Another week and another chance for me to comment on some of the happenings in Westminster and around the world. I did see one thing that made me purr over the weekend. It was Bozzie doing press-ups, trying to encourage people to lose weight and to prove that he was back to fitness following his tussle with coronavirus. Mind you should have seen him puffing when the camera was turned off.
Another announcement yesterday was the resignation of Sir Mark Sedwell, the Cabinet Secretary. Bozzie and Dom have been plotting a shake-up of the civil service for some time and Remoaner Sedwell has been in the gun sights for some time. He also held the posts of Head of the Civil Service and National Security Advisor, clearly a lot of power in the hands of one unelected man. Bozzie and Dom want to get more Brexiteers into the top civil service posts and also want to move more departments out of London possibly to ‘Red Wall’ towns and cities. It’s tradition to give a peerage to ex-Cabinet Secretaries so we haven’t seen the end of Sedwell.
I didn’t see him myself, but I understand that Piers Moron didn’t look very well on TV, not that he ever sounds very well. Unfortunately, he wasn’t suffering from coronavirus as many hoped, but recovering from heatstroke caused by too much sun. He admitted on air that he had spent a day in bed unable to walk or talk and with difficulty breathing. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.
Bozzie hasn’t wasted much time in appointing a new National Security Advisor. Sir David Frost has been appointed to take up the job in September. This means Bozzie is being artful as he is using the appointment to send a message to the E.U. Sir David is currently the UK’s Chief Negotiator and as he is moving jobs Bozzie is telling them that they need to have struck an agreement by then. Unsurprisingly the E.U. have already started complaining.
While on the subject of the E.U. another round of trade talks started this morning. This is the start of a month of intensive talks and for the first time in weeks will be face to face. The talks are to alternate weekly between Brussels and London with today’s talks being in Brussels. Sir David Frost went into this morning’s talks with a team of 20 all of whom will have to wear face masks while moving about the Barlaymont, but not in discussion. With these arrangements, it’s a good job that travel corridors are above to be announced and the Eurostar are going to increase their services back to near normal.
Another announcement this morning was of £1.5 Billion in additional spend on English school buildings. £500 million is to go on the repair of existing buildings while the rest of money goes on rebuilding 50 schools that it is better to pull down than repair. The 50 schools are to be picked as the ones in the most need regardless of location, so another boost for the ‘Red Wall’.
Bozzie says he has to be up early tomorrow as he is going to Dudley in the West Midlands to make a speech. I thought he should be used to getting up early with all the yelling from baby Wilf. Bozzie is going to talk about coronavirus recovery plans and spending money on technology and infrastructure projects to boost the economy. I bet that whatever he announces it won’t be enough for Heir Stoma.
I see that with the reopening of pubs and restaurants next week, some places are going to have it a bit easier than others. The Toby Carvery’s problem is that people love piling up their plates with as much from the vegetable selection as possible. With the dangers imposed by many people all using the same serving spoons, it has been decided to have chiefs dishing out the veg instead. Some customers are not happy with this arrangement fearing that they will miss out on heaping up their plate. A bit silly really as Toby have always said that you can make as many return visits to the veg as you want, it’s only the meat that is a one-off serving.
Unless you’ve ever thought about buying one you might not have realised that if you want Tesla electric car you can only buy one online and as you do so the system sorts out the next available production slot and give you a delivery date. One German customer wanted to replace his Ford Kuga with a Tesla 3 but had a bit of a problem with the Tesla website and accidentally order 28 cars at a cost of €1.4 Million.
Apparently, after sorting out all the options for colour, trim and extras he pressed the ‘order’ button and nothing appeared to happen. So he pressed it again and again until he managed to have ordered 28 and paid €100 deposit for each. He frantically called Tesla and despite a policy of not cancelling orders once placed they made an exception. Lucky man.
