The start of another week and I’m ready to brief you all on the happenings I observe, but not until I’ve eaten my breakfast and read the papers!
Grunt Shatts was asked on TV to comment on Bozzie spending a secret weekend in Italy last week. Shatts said he was sure he hadn’t as he had been in a Zoom meeting with him. It seems that an Italian newspaper claimed Bozzie flew into Perugia Airport on Friday 11th and flew back to London early the following Monday morning. Well, I also find it a pretty strange report as I know it was chaos in number 10 on the Saturday 12th as it was baby Wilf’s christening at Westminster Cathedral. I suspect Bozzie could easily prove he was in London and not Italy as there were 30 guests, in line with COVID rules, at the christening. Then a Government spokesman was rolled out who said it was “completely untrue” and that Bozzie hadn’t been to Italy in months, what I didn’t realise was that the Little Otter was a left-footer, as you can only be christened in a Catholic church if at least one parent is a practising Catholic and Bozzie is a confirmed in the Church of England.
I told you last week that the railways franchise system was going to end and now the press has been talking about it happening immediately. Grunt Shatts is down to make a statement on rail franchising later today and I bet he says that the Government is going to extend the current temporary COVID system, where they pay the operator to provide a service and take all the revenue while they negotiate new contracts along very similar lines.
The two mad professors, Valance and Whitty, were on the TV this morning doing a double act with their own press conference. There was a lot of speculation about what they were going to say, but they only really didn’t say anything new. They put on their best suits and sombre voices and drew together a load of stuff about the coronavirus situation that we mostly already knew. I think it was a softening up exercise before Bozzie comes on tomorrow or Wednesday with the bad news.
So Bozzie is going to hold a COBRA meeting tomorrow for the first time in a while. Before the meeting, he is going to phone Wee Krankie, Ducksand Drakesford and the Big Irish Lady and talk to the cabinet to update them on his latest thinking. After the meeting, he will be holding a press conference so hold on to your hats.
For some unknown reason, the London Borough of Wandsworth decided to tweet a message to all its residents yesterday. It warned them to pack an emergency grab bag for each resident in case there was a need to evacuate. They recommend they the bag contain a pen and notepad, a torch, a first aid kit, seasonal clothing, a phone charger and power bank, food and water, batteries (presumably for the torch), an emergency plan and a whistle. I cannot for the life of me think why you would need a whistle. Surely it makes more sense to tell people to add in things like, passport, wallet and driving license. The council said it was in case there was a flood, a gas leak or a power cut.
I wonder if I should offer my services to the Crown and Pepper pub in Croydon High Street. When they had a hygiene inspection last month a mouse infestation was found in their cellars and their hygiene rating was reduced to zero. This has forced the popular pub to temporarily close until the mice are sorted out. All they really need to do is hire me and a few of my chums and we will sort it out for them. We work very cheaply all we need is a comfortable car basket and ample supplies of Felix Chicken. Now I’ve got that mouse in the office I’m sure Bozzie would loan the “Chief Mouser” out for a week or two.
Morning all, looks like it’s going to be the last day of pleasant weather. There is rain forecast for tomorrow, so I intend to get out into the garden for this afternoon’s snooze as I expect to be stuck indoors as I don’t want wet fur. Bozzie looked at me this morning and said, “Cat are you putting on weight?”. Well, I can tell him categorically that I am not. I am still at my best fighting weight and as fit as a fiddle.
Bozzie was very busy last night phoning up the Scottishland, Wales and Northern Ireland leaders, he even phoned up Stoma. He talked to the Cabinet, there were “experts” coming and going so fast I couldn’t keep track. Anyway, he is briefing Parliament early this afternoon and from what I hear he is going to shut pubs and restaurants early and going to get people working from home where possible. A couple of things he announced were not predicted, all retail workers will have to wear face masks and weddings will be limited to 15 people. I’m not sure why 30 people can still go to a funeral but only 15 to a wedding. Bozzie has warned these rules could be in place for up to six months.
