Good Morning everyone, my usual weather report is that is dull and grey in London this morning, but not too cold. I took a quick trip out before breakfast and it was a bit damp underfoot. Bozzie had the radio on over breakfast and was just getting up to go to his office to do some work when Keir Stoma came on to answer questions on LBC. He promptly sat down and had another cup of coffee and told the Little Otter he expected a good laugh.
It was a pity that coronavirus put such a lot of restrictions on Remembrance Sunday services, particularly the annual wreath laying at the Cenotaph. Bozzie had his best suit on and had even brushed his hair. The Little Otter told him it was a good job it was a windless day. Even if it was a cut back ceremony, I watched it on TV, and thought it was very dignified and “British”. The only fly in the ointment was Ginge and Whinge who had to have their own “Private Ceremony” in a British War Grave Commission cemetery in California. I wouldn’t have minded if it had been “private”, but they invited the media along to take photos of them wandering among the immaculate lines of white-painted gravestones. My congratulations go to the War Graves Commission for their wonderfully maintained and documented cemeteries all over the world.
Over the weekend we have been bombarded with messages from the MSM about how wonderful Sleepy Joe is and how awful the GKP is. Last night it got a bit silly Sleepy Joe was being bigged up for having two German Shepherd dogs, one of which is a rescue dog. At the same time, the GKP was getting implied criticism for not having any pets. What a load of rubbish, not having a pet is no reason not to vote for someone. If he had wanted the pet lovers vote perhaps he could have done out and purchased a first cat and a first, but that might have upset the parrot owners, the rabbit owners, the horse owners, the snake owners and every other type of pet owner. Perhaps he should have opened a zoo.
Wales came out of its national coronavirus lockdown this morning only to see them replaced by a set of slightly less stringent national rules. The Welsh people can still not visit England, Scottishland or Northern Ireland and they can’t go on holiday overseas. They can however meet in groups of up to four families in a pub, provided the different groups must social distance. It’s bad enough keeping the kids from one family to socially distance from other kids in a pub, I wonder if Ducks and Drakeford would like to try it with kids from four families where they are all friends or relatives.
Well, this lunchtime comes a bit of what is probably good news on a coronavirus vaccine. The American company Pfizer announced that their vaccine is showing in their words “excellent results” in its phase three testing and according to them is over 90% successful in protecting against the virus. The UK has contracted to purchase some 40 million doses of this vaccine 2 doses of which are needed for each person, so we would have enough for 20 million people. Pfizer say that later this month they should be in position to apply for a special license and if granted could have 50 million doses available before the end of 2020. 10 million of those doses would come to the UK this year, enough for 5 million people. I hear that the first people to be vaccinated would be the older people in care homes and care home workers followed by the over 80s, health care and social care workers. As doses arrived next year the groups to be vaccinated would then be the over 75s and over, then the 70s and over, the 65s and over and so on. As there are over 3.6 million over 80s and 1.4 million NHS workers in the UK that’s all this year’s doses used up. One other thing to be noted is that this particular vaccine has to be stored at minus 80°C which would mean considerable infrastructure investment.
I hear that discussions are already underway to decide on the number and location of sites for mass Covid-19 vaccination; will they be co-located with testing sites? It seems that once again it’s going to fall to a massive effort from the military to work this out. They will be used to plan and build these sites, provide the logistics to move and store the vaccine and probably to even administer the vaccine. I hope they also get the chance to get early vaccination.
The sales of the 5 cruise ship fleet of CMV being sold off by the liquidator were announced today. Individually sealed tenders were submitted for the ships and all were sold. Three of the newer, younger ships have gone to cruise lines, two to the same company and the remaining two have gone to be broken up. All of the ships fetched well below their book value, which reflects the state of the cruise industry under coronavirus.
I heard at the weekend that Vladimir Putrid is not a well man and may have to resign sooner rather than later. The word is that he has mild Parkinson’s disease and has started to have difficulties holding small items such as pens. He has also been noticed with an uncontrollable twitch in a leg. At the moment he is pushing legislation through to make ex-presidents a senator for life. The aim of this law would be to protect him from prosecution once he left office as Senators are exempted from prosecution, so there is no possibility of him quitting before this law is passed. Another problem is that he needs to decide on who he is going to anoint as his successor.
