It’s Monday again and I was up bright and early, but it was a bit quiet in the flat. I quickly realised that Bozzie was not to be seen and was not bouncing around like the Hefferlump. It seems he is self-isolating in one of the spare bedrooms and his office. His grub is being left on a tray outside his door and then they knock on this door and run because he is out for it like a rocket. I was tempted by his leftovers this morning but then I thought what if he really does have Covid. Us cats can get it don’t you know. It seems he had a meeting on Thursday on with an MP who then felt ill on Friday, felt worse on Saturday, got a test within 2 hours, the result within 18 hours and Bozzie was told on Sunday. Who says that Test and Trace doesn’t work.
Talking of Test and Trace, I hear that two new testing mega labs are to open early next year. We currently have the capacity to test around 550,000 people a day but testing is currently using only around 320,000 of this number. These two new facilities will bring another 650,000 to the daily capacity, taking it to well over a million a day. With a vaccine on the way will we need this capacity, will the new labs be another colossal waste of money like the Nightingale hospitals?
I watched the SpaceX launch carry four more people up to the International Space Station on the TV and quite spectacular it was too. I must say it was nice to see how modern it looked. I guess I’m just used to seeing the inside of spacecraft having banks of switches, levers, gauges and dials. In the video I saw it was all lean lines and colour touch screens with the pilot scrolling through lists, I have not even seen this in the space movies! The four Astronauts, I nearly wrote ‘Spacemen’ but that would have been sexist as one was a woman, looked very smart in their new IVA spacesuits. I know these are only designed to be worn inside a spacecraft as they do not protect against space radiation but the Astronauts must be much happier not to have to ware the massive suits of old.
I have been in the office this afternoon and they had the Parliament Channel on the TV. It was questions to the Northern Irish First Minister. The Big Irish woman was answering, and she was wearing what looked like a leather jacket and had a big clanking chain around her neck. I couldn’t help wondering if she had her crash helmet on the seat at her side and where she had parked her Harley Davidson.
More good news on a Covid vaccine this afternoon. This time it was another American pharmaceutical company, Moderna, announcing preliminary results from their Phase 3 trials. The vaccine is a similar one to the Pfizer one, in that it is based on the same technology, but it has three advantages. The major one is that it does not require storing at -80°C, only -20 that a domestic freezer can manage, in the testing the 12 people who developed severe Covid were all administered the placebo and not a single one who took the vaccine developed the disease severely. But it was rated at 94.5% effective, making it better than the Pfizer vaccine. This is one of the vaccines that the government has not yet agreed on an advance purchase of. However, I hear discussion are in hand.
So Richie Nik-Nak is looking at car road use charging. Well anyone who didn’t see this one coming must be plain daft. The Government currently raises around £40 billion a year from Vehicle Excise Duty, Fuel Duty and Vat on Fuel Duty and when they force everyone into electric vehicles by 2030 this will all be lost and the Government can’t afford to lose such a vast sum. Of course, EV users pay none of these taxes and are laughing at those who do. The Government will not be able to let this situation continue and they will be paying soon.
I told you last week that Croydon Council had effectively gone bankrupt. I have learnt of some of the ways they have been wasting the Council Tax Payers money, which is not unusual for a Labour council. But before I tell you about some of the daft things they have wasted money on I want to debunk their story that is “all because of coronavirus”. Today they owe £3 billion, but last year they owed £1.5 Billion when there was no Covid, so they can hardly blame it on coronavirus. They have been selling off packages of council land for as little as £1, where else in London can you buy land for so low a price? Then they bought a Hotel for £5 million, why does a council need a hotel? In August the Chief Executive left and received a £440,000 severance package. Recently it loaned £500 million for the purchase of a shopping centre, to try to set up a property business and haven’t been receiving any repayments. They have a £67 million hole in their budget and another £47 million overspend is predicted for this year. However, my favourite waste of money is the £10,000 they spent on an “arts festival” where the star act was someone defecating on the stage.