I hear that the EU is wavering a bit on its trade talks position. It wasn’t going to talk to us anymore over the Internal Markets Bill but has backed down and there will be more meetings in Brussels next week. Macaroon’s frantic demands to take legal action against the UK has been ignored. The EU has given permission to European Banks to carry on trading trillions of Euros worth of financial business on the London markets (they effectively have no alternative) and some international companies headquartered in Europe are actively investigating moving to the UK.
I hear rumours that the Government is considering bringing the end of sales of petrol and diesel cars forward from 2040 to 2030. All very nice and green but there are a few things that need sorting out before this could happen. Many of the motor manufacturers have a 15-year development cycle and will not have suitable vehicles available by then. You only have to look at most of the major manufacturers who have maybe only one or two Hybrid models in their range and no full EVs at all. Then there is the cost of EV’s, these are already more expensive than ICEs but are sure to go even higher when the current subsidy is removed. What about power requirements, will new infrastructure be in place by then. I saw a misleading statistic last week, it said there were more charging points in the UK than there were filling stations. This ignores the facts that each filling station has probably 10 or more petrol pumps and can fully refuel a car in a few minutes, something not possible with a charging point.
I have been reading a story about a ragdoll cat called Stella who with her house companion Frankie the Dachshund, has been flown home to Australia as cargo while their humans have been stuck in the UK for months. The same airline has bumped them off flights five times, despite the four of them having paid over £1000 each for tickets. The problem seems to be two-fold, firstly anyone arriving in Australia is supposed to quarantine in a special hotel at Government expense. However, there is a limit of 1600 people a week. Subsequently, if the airline has sufficient First Class and Business Passengers to fill the available seats with them and bump the Economy Passengers. It is believed there are about 25,000 Economy Passengers around the world waiting for flights to Australia.
Green Piss have been dumping huge boulders in the North Sea to try stop trawlers fishing in banned areas. They say that trawlers have been turning off their tracking devices so that the authorities don’t know where they are fishing. The boulders, some as heavy as 3 tons are dropped over the side of a ship with the aim of snagging the trawlers fishing gear. Can you imagine being a fish in the North Sea happily swimming around and someone dropping giant boulders on your head?
I had a chuckle when I read a story in the paper this morning. Openreach have been struggling for 18 months to work out why the broadband signal in a small Welsh village collapsed every morning at 7 am. They swapped out equipment and even ran a new fibre optic cable into the village thinking there could be a fault in the old one. Eventually, they wandered around the village in the early morning with a monitor and found a huge burst of electronic interference started at 7 o’clock knocking out the broadband signal. A little further investigation showed that a villager had got into the habit of turning on his very old TV at seven every morning and that was the source of the problem. The resident has not used the old TV since and there has been no problem with the broadband signal.
It’s PMQs day today. I know that because Bozzie always practices his answers over breakfast and puts a good suit on. I always ignore him and carry on stuffing my face. I might try and watch him later if I can get into the office to see the TV. I might try to kill two birds with one stone by seeking out the nice Dreamies girl.
Fairly quiet around here this morning, everyone seems to be digesting Bozzie’s new coronavirus restrictions. The papers think Bozzie was a bit tough. Why do the commentators on the radio always exaggerate things? I heard one saying the new rules will last for six months. I distinctly heard Bozzie say that if things didn’t improve they could be in place for six months. Then another one says Bozzie has cancelled Christmas. But I didn’t hear him say that.
At PMQs, everyone said they accepted the need for more restrictions but then pushed for the Government to spend more money on supporting jobs demanding to know what Bozzie’s plans are. He told them there were plans but they would have to wait to learn what they were. Well, Richie Nic-Nak has cancelled the upcoming budget and will be making a statement in the Commons tomorrow and is expected to announce a new support scheme to follow furlough.