Bozzie did a presser this evening. It was planned before the Pfizer announcement so it was supposed to be all about testing but it was quickly amended to include the vaccine news. Subsequently, it was a bit more hopeful than many of the recent pressers. They tried to play down the enthusiasm that the MSM has been expressing today, but admitted that this vaccine could eventually be the beginning of the end as it worked in a similar manner to most other vaccines being developed. On testing, Bozzie said that he intended to expand testing by sending out hundreds of thousands of Lateral Flow tests to the likes of care homes and universities.
Before I start on today’s stories may I relate a little personal tale from last night. I was delighted to find that on top of my usual bowl of Felix was some real chicken and some tasty chicken skin left over from Bozzie’s Sunday roast dinner. I really enjoyed my evening meal and went to my basket a very happy Larry the Chief Mouser and Comfy Chair Tester.
The Department for Transport is to split the bill authorising the 2B stage of HS2 into two parts. The original bill 2B bill covered the extension of HS2 as two legs, a Western leg from Manchester to Crewe and an Eastern leg from the West Midlands to Leeds. The idea is that each leg would have its own bill. The arguments are that two smaller bills are easier to steer through Parliament than one composite bill and that a separate Eastern Bill would make integration with the Northern Powerhouse railway easier. Of course, it has also been pointed out that it would make it easier to cancel one of the two legs while retaining the other.
I understand that Handoncock is to give doctors surgeries some £150 million to prepare for coronavirus vaccinations. The money is to allow for local “Vaccination Centres” to be set up and equipped. I wonder how much of this will be spent on the required freezer to store the vaccine at -80°C. These centres could be in surgeries, if there is space, local halls, leisure centres or similar. But not every surgery will be a centre. Each centre is expected to handle 975 vaccinations a week, be open from 8am until 8pm and on bank holidays. The current idea is a central national register should call each group of people to tell them to register and the person may register an appointment at the nearest centre, or any other centre. Interesting little snippets I have picked up are that you will need two doses two weeks apart, you must not have a flu vaccination one week before or after a coronavirus vaccination and that once vaccinated you must be “observed” for twenty minutes before going home. No wonder the army is going to be called in to handle the logistics!
Of course, before the presidential election, the GKP was mocked by the Democrats for having the gall to suggest that a coronavirus vaccine was very close and doses could even be available in limited numbers before Christmas. Now with the Pfizer announcement, this looks to be quite possible. But what of the AstraZeneca vaccine, well I hear that it too is nearing the end of its Phase 3 test and will be applying for a license very soon. However, they have been following the normal criteria of not releasing Phase 3 data before the licensing authorities have finished the review. AstraZeneca have not found the need to make announcements for political reasons. These are the only two vaccines likely to be available soon, I understand that the next one is on track for August next year.
Four years ago the proposed extension of the northern end of the Metropolitan tube line to Watford Junction was dumped because there was no money available to pay for it. The local council covering the extension, Three Rivers, would like it to be built and has asked Transport for London for the necessary £360 million it is costed at. The difference this time is that the Government made £900 million available for “shovel ready” projects back in June and as this project was designed four years ago it falls in that category.
I hear that Keir Stoma is currently doing all he can to prevent a split in the Labour Party. The left-wing is very upset over Stoma’s treatment of Steptoe and what they consider is a shift away from Socialism. The likes of Old Mcdonall, The Abbotpotamus, Rebecca Wrong-Daily and the Momentum mob are not at all happy and are considering a new part based around Steptoe and supported by union money.
Sleepy Joe has invented a new job for himself today. He appeared in front of a huge sign reading “Office of the President Elect”. He is not the president-elect, that position only official exists once someone the EC has voted so there is no such thing as the Office of the President-Elect. The more he tries to push it the harder the fall. Oh and I see that the Secretaries of States for ten states have added their names to the huge actions the Republicans are taking in Michigan. You know, the case with “no evidence”.
We all know that Sad Dick’s London is very short of money, he has had to get the begging bowl out to central Government to save Transport for London. But I hear his Deputy Mayor for Transport (why do socialist have to give themselves fancy names) Heidi Alexander has hinted at imposing Road Tolls to pay the £141million needed to repair Hammersmith Bridge. All I can say is Sad Dick must be getting desperate.
If you like biscuits I hear there is a job for you in Scottishland. The Lanarkshire firm of Border Biscuits is looking to recruit a Master Biscuiteer to head up their tasting team. Competition for the £40,000 per annum job is expected to be fierce as they have been getting enquires about the Job from all over the world. I wonder how much tea is required for biscuit dunking?
