It’s very quiet here this bright Monday morning. No baby Wilf crying. No Mutt barking at Wilf’s crying. No Bozzie shouting at the Mutt to be quiet. No Little Otter telling Bozzie not to shout at the Mutt because he’s making Wilf cry. As you might have guessed they have departed for their camping holiday in Scottishland and left me in charge. It’s lovely, the Dreamies girl was in to feed me and top up my water. She knows how to treat a cat properly. Plenty of food in the bowl (often Felix Chicken), Water topped up but not too fresh, lots of long strokes from head to tail, occasional neck rubs, and Cat Treats. Oh, how I like Cat Treats. I can tell you they don’t have to be Dreamies, I have taken quite a liking for the cheap Tesco chicken ones. A delicious mix of chicken and cheese, with a hint of malt and crunchy, ever so crunchy. She puts the radio on “to keep me company” and leaves Bozzie’s daily papers around. Then she goes off and leaves me alone to get on with things and if I want any company I can go and find her and doze under her desk.
Right, that’s enough about my likes now it’s down to my reporting job. Firstly the result of my morning patrol. I think there is a mouse, or likely two, in the main office I can smell mouse in there. I haven’t yet worked out exactly where they are. There are several desks that aren’t being used as the normal occupants are working from home. I reckon they are living in a drawer, someone’s in for a shock when they come back to work! I shall keep looking and maybe put in a few night patrols.
The big story this morning was the exam results chaos. I really can’t see what the difficulty is, the Scottishland people have set the example by withdrawing the algorithm results and replacing them with the Teacher estimated grades. But Ofqual stamped their little feet and said “the computer says NO”, grade inflation will be too high. Then stepped back a little saying they would use some complicated procedure for reviews involving teacher assessments and mock exams that no one understood.
Then late on Saturday night, after I had gone to sleep, Ofqual withdrew the procedure for “board review”. All this time thousands of students are worrying. I hear all sorts of horror stories of how the Algorithm turned predicted A*’s into C’s and even B’s into Us. I heard one teacher explain that because her school students had achieved a total of 29 A*s last year the school was not allowed to receive more than 29 this year, no matter how good the students. The teachers had to rank their students from best to worst even if they thought the worst would still have got an A* which explains why the algorithm gave some of them lowest grade U. The Big Irish Woman has already decided to stick to the teacher assessments for their GCSEs. Something will have to be resolved soon or there is going to to be utter chaos.
I was always told that when you are in a hole you should stop digging. In Scottishland the parliamentary committee looking into the politics of the failed prosecution of Alex Salmond has had a request for the legal advice the government received to be released to them. John Swinney the SNP deputy leader has refused. If I was on that committee the only conclusion I could draw was that the SNP had something to hide otherwise the advice would have been handed over.
The Labour Party is having more problems with its left-wing who still can’t understand that Steptoe would never ever have been voted into power. A group of militants turned up at Stoma constituency office an attached a huge banner about 65,000 dead. It seems that that is how many they have dreamed up as killed by coronavirus and they think it wouldn’t have happened if Steptoe was still leader as he would have been tougher on Bozzie. Then Steptoe and several other lefties have been moaning that he would have been elected PM in the 2017 election if not for Stoma and his cronies working against him. I also read that the Abbotpotamus has been complaining that Labour staff called her “truly repulsive” in internal emails. Firstly how did she know, was someone illegally reading the emails, and secondly it could be defended as true. Is a major split coming in the Labour Party?
Taking of splits, I read that the EU is having another of its internal rows. Macaroon has accused the Dutch PM of acting like David Cameroon before Brexit and obstructing the working of the EU. Well, we all know what happened when the EU refused to give even the tiniest concession to Cameroon. Wouldn’t it be nice for it to happen all over again?