Still no Bozzie, how long has he got to isolate? No one tells me, but then I’m only the Chief Mouser and obviously not that important.
This morning I read that The GKP is a warmonger and he planned to bomb Iranian nuclear reactors, then was talked out of it. A “warmonger” I thought, isn’t he the only President for ages that hasn’t actually started a war? Well, I read into what was written and to me, it looks like more TDS. From what I learnt a number of Hawks came to him suggesting that something had to be done about Iran. He asked like what? And they said teach them a lesson by bombing their nuclear reactors. He then asked for alternatives and didn’t bomb the reactors. Now that doesn’t sound like he ever seriously considered bombing Iran and can hardly be called a Warmonger.
While on the subject of the GKP the more I read about the mess that the Presidential election is the more I wonder how the hell a modern western country can get into such a mess with a vote. I used to think the system in the UK was archaic and we should be a bit more like the US and automate things. I have changed my mind, I would now suggest all we need is photo ID. We don’t have to sort out rotten software, useless voting machines that can be fiddled, bribed officials, banned observers and a multitude of other things. The only other thing is perhaps we should dump those indelible pencils in the voting booths and buy a few little biros like the banks and bookies use.
The NHS has today change the method used for accounting for coronavirus cases. They are now using the address in the patients official NHS record and thousands of cases have been reallocated to a new address. This has made places like Richmond in Yorkshire drop down the tables and Newcastle leap up. Somehow this change has resulted in an overall increase in the number of cases. How could this possibly occur when cases have just been reallocated to a different address. Are they using Dominion software?
Pfizer has announced a pilot coronavirus vaccination program in the Rhode Island, Texas, New Mexico and Tennessee. They want to test how practical it is to ship and store the vaccine (it needs to be kept at -80°C) and to carry out a vaccination program in various sized states with different population densities. It seems a bit odd to me that the vaccine maker is trialling the delivery of the vaccine, in this country they simply wouldn’t be involved. Here in the UK, the NHS handles all that sort of thing and from what Handoncock says they will be ready to deliver vaccinations from the beginning of December no matter which ones are available.
I hear that the animals at London Zoo are missing the visitors according to their keepers. Apparently, the gorillas love to “people watch” and when visitors were allowed in the zoo they just loved interacting with the people outside their enclosure. Now they just hang around waiting for anyone to pass by, run over to the glass separating them and try to interact with them. Just like me and visitors to Downing Street, except there is no glass between us.
Steptoe has today put out a statement “clarifying his position” on the antisemitism row, as his way of trying to wriggle back into the Labour Party. Stoma has said, to get back in he needs to apologise. At first reading, you might take Steptoe’s statement for the demanded apology but on second readings it’s full of weasel word and it is no such thing. The Board of Deputies of British Jews called it “a pathetic non-apology”.
Finally for tonight, I have for your delight the story of the Cambridgeshire policeman who tried to work a fiddle in the Tesco Extra store in Wisbech. He is facing an internal inquiry where he is accused of peeling the price barcode off a 7p banana, sticking it over the barcode on a £9.95 box of 12 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and going through the self-service tills. I always thought the stories of policemen and doughnuts were an American myth.
Good morning folks. It’s Wednesday again and PMQs day. Today is going to be a first, Bozzie is going to do it remotely, which could be fun it the circuits go down or the picture breaks up.
A few bits of interesting news floating about today. After Steptoe was surprisingly reinstated in the Labour Party last night Stoma has decided to not do the same as a member of the parliamentary party. So he is not an official Labour MP and is still sitting as an independent. I fail to see how the Party could re-instate him using the same procedure that the EHRC say was illegal and the Labour Party has committed to replace. I see a court case coming.