Well as I warned you yesterday Bozzie was up early this morning to travel to the West Midlands for a big speech. The Little Otter wanted to know where he was going and he said “The Black Country”. She replied, “Which one, isn’t Africa a long way to go to make a speech”. Dom thought this was funny but explained it was an area to the west of Birmingham that included the likes of Oldbury, Dudley, Smethwick, Wednesbury, Wolverhampton, Walsall and West Bromwich. He went on to explain that in the industrial revolution it was full of factories and the name came from all the soot coming from their chimneys coating the area.
The Little Otter then reminded Bozzie of his diet and not to stop his Ministerial car at a motorway service centre, on the way there, to get his favourites egg and sausage McMuffin for an extra breakfast. As he went out of the door he winked at Dom and I heard him say, “But she didn’t mention a Big Mac on the way home”. I hope the whack around the head that earned doesn’t show on the TV.
The MSM is full of the news that Leicester is not going to be joining the rest of the country in the easing of lockdown on Saturday. In fact, some of the old restrictions, like closure of non-essential shops and schools, are being reimposed. It seems that the number of coronavirus cases in Leicester is bad. 900 cases in the last two weeks, 10% of all English cases and 3 times higher than any other English city. The leftie Mayor of Leicester is very defensive, blaming the government. The question is why is it so bad there and not in other cities. Could it be thousands of terraced housed filled with multigenerational Asian families? Youngsters, who feel safe, going out socialising and bringing the virus home and infecting the oldies?
I heard a madwoman Asian lawyer on the radio this morning pushing the defund the police line from BLM. When asked who would react to terrorist attacks if there were no security services because they had been defunded, she said there would be no terrorists because we would be spending money on educating them instead of on the police. In answer to other questions, she implied no one would be speeding or committing traffic offences. Are burglars just giving up, are scammers giving up, are major crime gangs going to disband, are murders going to stop, are rapist giving up and are child grooming gangs going to just disappear because the police aren’t there any more. The idea, and the woman, are totally mad.
I saw Bozzie’s speech on the office TV, the Dreamies Girl let me sit on her desk, and his head looked OK. He wasn’t really announcing a lot of new spending just bringing forward a lot of the stuff that was already in the pipeline. He said he and Richie Nik-Nak were going to speed up projects by allocating the fund and removing roadblocks like planning problems. He was particularly pushing projects to do with hospitals maintenance, schools, railways, roads, bridges and prisons. The usual MSM reporters had all had an away day and all asked their usual stupid questions, the BBC wanted to know how many jobs this was going to create (I wanted Bozzie to say ‘how the f*** should I know’) and ITV literally dropped the mike.
Today, being the last day of June, it is the last day it is technically possible to ask for an extension of the Transition Agreement. As we have already said we will not be asking for an extension and the E.U. has accepted this position it is only a technicality but I’m sure all Brexiteers will raise a glass and give a hearty cheer on the stroke of midnight. I will join you and lap some water from my bowl.
AstraZeneca are still rolling out more deals for its coronavirus vaccine candidate and it has signed a $127 million deal with Brazil this time. They will supply 30 doses if the vaccine is licensed and similar to it’s deal with Japan it will also supply the bulk unfinished vaccine for Brazil to produce another 70 million doses. AstraZeneca doesn’t have a vaccine finishing facility in Brazil so there it will be finished by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. Many of the initial doses will come from Catalent has agreed to produce “hundreds of millions of doses” of AstraZeneca’s hopeful vaccine at its 305,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Anagni, Italy. They are scheduled to begin production of the doses in August, ready for use immediately the vaccine is licensed. AstraZeneca must be very confident that this vaccine is going to be successful when you see how financially committed they are to it.
Finally for today, I see that many sportsmen are reconsidering their support of Black Lives Matter after their anti-semitic tweet in which they accused Zionism of having “gagged” Britain. Gary Lineker got all defensive when asked how he justified his BLM support. Matt Le Tissier revealed how he and others had been pressured into wearing a BLM badge on screen but was reviewing doing so again. He revealed that he and other sportsmen while agreeing with the principle were disenchanted many of BLM’s actions.