After yesterday’s conference speech by Kier Stoma he has got a lot of criticism. It has mostly come not from the Tories, but from the Labour party’s left-wing. They are not happy that he has dumped loads of Steptoe’s extreme-left policies. They claim that when he was campaigning for the leadership he told everyone he was in favour of the policies but as soon as he got the power he has dumped them. Mind you, all he seems able to do is be critical, he hasn’t announced any policies saying he doesn’t have to because the next General Election is over four years away. Will he really be leading Labour into next years local, Welsh and Scottishland elections without any policies. I love it when the lefties eat themselves.
I have been reading about the old racing car driver Emerson Fittipaldi. He won the F1 world championship twice and the Indy 500 twice. It seems he is in deep financial trouble and there are 145 legal cases out against him for €8 million. Only four years ago he had financial troubles and was sued for €6 million. At that time be lost most of his trophies and collection of cars. His biggest creditor, the Brazilian Bank Safra, claims he has been fraudulently hiding concealing his assets which he of course denies. This story could be fun to follow.
I have also been reading the new rules on restaurants and the like and they are a bit confusing. Firstly they say you must wear a mask when moving about the place, you can only take it off when eating (sensible) or sitting at your table (not so sensible). Then they must shut at 10pm, no drinking up time in the pub. These rules apply to cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants, social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and bingo halls. However, cinemas can stay open until the film finishes but you can’t buy sweets, popcorn, hot dogs or drinks after 10 pm. Take-aways are also different they have to close at ten and you have to wear a mask. But if you phone up for a delivery they can sell you that after 10 pm but you can’t collect it, it has to be delivered. Deliveroo and Uber Eat’s must be rubbing their hands together at the thought of the extra business coming their way. Oh, I almost forgot, you can use a drive-through, like McDonald’s, any time!
The other advice out today is to avoid using petrol stations and motorway service stations unless you have to use them. Well, this is really stupid, who goes to a petrol station unless they need petrol and how many people take a day trip up the M1 especially to visit Newport Pagnell services? Of course, you must wear a mask at the services and if they are busy try to pass people back to back. It sounds like a Monty Python sketch.
The weather really has changed this morning, I heard the wind and rain in the night and today it is much cooler. I’m looking forward to my breakfast, I need the energy!
I see there is decent among the members in the Labour Party. Some of the MPs broke ranks and voted against the Veterans Bill when the official policy was to obtain. Steptoe still has a following among the MP’s and several of them followed him in voting against the bill. As a backbencher, nobody really cares what Steptoe does but several of his followers including Olivia Blake and Beth Winter resigned from their official shadow positions. However, Nadia Whittome was sacked from her junior position as PPS. In total 18 Labour MP’s broke the Whip. The bill passed it’s second reading by 331 votes to 77.
Janet Street Walker has a long article in the Mail having a go at Bozzie. I couldn’t be bothered to read it all after I read a bit of it. She is clearly stupid and moans about just about everything including in blaming Bozzie for returning Scottishland university students partying and catching coronavirus when that is Wee Krankie’s jurisdiction. She obviously makes things up to suit her agenda as she talks about the army patrolling the streets which just isn’t happening. She must have imagined it when she was out Street Walking.
The new NHS coronavirus app was launched at midnight last night. By 17:00 it had been downloaded over 1,000,000 times, the Scottishland equivalent, that was launched a couple of weeks ago, took over a week to be downloaded by 1,000,000 people. This one is based on Google and Apple technologies that anonymise the information and is supposed to work better than the one trialled earlier in the year. One thing it includes is a QR code reader that you can use to check-in anywhere that is required to keep a contact list for track and trace. You do, however, need a newish smartphone to make it work and for it to be effective the more people who download it the better.
Today’s big news is Richie Nik-Nak’s new Business Support scheme that he wants to follow on from the current Furlough scheme. It is a lot less generous and will only support those people who are actually in work but on reduced hours. He has also extended the lower rate of VAT until the new financial year and VAT payments for businesses who deferred payments can now do it in 11 parts. The self-employed grant scheme has been extended and two more payments, both covering 3 month periods, have been announced and the Business Loans scheme has been extended from six to ten years meaning that repayments will be halved. Of course, this is not enough for Labour or the SNP, but it is unclear what they do want.