It’s another grey day in Whitehall, but not cold. Bozzie has got a good suit on so it must be PMQs day. By such little thing are weeks measured!
I heard the phone in Bozzie’s office ringing yesterday evening and it turns out that it was Sleepy Joe phoning him. They had a longish chat but I couldn’t hear what was said, but I wish I had heard what he called him. I would have called him “Mr Vice President” as that is his real title and as things are developing in the States that’s exactly where he could be staying. The MSM don’t seem to want to discuss what is happening in those states where the count is being questioned. First, they said there was no evidence, now that the evidence is pouring in they choose to ignore it. When the lovely Kayleigh McEnany waved over 230 pages of affidavits from witnesses of voting sharp practices it was totally ignored on the TV news programs.
Rolls-Royce has announced plans to build 16 mini nuclear reactors on the sites of existing nuclear power stations. These new mini stations would be most factory pre-built in Britain creating 6,000 British jobs by 2025 and another 34,000 jobs by 2035 when lots of people would be needed for the site civil works, the assembly of non-nuclear parts on-site and their high-quality manufacturing. We all know that relying on “Green” power for future electricity supply of the UK is ludicrous and that we will need power from other sources, be it gas, nuclear, biomass or good old coal as we have fallen back on in recent weeks. A good story for Britain and British industry if it proceeds.
Now here’s an interesting little nugget of news for you to make what you wish of, I will report on it without my usual pithy comment. On Sunday Pfizer rushed out the information that their Vaccine had proved to be 90% effective with little or no side effects and that it could be ready for use late this year. This in itself was unusual, as I told you before, it that the convention is not to release phase 3 trials data before regulatory approval. On Monday the price of Pfizer shares leapt by 15%. That same day Pfizer CEO, Albert Bourla, sold some 132,508 Pfizer shares for $5.6 million. But he wasn’t the only one. Pfizer Vice President Sally Susman sold 43,662 shares for $1.8 million.
You might remember that I told you some time ago about Claudia Webb the MP for Leicester East, who was accused of a single charge of harassment, the charge includes making threats “on at least two occasions”. She appeared in Westminster Magistrates Court this morning, pleaded not guilty, and was granted unconstitutional bail to appear in the same court for trial on 16th March 2021. She remains suspended from the Labour Party and is currently sitting as an Independent MP. What is it about MP’s for Leicester East? Her predecessor in this position was Keith Vaz the well know washing machine salesman.
Are we at last to see a more sensibly priced popularly price smallish electric car? The replacement of the current Citroen C3, due in 2023 is expected to offer an electric model. The C3 competes in the same size bracket as the Vauxhall Corsa and the Peugeot 208, both of whom have electric versions, but both are much more expensive than their petrol equivalents. The C3 and the 208 are both from the same PSA parent company but the 208 has been moved on to what is known as the Common Modular Platform (CMP) which has been designed to take an electric drive. The 2023 version of the C3 is expected to also be based on CMP making at cheaper to develop but to have additional cost savings over the 208 so that it is not a competitor. The other savings are expected to include less powerful motors and batteries from the Chinese manufacturing company SVOLT who are expected to announce the location of a new European factory next week and already have received a large order from PSA for an unnamed “future project”.
So Georgia is to carry out a “hand” recount of the votes cast in the presidential election. Considering how long it has taken to count the vote up to now, I wonder just how long a full hand count is going to take. But will they allow the Republicans to observe the count and object to iffy ballot papers, will the count have a cut off for postal votes and how do we know that all the votes being counted are viable votes and don’t include postal votes that were not checked as legal in the first place.
I really can’t believe that Sleepy Joe is considering giving Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and ex-Google boss Eric Schmidt posts in any new administration. After what the big American social media platforms and Google did to the opponents of Joe Biden it looks like a reward for helping him in the election campaign. If this were to come about would we ever be able to believe anything we ever read or saw on the internet?
Wow, a sunny morning and it’s mild. XR are really getting it in the media this morning. Even the papers that are normally very supportive of climate change are upset over XR’s action at the Cenotaph yesterday. They all question how XR could possibly make a political point on such a day, at such a revered place. Further, the actions of the Police are questioned. How could they justify standing around doing nothing when XR turned up with their banner and fake wreath. Why didn’t the police stop them immediately? Where the hanging around waiting for permission from there political masters before acting? It seems to me that the police are only too happy to turn a blind eye to certain events while coming down hard on others. Does there seem to be a connection between all those things they tolerate and those they don’t?
