Good Morning everyone, another week and I could hear it raining when I woke up. Yesterday was awful, every time the grass got dry enough for me to walk on it poured down again. Well, I understand it’s going to get better here in London today and the sun could even come out for a bit. It’s definitely better than in the north of the United States where I hear it has been snowing. I hate snow so much that if the GKP offered me the job of Chief Mouser to the Government of the United States I would have to turn it down. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to reside in that big White House and I understand they have plenty of antique chairs to try out, it’s just the cold weather would make me turn it down.
Now some serious business. Someone is posting on that Twatter thingy pretending to be me. I wouldn’t mind if they were any good but they don’t bring you all the inside news like I do. I hope I am not going to have to resort to the lawyers I share with Lord Gnome’s organ, Private Eye, Sue, Grabbit and Runne. I think it must be someone in the press pack. It could be that BBC woman with the lopsided mouth, I don’t think it’s that Robert Peston bloke from ITV he doesn’t appear to have the brains. Whoever you are I will find out then I shall make your every visit to Downing Street one to remember.
There was a bit of fun in the channel off the Isle of Wight yesterday. An oil tanker from Nigeria on its way to the Fawley Refinery was taken over by what was described as seven stowaways. The Captain and crew locked themselves in a “safe space” and radioed for help. Hampshire Constabulary obviously didn’t consider themselves capable of restoring law and order to they called in the military. The fuzz are ok when turning out in huge numbers to chase unarmed anti-mask protesters, but seven Nigerian stowaways are too much for them. Anyway, 16 men from the Special Boat Service assailed down from two Wildcat helicopters and it was all over in a few minutes. I like that name “Wildcat”, perhaps I should change my name to Larry the Wildcat.
This morning AstraZenica, announced that the coronavirus vaccine that it is testing produces a strong immune response in all age groups. There had been worries that it might not have worked so well in older people. Over the weekend there was a lot of stories in the MSM that some groups of people could be vaccinated before Christmas. I did hear that we are going to change the law in the UK to make it possible. At the moment we would have to rely on EU approval, until 1st January, then could issue our own approval. Some NHS trusts say they have been told to prepare to start giving their staff vaccinations in late November and a second booster dose a month later.
I hear that the Navy is considering what to do when the RFA Argus goes out of service in 2024. At present Argus is a dual-purpose vessel serving both in peacetime, as an aviation training ship and a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship in time of conflict. A PCRS is considered a warship and as such would be a legitimate target but could return treated servicemen straight into battle. The question is should we replace her with something similar, Argus was converted from a container ship. Or should we have a dedicated hospital ship and a separate aviation training ship? A hospital ship, painted white with big red crosses on it, is neutral and in time of war would treat all casualties but can’t put them straight back into the fighting. However, the advantage is that it could be purchased out of the aid budget as in peacetime it could be used to visit poor countries doing operations on the needy or helping in disaster relief. With the number of cruise ships currently being retired this could be a cheap option and give work to a UK yard like Harland and Wolff. A small cheap aviation ship could then be bought by the Navy as the Australians have just done. At the moment I hear that a dedicated hospital ship is favoured in political circles as it could bring the UK kudos turning up to help at a remote disaster.
British Airways has had a parting of the ways with Marks and Spencer who have been supplying it with the salads and sandwiches that it sells to economy class short-haul passengers. No more will you be able to buy that M&S prawn sarnie that is so liked. I hear that Waitrose and Greggs are battling it out to take over. I can understand Waitrose they have a good reputation for food, but Greggs? Either BA are trying to go down market and rival EasyJet and RyanAir or Greggs is making a major effort to move upmarket. I can just see the early morning flight from Heathrow to Glasgow with all those besuited businessmen scoffing Greggs sausage rolls.
Oh, not more rain. The only advantage is that the rain fills up the birdbath in the garden and I prefer to drink the water in it to the chemical tasting stuff the Little Otter puts in my bowl.
After breakfast, I had my normal read of the morning papers. The first thing I saw was after I retired to my cat basket last night ACB was cleared by the senate to become a Supreme Court judge and was sworn in shortly after. The GKP sure doesn’t waste any time hanging around. I understand that there has been lots of wingeing by Democrat supporters. One of the complaints I heard was that as ACB was “only” 48 she could be on the bench for nearly 50 more years. One of the last Democrats nominees, Stephen Breyer is 82, when Ruth Ginsburg died at 87 she had been on the Supreme Court Bench for 27 years. If you nominate older people for these lifetime positions that is what you get.
I have been reading that a 22 year-old woman has been fined £6,600 for breaching Jersey’s coronavirus regulations. Woman flew from Manchester to Jersey to visit family and under the local regulations at the time had to take a test and isolate for 5 days before taking a second test. If both tests were negative she was then free to come out of isolation. Unfortunately for her, someone she sat near on the flight tested positive and the tester tried in vain to contact her at the address she had given. When they did catch up with her it came out that she had been out eating at a restaurant. Her social media was then checked and it revealed that the day before she had posted from a local beauty spot. She got two fines. She has learnt that if you want to break the law don’t boast about it on Facebook.