Today has started well, the sun is shining but it is not too hot, just pleasant and it’s Felix chicken in my bowl this morning. I recently saw an article that said don’t put your cat’s food in a bowl, put it on the floor. Apparently it’s more “natural” for a cat to eat that way. Well, this cat is quite happy to eat from a bowl, but then I’m a sophisticated cat.
I read this morning that the United States have bought up the next 3 months production of Remdesivir the drug that in tests has cut the recovery time of Covid-19 by 4 or 5 days. The NHS say they have a reasonable stock and should be able to treat all those who currently would benefit from it. However, in the U.K. the main drug used is now dexamethasone which has been shown to save about 1/3 of deaths. Dexamethasone also has a couple of big advantages, it is out of patent so is made and available everywhere, it also is very cheap at £5 a course as opposed to £1700 for a course of Remdesivir.
HMS Severn has become a unique ship in the Royal Navy as the first warship ever to be decommissioned and readied to be scrapped, to be recommissioned. The 1700 tonne patrol ship is required to help patrol the channel where she will rejoin her sister ships HMS Tyne and HMS Mersey. The ship’s crew is scheduled to spend six weeks at sea followed by two weeks ashore with a third of the crew swapping at a time.
The new Chinese security law aimed at stopping protests in Hong Kong became active this morning. It was only as the law came into effect that it was published so that people knew it’s contents and it is even more draconian than expected. Dominic Rabbit announced to the Commons that as had been promised the U.K. would offer a path to British citizenship for the 3,000,000 Hong Konger’s who have British overseas citizen’s passports. They will be allowed to enter the U.K. and be able to work on a 5-year visa. When that expires they will be allowed to apply to become full British citizens.
Another one in the eye for the E.U. this morning. Just as Barnier announced that Britain was doing nothing for it financial services industry Richie Nik-Nak announced that Britain and Switzerland, the world’s No1 and No3 in financial services have come to an agreement to work together. They are to create common rules and regulations and to make it easier for the two countries to work together under common regulations. This is a powerful pact and is a setback to the EU’s negotiating position.
Tonight I hear that former F1 supremo and multi-billionaire Bernie Eccleston has become a father for the fourth time. The new baby boy, called Ace, joins 3 sisters, two in their thirties and one who is 65. Bernie is 89 and his 3rd wife Fabiana Flosi, is 44. Bernie has grandchildren who are older than Ace. Bernie and Fabiana have been self-isolating in their home in Sao Paulo, where Fabiana runs a farm and a coffee plantation. I expect the baby will hardly know it’s parents and will be raised a squad of nannies and governesses.
For the first time in eight years, the British Army has surpassed its annual recruitment target. This year’s campaign has been extremely successful with a new record number of applications in a single day in January when this years campaign was launched. By March they had received 141% of the expected annual applications and have recently reached the target number for this year’s number of recruits.
I see that 28 workers at the Walkers Crisps factory in Leicester have tested positive for Covid-19 and are isolating at home on full pay. Will Gary Lineker be advertising new coronavirus flavour crisps?
This morning I see that the EU has been complaining that we have not returned the answers to questions they asked on 28 areas of financial equivalents. They set a deadline of the end of June and then sent over 1000 pages of detailed questions. The first pages arrived in April, long after we had sent them all our questions, but the final 248 pages didn’t arrive until 25th May. This seems to be typical of the way the E.U. is handling these trade talks, they ask for piles of information, set an unreasonable deadline to receive it, and then moan when an impossible target is missed. It’s all a game to them designed to make them look good and us look bad.
The European Central Bank president, Christine Lagarde, has warned the EuroZone members that the worst is still to come regarding their recovery from shutting down their economies over coronavirus. She warned them that, “the worst is yet to come”. She added that the recovery is going to be “as uncertain and as uneven as the shock was decisive across the board”. Things don’t look good in the EuroZone.
The news of the Russian election result this morning is as expected, a huge win for Vladimir Putrid. It’s what you get in a virtual dictatorship where campaigning in opposition to Putrid was banned. Buried in Putrid’s manifesto was a commitment to a new constitution which changed things to allow Putrid to be president for life if he so desires, something he had promised not to do. The result was so much a certainty that copies of the new constitution have been available in bookshops for weeks.