So I see we are officially out of recession. That didn’t last long did it? Well, we all know that it was all rubbish really and was just an effect of shutting down the economy “because of Covid”. As the definition of recession is two continuous months of negative growth I don’t think lockdown 2 will tip us back into recession unless the lockdown is extended.
The London Borough of Croydon has declared what is effectively a council version of bankruptcy. The council’s Director of Finance, Lisa Taylor, has issued a Section 114 certificate. Basically, the Labour council has run out of money and will now only have to run those services that they are legally obligated to provide which includes things like education, waste collection, social services or wages. But they will not be able to hire new staff or pay expenses or overtime. The council has been trying to blame Covid but, in truth, they have been in trouble for years. If the council can not balance the books in 21 days. The Government can send in administrators.
After decades of discussions and arguments the Government this morning announced that the go-ahead for putting the A303 into a two-mile tunnel where it passes Stonehenge. The road currently passes through local villages where it causes lots of air and noise pollution. Preparatory work starts early next for around 18 months before construction starts and is expected to last around 5 years. Local residents are excited at the prospect of finally getting back to traffic-free villages while campaigners are promising to take the decision to court costs more money and more delays.
I have been reading about a British Airways steward who has been in court after being caught filming a man in a toilet cubicle on his mobile phone. The steward, Andrea Cesqui, who worked on VIP reception at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, was caught hold his camera over the cubicle partition when the man was urinating. He was arrested for voyeurism and when his phone was searched numerous pictures of men’s genitals were found on it. He pleaded guilty when he appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates Court, was fined £800 and ordered to sign the sex register for 5 years. He was also sacked by BA.
You probably remember me writing about Berlin’s new airport some weeks ago. Well, it is finally up and running and on Sunday the very last flight out of Berlin Tegal operated. Tegal airport was actually in the city of Berlin making it very convenient, but the new airport is outside the city. The last flight was operated by Air France who was the airline who operated the airports first flight 60 years ago. Who says the Germans can’t be sentimental!
It’s Thursday and the normal changes to the Covid-19 travel list have been published. From Saturday morning you will no longer have to quarantine if you are arriving from, Bahrain, Chile, Iceland, Cambodia, Laos, UAE, Qatar and the Turks and Caicos Islands. However going on the banned list is Greece – apart from the islands of Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos and Kos.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov the President of Turkmenistan has had a huge statue erected in the countries capital city. The statue is of his favourite dog and has been gilded. The statue is one of the busiest roundabouts in the city and is of an Alabai a breed not common in the west, but well known in the East for its prowess in protecting sheep and goats from wolves. That may be a good reason we don’t have a lot of them in the UK.
The overnight news is the BBC says Dom is leaving once Brexit is done, joining the other bloke, whose name I never knew, but just resigned. Well, I for one will miss Dom. He was always kind to me, every time he saw me he would stop for a word, stroke me and tickle me under the chin. He always spoke to me gently. The only time he ignored me was when he ran out of No 10, having learnt that his wife had coronavirus. I can forgive him for that. But I can exclusively reveal that I will not be leaving in the coming shakeup. Bozzie had a chat last night and while stroking me he said I was one of the only people in No 10 who was faithful to him. Well, little does he know I am faithful to whoever feeds me Felix Chicken in gravy.
So the Yorkshire Ripper has died. I have only ever read about what he did, it was all happened long before I was born. There was a discussion on the radio about was he bad or was he mad. From what I have read and heard I think he was both. No normal person could kill all those women many with a ball pane hammer. I know he was found guilty of killing 13 people and attempting to kill 7 others before being given a whole life sentence. There has always been speculation that he actually killed a lot more than that but it was never possible to prove them. Sutcliffe was not a well man, he was a diabetic and had heart problems but he was in hospital with Covid-19 and I bet that goes on his death certificate. I hear that in recent years he had become a Jehovah’s Witness and refused any medical treatment for anything. I think his death certificate should say is “Suicide”.
Good news for BAe and Rolls-Royce this morning. The German airforce has placed an order for an additional 38 Typhoons to replace the oldest examples of the 141 they currently operate. Both the British companies are major partners in the manufacture of the Typhoon BAe supply around half of the plane and Rolls-Royce manufacture and assemble most of the jet engines. The order is expected to bring a boost of around £1.3 billion to the British economy and support around 15,000 jobs on the airframe alone.