The Government announcement this morning, on banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030, was trailed by your cat correspondent weeks ago. One of the problems with this policy was shown earlier this week when the idea of road usage charging was floated. VED, fuel tax and Vat to the amount of £40 Billion stands to be lost. The Government can’t afford to lose this volume of tax take with the introduction of EVs. It’s OK at the moment when there are only 100,000 EVs on British roads. Tax lost by giving them a VED exemption and not taxing their fuel is negligible be when compared to the 32.9 million petrol and diesel cars currently on British roads. Then of course there is the need for infrastructure, in the form of charging stations, grid upgrades and extra generating capacity. I don’t think this has been properly thought through.
I see that a truck driver and a security guard were tied up by robbers when their articulated lorry was hijacked on a slip road off the M1. The lorry was then taken to an industrial estate at Crick where the 48 pallets in the trailer of the lorry were towed off by another tractor unit. This second truck has now been found in Lutterworth where it is believed that the pallets were moved to yet another lorry. What is so special about all this I hear you ask. Well, the 48 crates were full of Apple products with a value of £5 million. Who in their right mind moves a cargo with this high a value with only a driver and a single security guard? If someone offers you a cheap Apple Watch, iPad, iPhone or charger this Christmas be careful.
I remember reading about the row that went on for years that British Airways refused to buy any Airbus products and had an all Boeing fleet. However when they took over British Caledonian Airways they inherited an order for some 10 Airbus A320s which would have cost too much to cancel. In use, the A320 proved to be loved by pilots, aircrew, passengers and most importantly accountants. From being the biggest operator of Boeing 737s in Europe, today BA doesn’t now have a single 737 in their fleet, they have all been pushed out by the A320 family of planes. It just goes to show that money counts.
I am delighted that the character Baby Yoda is back in space where he belongs. He has been taken up to the International Space Station by the latest crew delivered by SpaceX. Astronauts traditionally take a soft toy with them in a capsule when it is launched. The idea is that it indicates just when they have reached zero gravity by floating and being a soft toy no damage will be done by it bumping into anything.
Before heading for my cat basket tonight I can confirm that Wee Krankie really is mad. She has just introduced travel restrictions that ban anyone living in level 3 or level 4 lockdown areas from travelling out of their local council area. But under the same regulations, they are allowed legally to take a flight. Perhaps she would like to explain how? I suggest that one answer is that it would be legal to use a helicopter from your garden and land in your local supermarket, I wonder how many people would be able to do that.
The weather is a little strange today, yesterday it was beautiful in the sun and I had a lovely doze on the window sill. This morning it’s much colder and raining. Tomorrow the weather forecaster tells me it’s going to be warmer again. I wish I knew what was going on. It’s been a busy week this week. Some days I have a problem filling my diary and have to search hard to fill it, but not so far this week, not today.
I wish I could understand the Labour Party. Is Steptoe banned or isn’t he? First, he is banned by the party then he isn’t. But he still has the whip removed so he can’t be a Labour MP. I hear that Momentum are not happy and are talking about going to court. Then I hear that Steptoe is consulting lawyers. The Jewish Labour Party has weighed in. I’m not sure which side they are on, pro or anti-Steptoe as there seems to be two organisations with similar names but opposite stances. Maybe I’ll find out one day.
Not to be left out AstraZeneca have leaked news about its vaccine, apparently it’s very effective in the over sixty fives. When I looked for the source of this good news I couldn’t find one. Then I read that the various companies are having problems getting together enough of the data needed to prove the effectiveness of their vaccines. Why? Well, it seems that not enough people on the trials are catching coronavirus to verify the effectiveness of the data. What kind of craziness is this. If a vaccine stopped 100% of people getting the virus would it fail on the basis that not enough people caught the virus? This is just silly.
So Bozzie wants to spend lots more money on defence and proposes it should have an extra £4 billion pounds a year, the biggest boost for 19 years. Among other things, we are to get a new RAF space command and there are plans to launch British satellites using British rockets from Scottishland by 2022. When will we ever learn? That will only give Wee Krankie something else to crow about as being done by the wonderful Scots (of course using English money). Mind another question is as a launch in 2022 is only 2 or less years away do we have a British rocket in preparation? I know we can make the satellites, as we already do, but what about our own rockets?
