Good Morning Cat lovers. Another week and a lot happening here. Someone came round yesterday to check out if the central heating ready for the official turn on. The Civil Serpents do like to do it by the calendar and not by the temperature. He had a little key and seemed to get a lot of air out of some of the office radiators. Bozzie appears to have been a naughty boy putting the heating on in the flat himself before the official date.
Lots of speculation over the weekend on the three-tier Coronavirus shut down system. All the press were talking about it as if they know exactly what was going to happen before it is announced. If they are right, the bottom level (Tier 1) is the rule of six and pubs closing at 10pm. But surely the bottom tier should be normal. Are we going to have an extra Tier 0? Anyway, Bozzie is going to make a statement to the Commons this afternoon so people can’t say too much or Mr Squeaker gets upset.
There was a press conference this morning from Jonathan Wig Wam, the deputy chief medical officer, and a couple of his flunkies telling us how bad the virus is in the North East and North West of England. I watched them on the TV and they seemed intent on putting the frighteners on everyone prior to Bozzie’s statement this afternoon. A couple of things that were announced by them were that all health service workers were to be tested regardless of their Covid status and that they had told the 3 mothballed North of England Nightingale Hospitals to prepare for action.
Last week there was a warning that a small asteroid was going to pass close to the earth. Now it seems that it is not an asteroid but is actually space junk. It has been identified as the upper stage of a Centaur rocket which was used to launch a failed moon lander mission some 54 years ago. The 10-foot diameter, 30-foot long cylinder was last seen heading for the sun. It now looks like it has gone into an orbit around the sun and will pass close to the Earth on a regular, if extended, basis.
Despite all the cruise companies having shut down their programs until the new year and having ships laid up all around the country, new cruise ships continue to be delivered. This morning P&O Cruises took delivery of their newest ship 5200 passenger ship Iona. This ship will be the biggest ship operating in the British market when it starts its program next year. It will also be the greenest ship in their fleet using LNG for propulsion, which is why it will be sailing out of Southampton as ports that can supply LNG are in short supply at the moment.
Bozzie made his statement on coronavirus this afternoon and poo poo’ed the people who had told him to either let the Virus rip or return to a national lockdown. He said there is a need to go further with restrictions but not as far as a national lockdown so will introduce a three-tier system. Tier 1 is what is the norm now, rule of six and 10pm closing time. Tier 2 will be as the current increased level of restrictions. Tier 3 will have increased limits on social mixing measures will include closing pubs, betting shops, gyms and casinos. Schools, retail and universities will stay open and extra money will be available for local Track and Trace and help from the Armed Forces will be available if requested. At the moment only Liverpool will be in Tier 3.
In the Chinese city of Qingdao there have been several dozen cases of Covid linked to returning travellers and a local hospital. The Chinese authorities have decided to test all nine million inhabitants of the city in the next 5 day. However, that would mean having the capacity to process nearly 2,000,000 tests a day and they don’t have that capacity. They claim to have done something similar in Wuhan when the outbreak first happened. What they did was batch ten or so test samples together and if the result came back negative all those in the batch were cleared. If the batch tested positive then the individuals in the batch were tested. Perhaps we could speed up testing by doing something similar.
When Bozzie came back from the Commons he wasn’t very happy because Mr Squeaker had kept him answering questions for over two hours. He had arranged to go on the telly at 6 o’clock but had to put that back to seven. Because that meant he wouldn’t get his dinner until late made it even worse and the Little Otter didn’t help when she said his dinner was timed for seven, she would have hers and put his in the oven. I had mine at seven as well and the Little Otter, Wilf, the Mutt and me all gathered on the sofa to watch him. The Mutt and Wilf went to sleep, so I climbed on Little Otter’s lap and she rubbed my neck. It was the best press conference ever.
Bozzie was still grumpy at Breakfast, he was moaning about congealed gravy last night. Anyway, the Little Otter gave him eggs and bacon, as a special treat, which improved his mood considerably.