Travel corridors were due to be announced today, but then I heard that the announcement had been put off until tomorrow and I wondered if something had gone wrong with the negotiations. This morning I hear that the opposite looks likely, the announcement could include up to 75 countries that will be either green or amber on the traffic lights scheme the Government is talking about introducing. If correct, this is going to be excellent news for the travel industry and airlines. It always seemed silly to me that places like New Zealand that have practically eliminated the virus were not on the list.
The National Crime Agency are very pleased with themselves today. They have been involved in busting a huge Europe wide criminal conspiracy that has been using the encrypted EncroChat app on adapted Android phone. The encryption was cracked and in Britain, the Metropolitan Police say they have arrested 138 people and seized £13.3 million in cash. Across Europe there have been 746 arrests, £54 million in cash, 2 tonnes of drugs and several dozens of guns have been seized. I understand that several of those arrested in the U.K. are major figures in crime gangs with links to violent crime and drug dealing and have high-end lifestyles with big houses and expensive cars.
With the arrest today of Ghislaine Maxwell on charges over procuring and trafficking underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein, I wonder if Randy Andy is shaking in his shoes. At the moment he is keeping a very low profile. I bet he was delighted when his daughter had to postpone her wedding due to coronavirus, it meant he could stay locked up in his bedroom with fat Fergie to keep him happy.
There’s a nice row going on in Northern Ireland where Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill is in trouble for breaking social distancing rules as the funeral of prominent Republican Bobby Storey. Must of the NI political parties have called for her to resign but her party, Sinn Féin, has said she definitely will not be. The DUP First Minister Arlene Foster is playing it very carefully and has so far not called for O’Neill to resign and has stated that the DUP will not collapse the power-sharing government if she refuses. It’s strange to see the big Irish woman taking the high ground after Sinn Fein collapsed the last power-sharing arrangement due to her involvement in a heating scheme.
Tonight I hear that in Scottishland they have a couple of outbreaks of coronavirus in factories. The one that amused me was the one in the PPE factory. They should have worn there own gear.
Morning everyone, another early one as Bozzie was off to do a Phone-in on LBC. He used to do a regular one when he was London Mayor, but this was his first since Lockdown and was arranged because of the events tomorrow with pubs reopening. I hear that they can officially open from 06:00, I think you would have to be pretty desperate for a drink to be waiting outside for a pub to open.
I was interested to read that the memory of Steptoe is fading daily. The group set up to support him “Momentum” was controlled by his fanatical supporters. In this week’s internal Momentum elections all the extreme left-wing Corbynites lost their seats and were replaced in all 20 seats by members of the “Forward Momentum” group who support Keir Stoma. One of the newly elected said that “this is a new start and a new direction for Momentum”. Is Labour moving back to the political centre of the hated Blair?
George Osborne must have been making a lot of money since leaving the job of Chancellor of the Exchequer. I read that he had splashed out £1.6 million to buy a house in the Somerset town of Bruton. It has 5 Bedrooms, is Grade 2 listed and sits 3 acres of grounds. One of his new neighbours with be Sir Cameron Macintosh. The seller is a retired antiques dealer who is building a new smaller home on what was the croquet lawn before the grounds were split. Osborne put his Notting Hill house up for sale for £4.95 million last March when he split from his wife when it became clear he was having an affair with a 38-year-old who works for Deliveroo. Osborne also has a £3 million chalet in Verbier, Switzerland.
The list of 59 countries that you can visit without having to quarantine when you come back was published this afternoon. I don’t think there are many surprises but it looks like lots of Caribbean islands are on the list, good news if you want to go on a Caribbean cruise. Mind you I don’t know how many people go to the Vatican City, St Pierre and Miquelon or Saint Eustatius and Saba.
