were included in the ban as they currently wouldn’t let in people wearing face masks or crash helmets on security grounds. Further are there enough masks available and will some people profiteer by upping the cost of masks.
Then they turned to talking about the latest GDP numbers that had been announced morning. The three months to the end of May showed a drop of 19% compared to the same three months the previous year. It was actually an improvement over the numbers published a month before and actually showed positive growth of 1.8% for the month of May, which in normal times would be seen as excellent. The MSM I heard on the radio were saying that as the country was returning to work these numbers were disappointing. However, they were clearly ignoring that by the end of May hardly any businesses had returned to work, only the construction industry and some manufacturing. The interesting thing was that GDP in these two areas actually leapt by huge numbers. It was not until 15th June that non-essential shops were allowed to reopen and not until early July that the hospitality industry was allowed to start to reopen. When we see the numbers for the next month and the month after it will be interesting to see the effect these returns to work have.
The final announcement they discussed was that of throwing Huawei out of the 5G telecommunications networks. Again this had been leaked last night to see what the media thought. Bozzie was off to a security committee meeting this morning and was certain they would agree with the revised opinion of the spooks who were saying Huawei were now a security risk because their equipment now included Chinese microchips as the Yanks were banning sales of theirs to them. The only problem is that is going to cost a lot more money and delay the rollout of 5G.
I heard someone today talking about how the Irish Air Corp was completely ineffective and was a weak link in the defence of the West, which the RAF had to cover. The Irish have no fighters or interceptors. The nearest they get is 8 Swiss Pilatus PC9 Trainers that can be armed with machine-guns and unguided rockets pods for ground attack. Last month a report concluded that they needed at least 16 modern jet interceptors so they no longer had to rely on the RAF driving off the frequent intrusion of Russian reconnaissance aircraft and bombers. They only problem is that they have neither the necessary infrastructure nor the hundreds of millions of Euros needed to buy even second-hand aircraft. Perhaps the Chinese could do them a deal on one of their copycat fighter planes.
The Queen’s new exclusive premium brand of gin, sold through royal palace gift shops and online, has sold out within hours of going on sale. Despite costing £40 a bottle it has proved so popular that a second batch has been ordered from the distillers. This gin is flavoured by using aromatics grown in the royal gardens. It is hoped to have it back on sale in a few weeks. Any profits will go to the Royal Collection Trust.
I see that Britain has created a world’s first with the use of a new tiny heart pacemaker which is the size of a vitamin pill. The conventional pacemaker is a box inserted under the chest skin with leads that pass through blood vessels to shock the heart to regulate its rhythm. The wires can be a problem, restricting blood flow. The new device is ten times smaller than the conventional Pacemaker and is inserted into the heart through a vein in the groin where it just sits until it’s chip detects a problem and fires a jolt into the heart to kick it back to normal.
Do you remember me telling you about the problems at Haringey Council? Well tonight the Labour leader, Joseph Ejiofor, faces a vote of no confidence in the battle to replace him by a group of Labour councillors. Of course, the supporters of Ejiofor have played the race card claiming the Labour group opposing him are right-wing racists. Strange they are considered left-wing by the opposition councillors. I will try to bring you the result of the vote just as soon as I hear it.
A bit grey this morning but not cold, looks like a windowsill afternoon. As usual, a read through the paper and listen to the radio news to see what I can report on. Talking of the radio, I must say I don’t like the stand-in for Nick Ferrari this week. I remember Ferrari saying he would go and lay on a beach somewhere as soon as he was allowed to so I bet he’s in the south of France he seems to be that kind of person to me. Perhaps I don’t like the stand-in because I remember him as a SPAD who used to ignore me.
A nice story to start off with today. That lovely old man who raised all that money for NHS charities is to be knighted on Friday. The Queen has invited him to Windsor where she will conduct the ceremony herself. No palming it off on old big ears for Captain Tom. It’s amazing how her Majesty has a knack for getting things right and doing just what the public think is right. Pity Randy Andy doesn’t have the same instincts.