This morning it has been announced that the Government has placed £80 million worth of contracts with ferry companies DFDS, P&O Ferries, Stena and Brittany Ferries to supply extra services to the continent in the event of no deal. The idea is to run new services from lesser-used ports to relieve the load on Dover and Folkestone. The new routes are to run from the likes of Felixstowe, Harwich, Hull, Newhaven, Poole, Portsmouth, Teesport and Tilbury.
People on the internet yesterday were commenting on Bozzie’s hair getting thin. I read in one blog that someone asked if he had been fighting his cat. Well, I can categorically deny that I don’t get on very well with him. I might not get on quite as well with him as with that nice David who rescued me, but his hair loss is nothing to do with me. I reckon Wilf is to blame grabbing handfuls.
Robert Jenerick was asked on the radio this morning what was a “substantial meal” as pubs are allowed to serve alcohol with if they want to stay open in a Tier 3 area. He replied that it was a sit down plated meal such as you would have at lunch or dinner. He was then asked if a Cornish Pasty was a “substantial meal” and was told yes if it was accompanied by chips, veg or a side salad. Now I hear people saying a Cornish pastie is a substantial meal, are the being deliberately stupid?
The Mail has a story this morning that so far £5 billion have been wasted on wind turbines. They have found that a scheme in Northern Ireland paid out the owners of turbines many times the value of the electricity generated. In fact, one particular turbine generated £57,000 worth of electricity last year while it earned its owner over £350,000. This generous subsidy was paid out in Northern Ireland but came from energy bill payers in all four nations. We have made a green monster.
The first of 9 Poseidon P-8A arrived at RAF Kinloss this morning. The aircraft are a substantial upgrade on our fleet of anti-submarine warfare planes. However, these new planes can also perform search and rescue tasks and surveillance missions. All 9 aircraft are on schedule to be delivered from Boeing by the end of next year at a cost of £3 billion. These are jets based on the Boeing 737-800 and are a replacement for the propeller-driven Lockheed Orion P-3.
The latest organisation to admit to a cyber attack is Hackney Council. They admitted such today and they also admitted to a data breach. It seems anyone who has a website that holds data about users and also has a public website is potentially vulnerable. It seems to me that those companies that have their websites hosted remotely and not connected to their internal networks are the only ones safe these days.
I see that the EU has excelled themselves with their latest regulation. They have banned the Rolls Royce illuminated Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament on the grounds that it causes light pollution! Rolls Royce has said anyone in the EU who has purchased this option may have it replaced by the standard pop up Spirit of Ecstasy for nothing and get a rebate on the illuminated option. Of course, you can still legally buy this option in the rest of the world. If a Saudi Prince has one installed on his Roller will the Italian police pinch him for breaking this ridiculous law?
When I wandered in for my breakfast Bozzie was having a right old moan about Kier Stoma and calling him an opportunist over his speech yesterday demanding a new mini lockdown. He was talking about how at 3 o’clock yesterday the shadow Health Secretary told the Commons that no one on his side of the House wanted a lockdown as it would be disastrous and at 5 o’clock Stoma made his speech demanding just that. A case of the left hand not knowing what the left were doing.
So scientists tell humans in the papers this morning that if they want to make friends with a cat they should look them in the eye and blink slowly. Well, let me tell you that if someone stares in to my eyes I am programmed to think they are challenging me. If they look to one side and blink slowly that is a good sign but let me tell you that the best way to a cats heart is through its stomach. Plenty of chicken helps greatly, as does lots of Dreamies, strokes and neck rubs. Now that’s the way to befriend a cat (well this particular cat).
Sad Dick has been saying that TfL is fast burning through the £1.8 billion in funding they got from the Government and will be out of money by 17th October. They want another hand out from the Government, this time for only £5.65 billion which they say will see them through the next 18 months. If local Government runs their reserves below a certain level the must immediately issue a Section 114 notice and start cutting their expenditure. Without more Government money Sad Dick’s London will have to do that this weekend.