This afternoon the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that both A level and GCSE students will be awarded their grades as predicted by their teachers. He said that the Government had been continually reassured by Ofqual that their algorithm approach would be fair to all students and that nobody would be disadvantaged. He went on to explain that by Saturday night it had become clear that this was not true, hence the change. Williamson also said that he was removing the cap on the number of students that universities can take for this year so that they can admit those who they have rejected due to having poor algorithm results. I wonder what kind of a mess this leaves the universities in.
I see that a family in Havant have been able to let out their garden treehouse on Airbnb for £500 a night. It is a single 6’ x 8’ room but comes 4 beds, a swing, a slide and a hammock. A shower, basin and WC are in an adjacent Dr Who like police box!
Another good nights sleep, a pleasant temperature, no one waking me up early and the Dreamies girl on breakfast duty. It looks like it rained in the night, everything is a bit soggy out in the garden.
Still a lot of people on the radio this morning moaning about the change of exam grades. I am amazed how thick some people are. They whinged about algorithm generated grades until they were altered to teacher generated grades. Then they whinged more about nothing in particular. Now everyone is trying to blame each other as to who’s fault a rubbish algorithm was, the Government who specified it or Ofsted who wrote it. Well, in my view it all depends on whether it met specification or were the Government just told that it did.
Matt Handoncock made the expected announcement on the future of Pubic Health England and Track and Trace this morning to form a new quango the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP). The boss is going to be Dildo Harding who was in charge of TalkTalk when they got hacked. The new quango will hold a lot of personal data, I hope they don’t get hacked.
Tonight the next round of talks with the EU start tonight in Brussels with discussion over dinner between Micheal Barnier and David Frost. As usual, both sides seem to have been busy briefing the media. I have heard all sorts like the EU are about to give in, the UK are about to give in, the EU have made a wonderful offer but the ungrateful UK have turned it down, the EU are being unreasonable. Well, I think both sides are digging in and I will be astonished if there is a breakthrough in this series of talks.
I read that in the first two weeks of “Eat Out to Help Out” some 35 million meals have been bought through the scheme. 85,000 restaurants have joined the scheme and from what I hear they are 27% fuller on average than they were in the same two weeks last year. Most of the restaurants are delighted with the scheme and particularly it’s simplicity. However, I hear that the only criticism is that the discount is only on soft drinks and alcohol is not included.
Did you eat Turkey Twizzlers for your school dinners before Jamie Oliver came along and got them removed from menus claiming they were rubbish? Today it has emerged that Bernard Matthews is to relaunch them. The original product only had 34% Turkey meat, but the new recipe will have 70% and reduced sugar, salt, fat and no E numbers. For anyone who wants a trip down memory lane, they will be in the frozen food section of supermarkets and in two flavours, original tangy tomato and Chilli Cheese. To celebrate a 3 metre high Turkey Twizzler model has been put outside the Norfolk factory.
Seven young sea eagles have been released on the Isle of Wight in an attempt to reintroduce them as a native species. I like to chase birds in the garden, but you wouldn’t catch me chasing one of these. They are huge and could probably fly off with me in one talon. Fortunately they like fish and there are not a lot of them to be found in Downing Street. I know there are some fish in the No10 pond but they are too small to make a meal for an eagle. Still, they could eat that bloody duck that nests there every spring.
Gosh it’s wet this morning, I shall not be venting out. The Dreamies girl is very reliable with my Breakfast, she gets my dinner ready before she goes home and one of the evening people puts it out. If it comes to enforced retirement, like Palmerston, I would be quite willing to go if she were to adopt me. I’d even be willing to become a house cat if she only had a flat. I like to think she has a husband and grown-up children and lives in a semi in the suburbs with a big garden and two nice lady cats next door. I can only dream.
I read that George Michael’s ex-lover 47 year-old Fadi Fawaz has been arrested for hitting parked cars with a hammer. It seems that he was spotted walking down a road smashing occasional cars with a hammer he was carrying. When challenged he kept repeating “it’s my car, it’s my car” before moving on and doing the same thing all over again a few cars later. When the police arrived it took 5 of them to take him into custody. It looks like Fawaz has been living on the streets and had all his belongings in a backpack. I suspect he will be detained under the mental health act.