I see Piggy Blackford is going to start another artificial row about a supposed power “grab” by the Government. He is claiming that the Government is taking back devolved power at the end of the year when the transition period ends. These are powers currently administered by the E.U. and in order to keep a single market in the U.K. the Government is keeping ultimate control of some of the returned powers and let Scottishland control 111 of them, but of course Piggy has contrived a row. But he really is a stupid little man if he thinks people can’t see that this is just another attempt to make Scottishlanders think they would be better off out of the UK. If he did get “independence” he so wants and to rejoin the E.U. they would immediately “grab” back the precious powers.
As I was telling you last week more and more airlines are restarting services and one of them has even chosen to return the giant Airbus A380 back to service. Many airlines have chosen to lay up their biggest aircraft at hot and dry airports and some have even chosen to dispose of Jumbo’s and A380’s as they don’t think the numbers of passengers will return for a few years. But Dubai Airlines has reinstated A380 flights to Heathrow and Amsterdam with the first ones today. They will be reinstating more A380’s over the next few weeks.
Another story I read this morning was that 1.1 million people in the U.K. have given up smoking since lockdown began and another 450,000 are trying to quit. I have never been tempted to smoke, although I have seen pictures of Beagles smoking, but they are stupid dogs. I expect most of them are men who have been at home and have been nagged by their wives and children. At the moment the Government could do with the tax revenue of about £5 a pack of 20.
I see that someone has crept up in the dead of night and stuck a statue of a Black Lives Matters protestor on top of plinth in Bristol where the statue was toppled and dumped in the dock. As this statue is unofficial and has not had permission I doubt it will be allowed to stay. However, with the snowflakes on Bristol council you just don’t know for sure, they could surprise us and let it stay.
Plaid Cymru tried to get the Welsh Parliament to vote for an independence referendum today but they failed to get the necessary support, it being voted down by 43 to 9. The trouble is independence is like a religion for the SNP and Plaid Cymru and it is bound to come back. No matter how many times it is pointed out to them that their countries are only viable because of the £billions pumped into their economies by the English taxpayers they think they could exist on their own. How do they possibly think the E.U. would let them join with the current state of their finances. I would love to see them try.
A bit of fun in the Tory Party tonight. Bozzie wanted Failing Grayling to be chairman of the Commons Security Committee. The chairman is elected by the nine members of the committee 5 of whom are nominated by the Government and 4 by the opposition. It seems that opposition members approached on of the Tories, Julian Lewis, and said if he stood for chairman they would vote for him. Lewis then told the whips he would support Failing but entered his name in the vote. It wasn’t until the members got the voting papers at about 17:00 that Failing knew his wasn’t the only name on the paper. With Lewis voting for himself and the four opposition votes, he was elected by 5 votes to 4. This has upset the whips who don’t take kindly to being lied too and Tories conniving with Labour so they have withdrawn the whip.
A bit better this morning little bits of sunshine. I am either going deaf or getting used to Wilf’s early morning crying as my breakfast was already in my bowl when I got to the kitchen this morning. Anyway, I sat on the papers when they landed on the floor and pretended to have a wash until Bozzie went to his office.
The first thing I saw this morning was the news that the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine sailed through its stage one tests with flying colours. Although it won’t be officially reported until the results are published in the Lancet next week the highlights have been leaked. It seemed that blood tests on the people who had the vacation have revealed that it had produced not just COVID-19 antibodies but also T-cells making it doubly effective. The antibodies attack and kill the Virus in the human body and the T-cells attack any human cells that the virus has already invaded. The worry is that the antibodies response won’t last as some types of coronavirus antibodies have faded after four or five months. However, T-cells have been known to still be around some 25 years later. It is also believed that if the T-cells are triggered by the virus they also encourage the body to restart antibody production. AstraZeneca have orders for 2 billion doses of vaccine.
The National Cyber Security Centre has warned that Russian hackers have been trying to attack our coronavirus Vaccine research and researchers. Around the world a number of vaccines are being developed. 2 in the U.K., 2 in the US, 5 in China and several others in various countries. But so far the Russians don’t appear to have a single candidate and for them it is a matter of losing face if the West or China were to come up with a successful vaccine first. As the AstraZeneca vaccine is looking to be very good in its current stage of development it is a prime candidate for being spied on.