Grunt Shatts has come up with a new idea to cut the quarantine time people coming home from countries not on the coronavirus exempted list. At the moment people have to quarantine for two weeks after returning. Under Shatts new idea after a week in quarantine, you can have a test and if it proves negative you can come out of quarantine. There are a couple of problems I can see immediately, you have to pay for your own private test and you have to get it in person. I’m not sure how someone in quarantine can get a test in person. It is not the testing at the airport that some people want, but if you can afford a private test you could shave almost a week off your imprisonment.
Northern Ireland and Wales have come out with more strict coronavirus rules today. In Northern Ireland, they are going to shut down pubs and restaurants for four weeks and Schools for three weeks, two of which will be half term. In Wales, they are going to shut the border to anyone from a Tier 2 or Tier 3 area, from the central belt of Scottishland and all of Northern Ireland.
So much for the superiority of local coronavirus track and trace. In Nottingham the local tracers have been going door to door handing out self-testing kits to people, they then return a little later and collect them for processing. Yesterday they managed to hand out a couple of dozen kits to people that had already been used. Several were actually used a second time! Can you imagine sticking a contaminated swab up your nose? What if the person who had already used the swab had Covid-19? Nottingham council say the problem is being investigated.
Yesterday I told you that the first of the RAFs new Poseidon P-8A aircraft had arrived at Lossiemouth with 8 more expected by the end of next year. Well, they are arriving a bit quicker than I expected, two more were delivered today. Wow, we might be able to fly one in anger soon.
Bozzie had a video meeting with Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel this evening. I managed to listen in by pretending to sleep on a chair in the corner of Bozzie’s office. He told them that he was disappointed that they were still refusing to move an inch on fishing, even after he had made a compromise offer. He added that if they still didn’t make an offer after their minister’s meeting tomorrow he would stick to his 15 October deadline and pull out on Friday. Even if, by some remote chance, an agreement could be made it would still have to be passed by the House of Commons, the European Parliament and the EU 27.
I read that a burglar has been jailed in Sunderland after making it very easy for the police. He left a bag at the scene with documents in it that revealed both his name and address. When the police went to his home they found the cleaning equipment he had stolen on open display. He pleaded guilty and asked for two other cases to be taken into account in which he stole washing from lines. He was sentenced to four years.
Well, it’s bright and sunny in London this morning, but not too warm out of the sun. I wonder if I can find a window sill in the sun to lie on this morning. I just noticed that my winter coat is beginning to thicken up so perhaps I will not be suffering from cold paws so often.
So Faceache and Twatter have decided to censor users who comment on Hunter Biden’s alleged illegalities and Twatter has even removed the account of the newspaper that broke the news. The claim is that it breached their rule on repeating material got by hacking. This never seems to have worried them before when it was anti-Trump material, but in any case this information does not appear to have been got by hacking. On the face of it, the actions are blatantly political and they are now being accused of interfering with the election. This is getting interesting.
Handoncock made a statement to the House of Commons this morning changing the coronavirus status of London from Tier 1 to Tier 2. This is what Sad Dick wanted as he gets more money from the Government. There were a few other regions and districts also moved up a tier like York and Barrow. However, the expected move up of Manchester and some of the big Northeast towns didn’t happen. It looks like the local lefty mayors are hanging out for more money. With Stoma wanting a new “People’s” lockdown he obviously doesn’t have much control over his lefty mayors.
I was in the office this afternoon, begging a few Dreamies from my friend, and the Parliament Channel was on the TV. They were discussing something called the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill and there were a series of votes on amendments that the opposition were trying to get through. I sometimes wonder why they bother. It’s not like when that nasty lady who used to live here had a vote, then you never knew who was going to win. Now the Government has such a big majority that it always wins. If the Government won’t accept an amendment in the debate as being any good the opposition are just wasting time forcing a division.