Boeing are to be allowed to fly the 737 MAX again. The American FAA has lifted their grounding order, but it is not as simple as that. The FAA says that before they can actually fly airlines have to install a number of software and hardware improvements. The pilots will also have to undergo additional training on simulators before being allowed to take the planes up. Boeing have been continuing production all this time and have loads of planes parked up that they have to rework and sort out the problems before delivery to the purchasing airline. Airlines that had already taken delivery before the grounding will be expecting Boeing to pay to get the planes back in the air and sort out the pilot training. This is still going to cost Boeing loads of money and I still haven’t heard if the British and European authorities are going to follow the FAA and allow them to fly.
I had to chuckle when I read that one of the EU Free Trade Agreement team has tested positive for coronavirus and the negotiations have been suspended. Just when the two chief negotiators were predicting a breakthrough it all breaks down. I wonder if this is a fix by the EU just when they realised they were going to have to concede ground.
I see that first of the “new” trains for the national rail line on the Isle of Wight arrived by lorry on a ferry today. The new trains are made from remanufactured District Line tube trains and will replace the current Island Line trains which are also old tube trains that were built in 1939. The line is going to be shut for 3 months over the winter to prepare it for the “new” trains. The track is in a terrible state and much of it needs rebuilding. What is it with old tube trains and the Isle of Wight?
Finally for tonight, I hear that a couple have been arrested in East Anglia for doing a runner from a posh restaurant. The so-called ‘dine and dash’ couple are being investigated for around 10 other cases. They don’t pick on the corner cafe though, it’s high-class dining all the way for them. Skipping out on a bill of around £200 seems to be the norm.
So it’s sunny this morning but cold. Now I hear it’s going to rain later. I blame it on global warming (or whatever it’s called today). Did you see Bozzie making the parliamentary statement from his office yesterday? He was looking pretty fit, more so than at the same stage the first time he was isolating. Either he wasn’t near enough to catch it this time or he still has antibodies floating around his system.
Bozzie is backing Pretty Petal in the bullying row, has said that he doesn’t think she broke the Ministerial Code and will not be asking her to resign. From what I see here the Civil Serpents just don’t like taking orders they don’t agree with and try to wriggle out of doing what the have been told to do. I can’t blame Pretty if she has shouted at people who repeatedly were not doing as they are told. This is not bullying, it is insubordination by the Civil Serpents
While on the subject of the uselessness of Civil Serpents I heard another story today confirming it. The National Audit Office has put out a report that basically says they have been too lazy to look for ways to save money on HS2. The NAO says that an expected £5 billion worth of saving never happen because the Civil Serpent didn’t bother to develop the actions necessary to make the suggested saving. The same report also criticised the Civil Serpents handling of several other huge projects including the aircraft carriers and Crossrail. Well, it’s only taxpayers money, what do the Civil Serpents care.
Rudy Giuliani got himself into a bit of a mess yesterday at a press conference. When I saw him on the TV I thought he was wearing an earpiece with a wire running down from his ear. But then he wiped the line away with his handkerchief. It seems the room was very warm and he was swearing profusely. The sweat caused his hair dye to run down his face and hence the lines. I hope Rudy invests in a better hair dye before the next press conference, either that or don’t be so vain, wash the dye out and admit you are going grey.
I understand there is a bit of a split in the EU over their next budget. The 27 need to get a new one approved for when the current one ends at the end of this year. A new budget has been proposed, but it has been vetoed by Poland and Hungary. They have refused to back down upsetting most of the others who are talking about passing the budget using qualified majority voting, however this would be against the current rules and Slovenia is now supporting Poland and Hungary against using QMV. The alternative would be for the 25 in agreement to go it alone effectively throwing Poland and Hungary out of the EU. This could be getting interesting.