The BBC has a long web site article on the Senate report on Hunter Biden concentrating on only one of it conclusions and dismissing it as “weak”. The only bit they mention is that Hunter is accused of holding “awkward” positions in a Ukrainian oil company. However, they completely fail to mention that in 2014 he received $3.5 million from the wife of a Russian billionaire or that he is linked to people trafficking for prostitution. Typical of the BBC it’s almost as if they want Biden to win the election. Mind they are not quite as bad as CNN who just completely ignored the report.
I read that a construction worker in Massachusetts has died from eating too much liquorice. It seems he loved it so much he ate a bag and a half a day. The problem is that liquorice contains a lot of glycyrrhizic acid and too much of it affects the electrolytes in the body and in particular the potassium levels and this is what is extremely dangerous. Eating as little as two ounces of liquorice a day for two weeks has been known to cause heart rhythm problems. Unsurprisingly the construction worker died of heart failure.
Tonight silly story is that in Vietnam the police have raided a warehouse and found bags containing 320,000 used condoms. Apparently, they were being washed, reshaped over wooden dildos and repackaged for sale. The woman who owned the warehouse was arrested. She said she was paid 13p a kilo for the used condoms.
Breakfast time with the gang this morning, as the Little Otter and Wilf are back from their short break in Italy, staying at what I hear is a posh holiday hotel on Lake Como. Talking about food I have been reading a Canadian report that says it is better to feed cats only once a day. They tried an experiment where they took a group of “house cats” and fed them once a day in the morning with one big meal for a period. Then they did a load of tests on them. Then they divided the food into four and fed them four times a day for a similar period of time. Once again they did a load of tests (I bet there were a few vets with scratched arms). It seems the tests showed the cats were healthier if fed only once a day. Well, this cat wouldn’t give you a thank you for only one meal a day. Mind I wouldn’t want four meals a day either. Two meals suit me down to the ground especially if they are chicken.
I was in the middle of reading the papers when the news came on the radio that a policeman at the custody centre in Croydon had been shot and killed by a man who had been arrested for the possession of ammunition. The prisoner then shot himself and is critical in hospital. It amazed me that a prisoner could smuggle a gun into a police facility especially as he had been found to have had ammunition on him. It’s early yet so details are sketchy, I suppose the full story will come out in time.
I read that Premier League football clubs are seeking permission to livestream their own football matches while crowds are either banned or strictly limited. Every match in September is being broadcast but the clubs are worried that a return to only having a few broadcast will hit them hard financially. If they could livestream the games to their own fans, maybe limited to season ticket holders and club members they could charge them and make some income. However, at the moment the Premier League holds the broadcasting rights and sells them on behalf of the clubs.
The Limp Dump Autumn Conference starts tomorrow and is being held in a telephone box in Twickenham. Well actually I jest, it is actually on-line, but there are so few MP’s it might as well be. Their new leader, Mr Ed, says he will not be campaigning to rejoin the EU. Perhaps he has learnt his lesson, people rejected EU membership quite decisively at the referendum and at the last two elections, but no he still thinks we were wrong and will be looking for a closer relationship now we have left. The man’s a fool, even Labour has accepted that the people want out.
Goldman Sachs have announced that they are relocating 100 of their employees from London to the European cities of Paris, Frankfurt and Madrid. This might sound a lot of people, but Goldman employ 900 in London so this is clearly nothing like the mass exit of the company predicted by the Remoaners. In fact, it is Goldman being prudent and ensuring that it can maintain its European Banking Licenses. J P Morgan have done something similar moving 200 to Europe, but with them that number is even less significant as they employ 16,000 in the UK!