AstraZeneca has agreed another potential deal for the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, should it get regulatory approval. This time around it is for Australia who have announced they have signed up for enough vaccine to treat everyone in the country. As there are around 25 million Australians and it is said people will probably need 2 doses each I reckon by the power of high-level cat mathematics that means they must have contracted for around 50 million doses. The Aussies will manufacturer the vaccine to the AstraZeneca specification. A little more controversially Australia looks likely to make vaccination compulsory.
Sad Dick has come up with another stupid idea. When the children go back to school next month they will take priority to over other passengers on every other bus. If you are queuing at a bus stop waiting to go to works and a bus arrives, the kids will be allowed on but the person paying the community charge and earning the money will have to wait for the next bus. It might help if Transport for London were to allow more than 35 people on a double-decker bus. On the other hand, he is talking about making school children pay for their journeys from 1st October, that will upset a lot more people.
I read of a farce over a proposed Clean Air Zone in Leeds. The Leeds City Council have been planning its introduction and as a result, many vehicle owners have been replacing older buses, trucks and taxi’s that would have failed to meet the clean air legislation. Now the council has announced the scheme has been put on hold. It seems that because of a massive drop in city-centre traffic under coronavirus the air quality in the city centre has improved dramatically. Of course, many of those who have replaced vehicles unnecessarily are livid, none more so than the taxi drivers who have been encouraged to buy very expensive electric cars. Taxi drivers had asked the council to bring in the restrictions on taxis phased over several years as they will not licence taxis over a certain age. But the council had refused and many taxi drivers had purchase £70,000 black cabs, which the now see as totally unnecessary.
It has only just come to light that back in June there was a clash between a North Korean patrol boat and several Chinese fishing boats. It is claimed that back in 2013 an NK patrol boat was assigned to controlling fishing in the Yalu River Delta. The crew of the patrol boat crew supplemented their wages by taking bribes from Chinese fishing boats to let them fish in NK waters. When coronavirus appeared the crew’s income dropped so when the Chinese return the patrol boat tried to make up lost income by demanding increased bribes. The Chinese were unhappy and 4 fishing boats rammed the patrol boat, throwing a number of North Korean sailors into the water some of whom have never been recovered. Both sides have been anxious to keep this story under wraps as it reflects badly on both of them.
Morning all, it looks like it’s going to be my sort of day today, not too hot and not too cold, not wet and a little breeze. Felix for breakfast, water in my bowl, a stroke from the Dreamies girl. Things are looking good.
While Bozzie is missing there are some workmen in the flat. I think they are only freshening up the paintwork, but I shall be keeping an eye on them.
The GCSE results are out this morning and unlike last weeks A-levels, I haven’t seen a single disappointed student on the TV. This time the grades have all awarded in line with the teacher assessments and all seem to be higher. No one moaning that an A* has been downgraded to a D. However, the BTEC result have been postponed because they were mainly based on course work and it is felt that although the results were accurate the students may have been disadvantaged against the GCSE and A-level result because the teacher assessments have generally given the better grade.
Listening to LBC this morning I heard in passing that one morning presenter was only getting a 90,000 audience but I missed hearing who it was. I rather hoped that it was Jobbie, but it turned out to not be a radio presenter but a Sky News presenter. I bet you will be happy to hear that it’s Bay Kurley.
Has Vladimir Putrid poisoned another opponent? An opposition leader is reported to have been taken seriously ill on a flight from Tomsk in Siberia to Moscow with severe stomach pains and fallen unconscious shortly after takeoff. It is reported that he had just got a cup of tea. He is now on a ventilator in hospital. It is very odd how many of Putrid’s opponents get poisoned.