Today’s Covid numbers from the ONS are encouraging. Their estimate of infection rates are down from 50,000 a day on the previous week’s report to 40,000 in this week’s report and they say the R rate has dropped a little to between 1 and 1.1 . They say that case numbers in Wales and Northern Ireland are falling while in England and Scotland they have levelled off. I had to chuckle when I heard that one of the big failures of Track and Trace is that they are only contacting low numbers or contacts. Then I read that Track and Trace had been ringing up and insisting on talking to every possible contact via separate phone calls. So if a family with 5 children gets ill Track and Trace will make 7 separate phone calls insisting in speak to the 7 people no matter what their age. No wonder a lot of calls never get through, does a mum really want them talking to her 3-year-old?
A tale from the south coast to finish up with. If you happen to go to the Rampion Wind Farm Visitor Centre (don’t we all) they are running a competition to name the first wind turbine that was completed ages ago. They say that they will favour something “creative”. The turbine is currently called RA01 but you can suggest any name you like. But I have to give you a warning, the names “Spinny McSpinFace”, “Turbine McTurbineFace” and “Windy Miller” have already been used.
Morning all, I have just seen the massive breakfast that was being delivered to Bozzie. If can shovel that much down I don’t think there can be much wrong with him. When he did have COVID-19 he was in hospital by now, today he will be giving a virtual speech to the Scottishland Tory Party, all 20 of them! Then he is also taking part in the virtual G20 in Saudi Arabia this weekend. My theory is that he is just hiding in his office trying to get some peace and quiet away from Wilf and Dilyn.
So Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank have moved into Ginge and Winge’s official residence, Frogmore Cottage. The story leaking out of LA is that G&W offered them the “cottage” when they heard that Eugenie was pregnant and they knew the “Cottage” was fully equipped for a baby. Well we all know it isn’t really a cottage, it’s actually 5 x 2 storey cottages knocked into a single 4 bedroom and a nursery family home that cost £2.4 million of taxpayers money to renovate. Sounds to me like someone was in need of some good publicity.
Another windfall looks to be coming AstraZeneca’s way. The Government is to buy 1,000,000 doses of it 2nd COVID-19 treatment it succeeds in its Phase 3 trials. This is an antibody treatment and is designed for people who for some reason can’t take a vaccination. AstraZeneca are currently recruiting 5,000 volunteers. The treatment can be used like a vaccine to prevent infection and can also be used to help infected people recover. AstraZeneca say that the Antibodies can remain active in the body for more than a year. That’s better than a vaccination.
Today I hear that Crossrail (or the Elizabeth Line) has been to the Department of Transport once again with the begging bowl. This time they want an immediate £80 million or they say work will stop. Crossrail is a Transport for London project and is like everything TfL touches, a money pit. TfL only last month got agreement on an extra £1.2 billion to save them from going bust and fund them well into next year. Sad Dick the incompetent Labour London Mayor is the boss of TfL, need I say more.
Another day another trade deal. This time Bozzie had a video call with Canada’s Trudeau this morning were they agreed to “rollover” the current EU / Canada trade deal so that the UK and Canada can continue trading on the current terms from the 1st January. This is, I understand, only an interim position as both sides want to expand the agreement to include things not currently covered in the EU agreement like financial services. Full talks are expected next year.
I understand that during the current lockdown you can’t get your hair cut and a shampoo but your dog can. The Government has recently confirmed that dog groomers are classified as essential workers allowing them to keep their parlours open just as long as they are Covid compliant. More madness.
Now for my last story of the week, I need to warn you that Amazon has been receiving a string of complaints from people who have ordered the new PlayStation PS5 online and they appear to have been stolen in transit. The tale is the same each time, Amazon makes the delivery but on closer inspection, the box has been open in transit, the £450 PS5 has gone missing and the weight has been made up with something cheaper. People have received bags of raw rice, a George Foreman Grill and Felix Cat Food pouches. An MTV journalist even videoed herself unboxing her delivery so she could put it on YouTube. She got a hair drier. Amazon says they are investigating. But I want to know who would be daft enough to complain about getting delicious Felix?
Night night all, I’m off to my basket. See you Monday.
© WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file