Kier Stoma is to be subject to a police investigation following a car accident on Sunday. He was in collision with a Deliveroo cyclist who came off worse. I hear 3 police cars and an ambulance turned up. The cyclist was subsequently treated in hospital and Stoma was advised to formally report the accident, which he did at the local police station on Sunday afternoon. Will Stoma be charged with a driving offence? We can only wait and see but my bet is the cyclist will be blamed.
Winter draws on, the weather gets worse and the dingy people are still trying to cross the channel. Perhaps the accident off of Dunkirk today will slow them down a bit. A boat loaded with illegal immigrants sank off the port today and two adults and two children drowned. 15 other occupants were taken to hospital in France. There had been a gale warning overnight and the sea was rough but the boat still attempted the crossing. Over 7400 illegals have crossed the channel already this year compared to 1825 in the whole of last year.
For years Experian has been collecting financial data about you and selling it to organisations. Today they were told by the Information Commissioners Office that they must stop doing so without people’s consent. They were told to change the way they work within nine months or face a fine of 4% of their turnover, roughly £20 million. The two other big credit checking agencies, Equifax and TransUnion, have already done as the ICO wants, made changes and stopped selling certain products. The ICO said that the 3 companies hold information on very nearly every adult in the UK and trade and sell this information particularly to people who sell direct marketing services.
My favourite story of the day is how the MSM got hoaxed by Fake News about Woolworth returning to the high street next year. Someone created a “mywoolworths” website and a matching twatter account, then put out the story that three trial stores are to be opened late next year. Many of the online newspapers picked up the story and ran with it, not bothering to do any basic checking of the background of the website at twatter account. They only had to look at the multiple spelling mistakes on the website, not least the use of Woolworths instead of Woolworth. There was a pretty quick bit of backtracking with the owners of the Woolworth brand in the UK, Very, denying they any plans to go back to the high street.
Good morning and for once it’s not actually raining at the moment, but I fear it is forecast. I had a little chuckle this morning when I heard on the radio this breakfast time that Keir Stoma’s story about his collision with a Deliveroo cyclist is raising questions. He was supposed to be heading to an appointment with his tailor and trying to park when it happened, but who has an appointment with their tailor on Sunday? One of the newspaper has sent a reporter to the site and found double yellow lines so wear was he parking. Then he said he gave his details to a British Transport Policeman, but the BTP say the man was off duty and only offered his details as a witness. Another witness reports he was doing a “U” turn and the cyclist saying “How didn’t you see me”. It’s all getting very murky, perhaps it’s a good thing there is no PMQs this week.
A few bits of coronavirus news today. The West Midlands Police have threatened to break up Christmas lunches if you break the rules over the number of people sitting down to eat. So be careful if mum, dad, two grannies, two granddads and the baby all tuck into a turkey lunch, the police might burst in and nick you all. Big fuss this morning about the number of coronavirus deaths reported yesterday. But people conveniently forget that Tuesday’s number is always higher after the low weekend numbers catch up. Germany, which is held out as the model we should be following, has announced that they have a problem, are going to have another lockdown and are running out of intensive care beds. Perhaps the should have followed us and built Nightingale Hospitals.
Now some aviation news. A story doing the rounds is that as many as 200 airports in Europe could close due to coronavirus. The theory is that because we are not being allowed to travel, we won’t need so many airports. Some like Manchester, Gatwick and Thiefrow are already laying off hundreds of workers. The only problem with the story is that it gives no idea of which airports, in which countries are in trouble, I want to know how many of this 200 are in the UK and how important they are. Boeing is talking about laying off 20% of its employees by the end of the year and are blaming coronavirus. But we all know Boeing has major problems with it 737 Max family of aircraft, it is still grounded and has suffered many order cancellations and this could be a better reason as Airbus is still building the rival A320 range full blast. If things in the aviation industry are so bad why is Thomas Cook relaunching next month and it looks like FlyBe are on the way back.
Has self-appointed King of the North gone mad? He recently declared that he was “not a Westminster politician – never have been”. Very odd for a man who had been Health Secretary, Culture Secretary, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Shadow Health Secretary, Shadow Education Secretary, a special adviser in the Department of Culture, and a researcher for Tessa Jowell. Then Mumsnet asked him what his favourite type of biscuit was and his strange reply was “Beer, chips and gravy”. We all saw his playacting on TV, pretending not to know Manchester was being put into Tier 3 when he had known for hours. Now he has picked a battle with Tesco claiming that some of their Manchester stores are not doing enough to enforce mask-wearing. He wants the power to close them. Fat chance.