While on the subject of coronavirus I hear that Matt Handoncock has called for a swab being used in testing to be withdrawn. It seems that the Randox brand of swab is not up to the required standard. There is nothing wrong with its sterility and it has not caused any clinical problems. But the Northern Ireland company have notified the Department of Health and Social Security that the swabs in some of their test kits supplied under a £13.5 million contract might not meet the required standard.
The Court of Appeal ruled today that Shamima Begum should be allowed to back into the country so that the traitor can defend herself in her appeal regarding having her British citizenship removed. I find it very strange that she should want to come back for an appeal. If she loses it it’s straight back to the refugee camp. If she wins I fully expect she will be arrested as a traitor on the court steps. Anyone who suggests the Manchester Arena bomber was justified deserves to go to prison. I suppose she could get into the country and then go into hiding, it would be hard to recognise her in some British cities.
Doctors are complaining that the Daily Coronavirus statics are very misleading and that both the numbers for Daily deaths and positive tests are highly inflated. They say the daily death numbers are actually down to about 20 a day but the DHSS add in a lot of historic deaths to each days count. Some of the deaths announced on a day can be from as long ago as two months. The problem with the positive tests is that if a hospital in-patient has a series of positive tests after an initial positive test they all count in the statistics as if they were a new patient. So one person can appear as 5 or 6 positive tests.
Earlier this week I told you how Vauxhall Ellesmere Port had loaned 180 assembly line workers to the Van plant in Luton because they weren’t expecting to resume production until the middle of September. Well Vauxhall have surprised people today by announcing that the Astra is to be assembled at Ellesmere Port once again from 17th August, a month earlier than expected. Will they be calling the loanees home soon?
Whoopie it was Felix Chicken this morning. You would think the human servants would realise that was my No.1 food by the rate at which it disappears from the bowl and give me more of it. I could eat it every meal. Bozzie was practising for his morning press conference while eating his breakfast. He got told off by the Little Otter for speaking with his mouth full. I hear he is going to make some more Coronavirus announcements.
Matt Handoncock isn’t happy. He has found out that Public Health England has been counting the Coronavirus Deaths in England on a different basis to the rest of the U.K. countries. It seems that PHE count people as having died of coronavirus if they have ever had a positive test. They may have been not symptomatic, recovered completely, but were killed in a road accident 5 months later and PHE still counts them as dying from Coronavirus. It’s no wonder that the numbers for England look bad. The other three nations only count them as coronavirus death if they die within 28 days of a positive test. Only the other day a doctor was pointing out how the numbers for positive tests was also wrong. If a hospital in-patient tests positive once a week for five weeks it counts in the statistics as if it were 5 people. No wonder England’s numbers look bad.
I read that lots of the big cruise lines are disposing of their oldest ships. In most cases, these are the most expensive to operate. Carnival are getting rid of 13 ships, but then they do have 8 or 9 companies in their portfolio all with numbers of ships. Some will be sold to secondary cruise lines and some will be scrapped. Their British company, P&O Cruises, has sold one of their older smaller ships but at the same time will be adding a new huge LNG powered ship in the autumn. Holland America has sold four small ships. Costa have sold two. Royal Caribbean have sold several older ships. In fact, nearly every major cruise line is either reducing its fleet or modernising it. But it’s not just the cruise lines, the airlines are getting rid of old, expensive to operate planes. Today British Airways have announced that their 31 Jumbo Jets (Boeing 747-400s) are no longer going to fly as passenger numbers have dropped so much.
I hear that Piggy Blackford’s constituents aren’t very happy with him. It has emerged that he is not content with just being an MP. He has several other jobs including one that pays him nearly £40,000 per annum for 32 hours work a year. He was recently described as the Scottish George Osborne, who was famous for accumulating jobs. His constituents would like him to do just one job, that of their MP.
Bozzie has lots to say at his Press Conference this morning. Firstly, local authorities are going to be empowered to handle local outbreaks of coronavirus. They will be allowed to close premises, shut outdoor spaces and cancel events. Money has been found to keep the Nightingale Hospitals on standby ready for the infamous second wave. A number of changes will kick in from the 1st August. From then it will be up to employers to decide if it is safe for employees to come to work instead of the “work from home if you can”. Bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos can open. Wedding receptions with up to 30 people can happen and “test” events will be held with live audiences in sports stadiums. Subject to successful trials indoor performances with live audiences will start in the autumn. All this is aimed at getting people back to work.