This morning I read that a number of restaurants have pulled out of Richie Nik-Nak’s “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme. The reason those quitting have given is basically that the scheme has been too successful. Too many people have wanted to use some restaurants and they haven’t been able to cope. There have been long waits in some places because they haven’t got enough staff on. When customers have complained, the restaurants haven’t liked it and moaned about them being rude.
Tonight three more places have been taken off the safe travel list. Today removals are Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago and anyone coming back from them after 4 am on Saturday morning will have to go into quarantine. I fully expect tourists to start whinging soon. However, if you want to go on holiday to Portugal it’s better news, it has been added to the safe travel list.
I’ve got a bit of news today that might upset the Mutt. Apparently families in North Korea are being forced to give up their pet dog so that they can be cooked and served in restaurants. It seems that there are terrible food shortages on North Korea and the idea is only the bourgeois own pets, the poor keep pigs for food, so forcing people to hand over their pets is expected to be acceptable to the masses. Image if Bozzie demanded everyone in the country hand over their pets to local restaurants, the animal lovers would go potty.
Looks like another strange day weather-wise. It’s bright and windy but rain is in the forecast. Still, I’m happy, even if the flat has a strong smell of fresh paint. I did hear that the Queen thinks everywhere smells of new paint because all the places she visits are done up just before she arrives. I am being very careful where I walk because paint is a bugger to get out of cat fur.
As I predicted a few weeks ago Crossrail is in trouble again. The statement this morning says that the middle section will now not be opened until the first half of 2022 and will cost another £1.1 billion. The original opening date was 2018 and cost of £14.5 billion, so it’s only 4 years late and will now cost at least £19 billion. Sad Dick runs TfL and Crossrail is a TfL project so this is another Sad Dick failure. But somehow he gets away with it and people think it’s the Government’s fault. Bozzie needs to lay it out straight, it’s all down to Sad Dick.
I see that Angela Rayner has been tweeting about how awful it is that the Tories, who 12 of the cabinet went to Oxbridge, have robbed the poor students of their future. What the silly woman forgot to mention just as many of the shadow front bench went to Oxbridge and even her beloved leader Keir Stoma went to Oxford. In fact, most of them went to Oxford (what’s wrong with Cambridge), but we mustn’t forget David Lammy who went to Harvard on a freebie.
I forgot to mention yesterday that it’s not all bad news in the Business world. Merck Pharmaceutical are to open a London research centre and offices in the huge Kings Cross development. They will be spending £1 billion on a new building and employing 800 people. There are over 1900 homes, 20 new roads, 5 parks and 50 new buildings either built, being built or planned on the old railway land.
I saw the TV news yesterday and they were pushing the number of people who tested positive for coronavirus. It has been round about 1100 or fewer every day for weeks now and the TV news seems to revel in the fact that the number is not coming down. But what they never seem to give these days is the number of daily deaths. I suspect that because that number has been steadily falling it doesn’t suit their agenda, especially yesterday when the NHS reported not a single hospital death. Today the ONS has put out their latest infection numbers. They get these by doing random daily testing and multiplying up to give a nationwide number of those infected. This number fell quickly through June and early July but has flattened out to 25,000 for the six weeks. We seem to have got the virus down to a manageable level and it’s only all the additional testing that is finding the daily cases.
Rathlin Oil are talking to East Yorkshire council about their West Newton oil field near Hull. They have drilled test wells and believe they have found Britain’s largest onshore oil and gas field with up to 283 million barrels of oil and 266 Bcf of natural gas. They are looking to drill two more test wells and want the council’s view before applying for the licences. Of course, all the Greens are against it and saying the oil and gas should be left in the ground. Rathlin make the case that if developed it would reduce imports of oil and gas which are going to happen anyway.