Has the E.U. blinked first in the trade negotiations? They have been adamant that the only agreement they were interested in was a comprehensive one covering everything from trade, quotas, fishing and agriculture to the ECJ. I have heard that they are now willing to do what we always wanted, to sign a series of agreements covering individual areas. It looks possible that an agreement on free trade and quotas could be within reach. However, I hear that a new row has broken out over the £32 Billion merger of Virgin Media and O2. The E.U. are claiming that they have the right to rule on the merger while we think the Customs and Markets Authority should have jurisdiction as they are two British companies and only British customers will be involved. The sooner we are completely free from this lot the better.
I see that a man in bakery factory in Hull has been sacked for peeing in a waste bin. Fortunately, the factory is segregated into a number of production areas and none of these was affected. The waste bin was in a specific waste area but a factory saw him doing it and reported it leading to his immediate suspension and sacking. Production wasn’t affected and the whole waste area had to be deep cleaned.
Morning folks, it’s a big day today with the pubs and hairdressers opening. The Little Otter has told Bozzie to get his hair cut as soon as possible, but Bozzie says he is not going to queue up outside a Barbershop for anyone. I bet I know who wins this one.
Talking about pubs I see Wetherspoon’s have upped all their prices. Beer, spirits and wine have all gone up 10p and most meals have gone up by 20p. I bet they aren’t the only ones to put prices up, with no income for months and the likelihood of new income being reduced because of the number of customers allowed in being limited you can hardly blame landlords. Wetherspoon’s are better off than many pubs as most of them are very large so they have plenty of room for social distancing. I hear that one of the biggest is the 11,000 sq ft Grade II listed building Royal Victoria Pavilion in Ramsgate was opening at 08:00 this morning. Mind you, I also hear hairdressers are doing the same thing and opening early with increased prices.
Electric cars are being boosted in the MSM today by reports that they were 7% of sales in the past 3 months of this year. What this hides is that hardly any cars were sold in this period as carmakers and showrooms were shut down because of coronavirus. There are 32 million cars on the road in the U.K. and less than 1% are EV’s. In fact, less than half that 1% are pure electric, the majority are Hybrids which people use in petrol mode most of the time as they only have a very short battery range. At the rate EV’s are selling the Government’s aim of going to Pure EV’s only by 2035 is looking impossible.
I loved the video on the British Army Facebook page today gently poking fun at Americans, on Independence Day, it described how to make a perfect “British Army” mug of tea. The corporal doing the instruction is sitting in the turret or a tank and explains that you need to put the teabag in the mug and not in the harbour and to add boiling water from a kettle and not put it in a microwave. Every British tank comes equipped with an electric water boiler so that the crew can have a brew whenever they halt, a feature much envied by other nations. The corporal ends by wishing Americans a happy Independence Day and God Bless the Queen!
E-scooters became legal on Britain’s roads today. But you still can’t legally buy one for personal use, you can only hire one. There are a couple of other complications, you need a driving license, either full or provisional, you have to ride it on the road, no pavement scootering allowed and they are electronically limited to 15 mph. It’s meant to be a test to see if they could be used for things like commuting, but I can’t get my cat brain around the idea that most of the hire companies are in central London and the scooters are hired by the hour. How is that compatible with commuting?
The Government has decided to have a televised daily press briefing. This will be a hybrid of the regular daily press briefing and the televised coronavirus briefings. New digital equipment is going to be installed in No 9 and a professional broadcaster is to be hired to front the daily show rather than the unattributable spokesperson who does it now. The intention is to make it a British version of the American press briefing with Kayleigh McEnany, if they can find someone as good as her to put down Rigby, Peston and Kunessberg.
I have been reading a story about a dog called Alfie who was taken ill when he was in doggy daycare while his owners were at work. They rushed the dog to the vet (yuck!) where he promptly sicked up four golf balls. An X-ray revealed a lot more balls in his stomach so he had an emergency operation to remove them. They removed 26 more golf balls, a rubber glove, a ball of string and several pieces of wood. Alfie has recovered but his owner got a Vets bill for £2500. Why are dogs so stupid. You don’t find cats eating golf balls, maybe the occasional bird or mouse, but never a golf ball.
Right, I hope you have enjoyed your first day back in the pub and have managed a trip to the hairdressers. Speak to you next week.
©️ WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file