Another thing I want to know about what all this eyes to the right and nose to the left thing is all about. How can someone have 340 eyes and 260 noses? How many mouths do they have? Every time I hear it I think about one of those Picasso paintings with those odd faces.
I head that Wee Krankie has asked Sky to broadcast the Celtic V Rangers match this weekend free to air. She says it is to stop people gathering in pubs that have paid for a license to broadcast the football. I think that in reality has can’t afford to have Sky TV at home and just wants to watch the game for nothing. Will the Scottishland Government be going to recompense all those pubs that have paid to show the game to get a crowd for the licence fee and lost sales, I think not.
I have a new hero, Spider Cat. He joins forces with Spider-Man in the new Spider-Man game for PS 4 and 5 which is out next month. It seems that he is stolen when a shop is robbed and recovered by Spider-Man who then carries him around in a backpack. He has his own mask and joins in on fights to help finish off baddies. I would love that job, it’s cooler than being the Chief Mouser.
Breakfast was with everyone this morning, even Dom popped in for a cup of coffee and a chat with Bozzie. They talked about Brexit. The EU didn’t agree anything helpful at their meeting yesterday, in fact they demanded once again that we concede all their demands. Dom wanted Bozzie’s to go on TV this morning and say we were breaking off all discussions as they had not met our deadline for an agreement. Bozzie was willing to go on TV but he didn’t want to totally give up hope of an agreement. He said he would announce that talks were over and we should all prepare for an Australian type agreement, but if the EU came back to us with fundamentally changed suggestions we would listen.
The mayors in the Northwest of England as still holding out against going into Tier 3 because they want more money out of central Government. I don’t see how they can justify letting more people in their areas get Covid 19 just to get a bit more money. If they keep this attitude up I expect Bozzie will just lose his patience and put them into Tier 3 anyway.
Kier Stoma is keeping quiet about the problems in the Parliamentary Labour Party. Another 7 frontbenchers resigned because they didn’t agree with the voting instructions they where getting from their whips and made up a gang of 34 who defied the whip. They are part of the group that still supports the Tramp, is thought to be as many as 50 and includes Old MacDonald and the Abbotpotamus. I can see trouble coming here.
Bozzie did another press conference this afternoon. He was basically appealing to the northern mayors to come on board and not to hold out against Tier 3. He also talked about new types of tests that are being or have been developed. He said that they had secured one million simple saliva tests that involve a quick swab of the inside of the cheek and gave a result in 15 minutes. He said he wanted to initially use these tests for NHS workers, schools and universities. This test is currently being bought from abroad, but preparation are in hand to make it in the UK.
I see that a few details of the proposed London Resort theme park were released today. The park is looking for permission to be built on the Swanscombe Peninsula on the bank of the Thames opposite Tilbury. The initial plans show at least 8 roller coasters, a log fume and other rides based on Paramount Pictures films. Paramount own the Mission Impossible, Jack Ryan and Star Trek franchises. It is going to be the size of 152 football pitches and is currently due to be ready in 5 years. It will have a link road to the A2 with parking for 10,000 cars, a bus link from Ebbsfleet Station and a ferry service across the Thames from Tilbury where there will be more parking.
Andrew Neal is to do one final job for the BBC before his new TV Station job starts next year. He is going to host the BBC’s Presidential Election night coverage with Katty Kay. The program will start at 23:30 on 3rd November and go out on BBC 1, BBC News, BBC World and iPlayer. Neal will be in London and Kay in Washington. The usual crowd of BBC anti-Trumpers will feature on the program with Jon Sopal, Clive Myree and Emily Mate less all taking part. Mate less will also be presenting News Night from the US for the week before the election.