Following the talks with the EU it seems that they don’t want to take back illegal immigrants following us leaving. Does this mean that it is their intention to try to get rid of as many of them on to us as they can and refuse to take them back when we refuse them political asylum because that how it sounds. But then they have been trying to do that already. The “16 year-old”, who drowned recently, turns out to be 28, according to his driving licence, and having failed to gain asylum in France tried 3 times to get to the UK but was still in France.
Last September engineers realised there was a very small air leak on the international space station. They have spent nearly a year trying to find it but have so far failed. This weekend they are going to try something new. They are going to isolate all the occupants in one of the modules and close up all the access doors. They hope by carefully monitoring air pressure they will be able to work out which module is leaking. I suppose that gets them a bit closer to finding the leak, but maybe not.
Rats, the humans are back from their holiday early due to interference from the Daily Wail. The painters haven’t even finished and have packed up with a couple of rooms still to go. Still, I guess the Dreamies girl got a lie in this morning and I got yummy Felix Chicken two breakfasts running because the Little Otter had no idea what I had yesterday.
The EU have announced a breakthrough in their trade war with the US. This all started when Boeing complained about the EU subsidising Airbus to their detriment, conveniently forgetting the subsidy they got from the military. Trump smacked tariffs on EU exports and the EU retaliated. One of the EU tariffs was on Maine lobsters and this has really hurt the lobster fishermen, so Trump threatened to slap tariffs on EU cars if nothing was done. The result is the EU have removed all tariffs on US lobsters and in return the US has agreed to half the tariffs on glassware and cigarette lighters!
I had a little chuckle when I read about a woman who went into Stevenage ASDA last Saturday to buy some BBQ stuff. She had to walk past the display of school uniforms that is usual at this time of year, what wasn’t so usual was that they had reduced the uniform black trousers to 10p a pair. So she grabbed 4 pairs for her 13 year-old son. She told her sister about the bargain who wished she had been a been able to get some for her son. The next day, Sunday, she was in ASDA for her weekly shop and was amazed to find that the shelves had been restocked with more sizes and all still at 10p. So she got 18 more pairs for her three children and 4 pairs for her sister. ASDA made no comment.
Gandhi gave a gold plated pair of his famous pebble glasses to an Englishman working for BP in South Africa in the 1930s. 4 weeks ago the man’s nephew put them through the door of a Bristol auction house with a note explaining what they were and adding that if they were no good they should put them in the bin. The auction house estimated they would fetch £15,000 and the owner was amazed. I wonder what his reaction was when they sold for £260,000.
One of the last hangovers of EU laws has just been added to UK regulations. From December 21st this year all cars and buses sold in the UK that are fitted with a radio must have a DAB radio. It may seem a bit odd implementing this EU regulation just before we leave the EU when we could have easily ignored it. However, as 94% of cars registered this year were already fitted with a DAB radio I guess it makes sense. I wonder which new cars don’t come with a DAB radio. By the way, I understand that in parts of North Wales and the Highlands there is no DAB signal.
The Irish Government is having a bit of a crisis. Just 24 hours after new coronavirus legislation banned indoor gatherings of more than 6 people some 80 people, including a number of MPs, attended a plush dinner at a Galway hotel. A minister and a senator have already resigned and the Teashop has withdrawn the whip from 3 of his parties MP’s. The coalition has also removed the whip from 3 MPs making the Government 7 votes down and possible to vote out.
So the EU is once again blaming us for lack of progress in the Trade talks. It seems that the problem is we just will not give into them. They have demanded that we must concede to them on adopting their rules on fishing and state aid before they will even consider talks about anything else. It looks like it one of those who blinks first standoffs and I think the EU has the most to lose.
A bit of fun in London this evening. Tower Bridge opened to let a ship through and then got stuck half-open for over an hour. Traffic was jammed up all over the place. Good job traffic in London is very light due to coronavirus and it being the weekend. I hate to think what would have happened had it been an old fashioned mid-week rush hour.
Right, that’s another week done, I’m off to see what’s in my bowl for tonight and then to curl up with a full belly.
©️ WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file