The ginger gay Brighton MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle has stepped down from the Labour frontbench as shadow minister for air quality after making anti-semitic posts. He complained that he had to resign because of all the online hate he had received from the right-wing. What a strange man. It appears that he thinks anti-Semitism is OK but being told he is anti-Semitic is “right-wing hate”. What a nasty little man he is.
The Queen knighted Captain Sir Tom Moore, the 100-year-old fundraiser this afternoon, in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Fortunately, the sun shone on the ceremony, the first public one taken by the Queen since lockdown. Captain Sir Tom joked with the Queen that he hoped that he didn’t have to go down on one knee as he would never get up again.
It’s been a lovely day today and I have had a pleasant snooze on my favourite windowsill. Now it’s a little cooler now and I’m off for a stroll around the garden to get an appetite and then to see if it’s the rest of the Felix chicken in my bowl for dinner. I do hope so.
Wilf woke me up again early, I wonder if they make earplugs for cats. Anyway, it was warm so I went for a drink out of my water bowl. Bozzie said for me to move out of the way and he would give me some “nice fresh water”, I just kept on lapping, why can’t he understand I prefer it stale when the chlorine taste disappears. Anyway down to today’s tales.
I see reports that the E.U. think that the trade talks are 80% finished. They believe the only major areas of disagreement remaining are fishing, state aid and dispute settlement (the ECJ) and if we would only accept their position we could have an agreement tomorrow. So the idiots clearly haven’t moved an inch on our red lines and think we should. Next weeks talks should be fun.
In the meantime, the E.U. are having their own internal problems agreeing a budget for their COVID recovery plan. It had been proposed to give rebates to Italy and Spain but some of the Northern European countries are not very happy with this arrangement. The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, dug his heels in yesterday. They are backed by Austria, Sweden and Denmark who all don’t agree with the budget. I would like to be a fly on the wall when the talks resumed this morning.
The war over electric vehicle charging systems seems to be heading to a conclusion. For those of you who remember the video system wars between Beta, VHS and Phillips, this is something similar. Beta was technically the best but VHS won because more people used it, while Phillips struck out on their own. Nissan have been using the CHAdeMO system which most people think is the most technically advanced. Nearly every other EV manufacturer has been using the CCS system. The exception is Tesla, who like Phillips, invented their own system in the US. Strangely their European cars use CCS. Well, it looks like CCS has won as Nissan has announced that its new model is going to use CCS. The real winner will be the public as they wouldn’t have to hunt for a charging station with the right system.
The word is that the Unite union leader, Len McClucky, has decided to retire a year or so early. His term as leader run out in 2022 but I hear that he is likely to quit next year once a replacement has been elected. McClucky is an undiluted lefty and Corbynite, believing totally in the last Labour manifesto. He is not at all happy in the direction Keir Stoma is taking the Labour Party of which his Union has been a major supporter. McClucky will be the third big union leader to go since the election. Unison leader Dave Prentis announced he would be stepping down from his role at the end of the year, while Tim Roache, general secretary of the GMB, stood down in April citing ill health.
At the Libel trial, Johnny Depp said that he “lost” $650 million (£500 million) in 2016. How do you lose that much money? Well among other things it seems he bought houses worth £60 million, a private island, spent £25,000 a month on wine and spent millions on artwork. He also gave millions to charities and spent £2.6 million to build a tower in the shape of a clenched fist to fire a friend’s ashes from a canon on the top. By the way, he says he has not paid any US Taxes for 17 years and owes them £100 million. What is the saying about a fool and his money?
I hear that Bozzie has a list of 30 people that he is going make into life peers to mark a year as PM. One of the names said to be on the list is Ian Botham the ex-cricketer. Not only was “Beefy” Botham a huge Brexiteer, he also raised millions for charity when his cricketing was over.
I have had a really nice day today. It has been pleasantly warm in London and I have been alternating between snoozing on the windowsill and in a shady spot in the back garden. I hear it’s not going to be so nice tomorrow so I have been making the most of it. Hope you all have a pleasant Sunday, I’ll be back on duty on Monday.
©️ WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file