The European Parliament is voting next week on banning names that include meat and dairy product names in vegetarian and vegan alternatives. For example, they would ban the names “Veggie Burgers” and “Yoghurt Style”. Farmers in particular have been lobbying for the change, while the big food manufacturers like Nestle and Unilever are on the other side. Personally I think this is a load of rubbish everyone knows there is no butter in peanut butter, no milk in coconut milk and no meat on veggie sausages, why do you need laws to change their name? Thank goodness we will be leaving this rubbish behind soon.
It is sunny in London this morning but not very warm. I wonder if the sun will last long enough for me to get a snooze on my favourite windowsill. But before that a report on what’s going on in Westminster and around the world. I saw a bit on RTE, Irish TV, about Brexit. What they said was that the EU never expected Bozzie to stop negotiations, they always looked at it as a game to stretch things out as long as possible so that Bozzie got fed up and gave in. Earlier in the week, they indicated they were willing to go into “intensive” negotiations to sort out the last few remaining points. But they were so confident they would get what they wanted they took out the word “intensive” from their final statement and said the UK would have to move, not them. Bozzie then said if that’s all you have to offer then forget it we will prepare for an Australian agreement. The RTE article said the UK had never asked for Canada type FTA and one had never been on offer. That’s very odd as I distinctly remember one being offered to that old lady who used to live here. That Ursula woman very quickly tweeted that Barnier was going to London on Monday for “intensive” talks. Lord Frost told him not to bother unless he was willing to make concessions, but he would talk to him in a video call.
New rules for drivers have been announced. Under laws to be enacted early next year, it will be made illegal to touch a mobile phone while driving. It is already illegal to use a handheld phone while driving for calls or texts but you could use it as a sat nav or a camera. These new rules clamps will down on these loopholes, but you can still use the phone hands-free so if your car is newish and has something like AirPlay or Bluetooth you can leave the phone in your pocket and still make or receive calls. Equally, it can still be used as a sat nav if in a cradle or plugged into a cars touch screen.
Earlier this week I told you that Hackney Council had suffered a cyber attack. Now I hear that they have upgraded it to a “serious cyber attack”. Many of the council’s services and IT systems are still not available. In a statement yesterday the council announced that they could not make a number of payments including discretionary housing payments, housing payments and supplier payments. I can see a lot of people being very upset.
The Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, has come in for a lot of criticism for appearing in a photoshoot wearing a low cut blazer with no bra or blouse. The 34-year-old is the youngest leader of a major world nation. I must say she did look good, I would have hated seeing that old lady who used to live here going braless.
Following what I told you about what RTE said earlier I now hear that a number of the EU leader seem to be having second thoughts. Merkin said, “I want an agreement, we need to compromise.” Dutch PM Mark Rutte said, “We’re ready to compromise. We will not get 100% what we want, that is impossible”. They seem to be abandoning Macron who has been the one really holding out on fishing. Will the EU come back with a basis for “intensive” talks next week.
I was reading today that many of the universities are very reluctant to move to online teaching because they would lose a lot of students and consequently money. If a student drops out of a course in the first term they get 75% of the tuition fee back. However, there is usually a cut-off date after which the only get 50% back. Many of the Universities appear to be hanging on for that date before announcing moving all teaching online.
At the end of September, the Swiss town of Schwyz put on a performance of a yodelling musical to 600 residents. Now Schwyz is the centre of Switzerland’s biggest outbreak of coronavirus. A cast member denied that the outbreak had anything to do with them but admitted that 3 members of the cast tested positive a few days after the performance. The infection rate of 408 per 100,000 is as bad as many of those places in Tier 3 in England.
My last story of the week is for all of you who buy one of those big tubs of Quality Street to tuck into on Christmas Day. If your favourite is the toffee deluxe or the chocolate caramel brownie you might well find they have been replaced by others out of the 12 regular sweets. Nestle say that “because of Covid” some of their production lines are limited and although tins will all be the full weight they probably won’t contain all 12 different sweets.
Right, my belly is rumbling so I off to see if my dinner has been put in my bowl yet. Chat to you all again next week.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file