A huge free trade deal is about to be signed in Asia. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) includes the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. It will cover 29% of world trade without the need of a “political union”, a common currency, level playing fields, giving up fishing rights or the ECJ.
The R number is coming down, it is now said to be between 1 and 1.2 and the curve showing the number of new infections is nearly flat. The theory is that loads of people went out for one last fling on the few days before Lockdown 2 kick in and that is what gave the big bump in numbers in the last couple of days. It is now working through the system and numbers are expected to fall back as the two weeks ago infections fall out of the system. Where my friend WorthingGooner lives the numbers have been falling for 3 weeks now.
I read that Nigel Garage’s relaunched Party (I must remember to call it Reform and not Brexit) has got off to a flying restart. He has been looking for people to stand for his party in the May local, regional and mayoral elections. The new party is anti-lockdown, low tax, pro-growth movement. They have had over 3,000 applications to stand as candidates in the 11 days since launch. They are still looking for more applications as there are over 5,000 seats being contested in May.
We are to get an extra bank holiday in 2022 to celebrate the Queens being on the throne for 70 years. I know businesses need a lot of advance warning of this sort of thing but I do hope that we are not a bit premature. The Queen is over 90 and although I don’t want to temp fate she is an old lady. We would look a bit silly having to cancel the bank holiday if she was no longer with us.
So Dom has gone early. I heard raised voices, but I don’t know who it was as I was in the garden and it was all over by the time I got indoors to find out. Dom was nice, he even stopped on his way out of No 10 to say goodbye to me. He said he would see me again and stroked me. I will miss him.
Morning everyone, I nearly overslept this morning. When I woke up, I had popped out to the garden and when I got back Bozzie had nearly finished his breakfast and the Mutt was sniffing round mine. Bozzie asked me where I had been and got the away from my bowl by giving him a bit of his bacon.
A few odd stories in the news this morning which I wouldn’t mind betting were planted. Some of the papers think that the Saj could move into Dom’s old job. I don’t think this will happen, it’s only because he and the Little Otter get on. But I don’t think after walking away for Government Bozzie will have him back.
I hear that the Government is to confirm that they want to bring forward the banning of sales of petrol and diesel-engined cars from 2040 to 2030, although hybrids are to continue to 2035. I think when this is announced there will be a tremendous row, not just from car buyers but from manufacturers. I doubt there is a single motor manufacturer in the world whose entire range will be ready by 2030, it’s only 9 years away. Basically, it means that any new car coming out from now will have to make it electric as car life cycles are more than 9 years.
A few weeks ago it was AstraZeneca I was reporting on signing a deal with countries to supply millions of doses of its vaccine. Now it Pfizer. Earlier this week the EU signed up for 300 million doses, that’s enough to vaccinate 150 million people about 1/3 rd of its population. I wonder who will select those to be vaccinated and those who will not. Now I read that Israel has signed up for 8 million doses, at least that is enough to vaccinate the whole 4 million population with the recommended 2 shots. I hear the cost of a dose of the Pfizer vaccine is around $37 a person as opposed to around $3 a person for the Astrazeneca vaccine.
I read a newspaper article today that said the police had launched a search for “adorable Larry the Cat, global star and the nation’s favourite moggy” who has had not been seen since Dom left Downing Street caring a cat-sized box. It further suggested that it was rumoured that Dom was holding me for ransom on a farm in County Durham. Well, I can assure you that this is “Fake News”. I have not run away with that nice Mr Dom. I have not been catnapped, but I might have had one or two. I am still here, on the estate, performing my official duties of chief mouser and comfy chair tester. I have not been out the front door today because the weather has been wet and windy and you all know how I just hate getting my fur wet and blown the wrong way. I have popped into the back garden a few times, of course, as nature demanded. Just because the useless Journalists at the front door have not seen me, it does not mean I am not here. With the weather forecast the same for Sunday they probably won’t see me then either! Also, it is a bit of an exaggeration to call me a global star, famous yes, I would accept that and “moggy” is just insulting. I am a brown and white tabby cat. The only true thing about that fake news story is that I really am “adorable”. Oh, I can exclusively reveal that Dom’s “cat-sized box” contained, a picture of his family from off his desk, two packets of fig rolls (one already opened), his spare glasses, his slightly chipped Going Postal tea mug and his collections of Phil Collins and Black Sabbath CDs.
Now that I have put that silly story to bed, that’s just where I heading. Night Night everyone, chat with you all again on Monday after my day of rest.
© WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file