So Andrew Neil has finally formally split from the BBC and will be joining a new TV News Channel to be called GB News. Neil says that the cancellation of the Andrew Neil Show and Politics Live back in early summer was the final straw for him. The new station has already gained licences from OFCOM and will be carried by Sky, Freeview and Virgin. It intends to broadcast 24 hours a day and Neil will have a daily peak time program. It aims not to have the bias of the BBC and has the financial backing of the Discovery Channel.
Magawa, an African giant pouched rat, has been awarded Gold Medal by the RSPCA for his work in detecting land mines in Cambodia. The seven-year-old rat was trained by a Belgium to sniff out explosives, others are trained to sniff out TB. The rat has discovered some 39 landmines and 26 different unexploded ordinances. I don’t think the rats around here could be trained to do anything like that they all seen too stupid. Mind I don’t think I would like to meet on these rats, this one is 28” long and weighs 1.2 kilos that’s nearly as big as me!
I like Saturdays, no rushing about like on weekdays and Sunday off tomorrow. A leisurely breakfast and a read of the papers before a gentle patrol of the estate.
More is emerging about the attack that killed the policeman in Croydon. The killer was stopped by an officer and a PCSO in the early hours of the morning and found to be in possession of cannabis and ammunition so he was arrested. His hands were handcuffed behind his back and he was transported to the custody centre in a police van. It’s not clear how well the killer was searched but he must have been searched to a degree as they found the drugs and the ammunition. When he got to the custody centre he is reported to have pulled a revolver out of his trousers and shot the custody sergeant. In the ensuing struggle, revolver went off again hitting the killer. I wonder if the PCSO and the officer were women and not allowed to search down the man’s trousers. The killer is said to be of Sri Lankan origin, to have been on a Prevent course and to have been on the Special Branch watch list. I wonder what more is to come out.
The number of positive coronavirus virus tests were up again yesterday but only a tiny bit, and down about 800 today, has the rate of increase slowed? I must say I laughed at the predictions of infectious and deaths my the two mad professors when they produced a graph showing what would happen if the infections and deaths doubled every week. A letter in The Telegraph pointed out that at that rate everyone in the country would have tested positive by just before Christmas and everyone would be dead by February next year.
More news on the coronavirus vaccine front. A second Vaccine has gained a licence to start Phase 3 tests in the UK. Over at AstraZeneca, they have now struck a deal to supply Canada with 20 million doses if their vaccine is approved. This would be enough to give half the population a single dose. AstraZeneca have also come to an agreement with the EU to sell them the vaccine at a discounted $2.97 a dose in exchange for indemnity over any harm the vaccine might cause. I don’t understand why the EU is celebrating getting cheap doses as AstraZeneca have always said the cost was around $3.00 a dose. Have AstraZeneca pulled a swift one on the EU?
The new NHS COVID app seems to have a little problem. If you get a test in a Hospital or a PHE lab you can’t upload the result, whether positive or negative, to the app. For that you need a code and if your test has come from one of those two sources you can only get that code from Track and Trace. However, if your test is processed by one of the privately operated “lighthouse” labs you will get a code with your results. PHE say they are working on a solution.
It looks like someone in the Netherlands has a bit of sense. A report has just told the Government that nuclear power is cheaper than wind and solar. But not only is it cheaper it is more reliable and doesn’t stop when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. There is now a proposal that they should start a program to build 10 nuclear power stations and benefit from building in bulk. If only someone in the UK had that much sense, but our power industry is so fragmented that the multitude of power generator/distributors could never finance such a development. What we need is a central generation company than can buy in bulk and plan ahead like the CEGB used to.
My last story of the week is about the Oxford United football team who had a bit of a panic today. Some used an alcohol spray to disinfect their team bus before it left for their match at Accrington Stanley today. The bus is fitted with a device that detects alcohol and stops the driver starting the bus if it thinks the driver has been drinking. Well, so much of the spray had been used that the device operated. The players and officials had to make a last-minute switch to private cars and only just got there in time.
Right merry readers that’s it for the week. I’m off to my cat basket and looking forward to my day of rest. I’ll chat with you on Monday.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file