Today our last Type 82 Guided Missile Destroyer HMS Bristol was retired. The ship was getting a little long in the tooth being 47 years old. The class was originally conceived as an escort for the planned CAV-01 class of Aircraft Carrier, which was to have been a catapult assisted launch through deck carrier until cancelled in 1966. However, HMS Bristol was not cancelled but the other seven of her class were! Bristol was the last steam power warship commissioned into the Royal Navy. It used the exhaust from two Bristol Siddeley (later Rolls Royce) Olympus Jet engines, as used on Concorde, to generate electrical power and supplement the two boilers that supplied the steam for propulsion.
I hear that the Labour Party is bracing itself for the result of the EHRC report on anti-Semitism under Steptoe. The word is that the report will be damning and say that under Steptoe the discrimination was illegal. This will open the door to quite a few people suing the party and could eventually cost them a lot of money even if they don’t fight it in court.
For tonight’s last tale I hear that close Steptoe ally and very left-wing Momentum supporting Labour MP for Poplar, Apsana Begum has been charged with housing fraud. She has been charged with 3 offences related to a riverside flat she moved to after leaving the house she shared with her estranged husband. The officials have been investigating how she, as a childless single woman, managed to jump to the top of the 18,000 housing list. When the investigation was first rumoured, last November, she denied any wrongdoing and said there was no investigation. The Labour Party, at the time, called the investigation “a disgrace”. It is said that she first applied for council housing from Tower Hamlets in 2011 while still living with family. She moved in with her husband in 2014 and left him a year later. Within six months she was offered a housing association Isle of Dogs flat where tenants are nominated by the council. She will appear in the Magistrates Court in early December.
I really am getting fed up with all this rain, every morning seems the same. I guess they will be blaming global warming and Brexit. They seem to get the blame for everything else.
I was interested to see that TfL has announced a big step forward in a rail project I knew nothing about. There has been lots of reporting on the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) and the new Northern Line branch to Battersea Power Station, but it seems that a new southbound Northern Line tunnel and platform are under construction at Bank Station together with a new station entrance, escalators, lifts and a moving walkway link to the DLR. This morning TfL have announced that all 1.5km of new tunnel has been completed and the project is on course to be completed sometime in 2022, if they don’t run out of money first.
What at first seemed to be a “lone wolf” attack by an Islamist on Christians in Nice now looks like part of coordinated attacks as reports come in of similar knife attacks in other places. The be-heading of unarmed people now seems to be the favourite method of killing by Muslim terrorists. The Nice attack also proved to be very handy for the BBC. It allowed them to ignore the EHRC report on the BBC News Channel for nearly 30 minutes. What were they doing? Having a meeting with Labour leaders to decide on the party line.
The EHRC report is absolutely damning on the Labour leadership when Steptoe was in power and the interference in complaints by the leader’s office. It says the party was guilty of unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination. Everyone thought that Chuckabutty’s report was a whitewash this just goes to show just how bad it was. Steptoe has issued a statement that blames it all on a political attack on the party and fails to accept the findings of the report. Can he hang onto his Labour Party membership and will it cause a split between the Corbynite wing and the Stoma wing. Stoma has said that they will implement every recommendation in full and will comply with the requirement to produce a legally enforceable action plan within six weeks. One interesting thing I heard was that 30% of all complaints were interfered with by the leader’s office before they could be investigated, including one about the Steptoe comments about the anti-Semitic mural which was dismissed by the leader’s office. I am sure there will be a lot more to come of this, but isn’t it nice to see Stoma on the back foot what with this and his driving. His Honeymoon period looks to be over.
The Royal Navy has denied that it is responsible for a blackout that affected 18,000 homes on the Scottishland islands of Harris and Lewis. The undersea cable that brings power from Skye was severed the day after a major military exercise in the area finished. I understand that the cable is so badly damaged that it will need to be replaced. At the moment all the power for Harris and Lewis is having to be supplied from a small diesel power station on Stornaway as the cable linked the islands to the National Grid. Of course, the cable could easily have been damaged by a trawler or even a foreign submarine spying on the exercise. The cable replacement could easily take up to a year to replace and the work could probably not start for at least six months because of the winter weather.
Well, it didn’t take long for the fall out from the EHRC report to start. After Steptoe’s “Not me gov” statement this morning Stoma has acted quickly and suspended him from the Labour Party and withdrawn the whip. Steptoe’s lefty mates have reacted as you might expect and demanded his immediate reinstatement. Old MacDonald has jumped in on Steptoe’s side. Now I hear that the campaign against anti-Semitism has submitted 54 pages of complaints against 14 more left-wing Steptoe supporters, namely Diane Abbott, Tahir Ali, Aspana Begum, Richard Burgon, Barry Gardiner, Kate Holler, Afzal Khan, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Angela Reynar, Steve Reed, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Barry Sheerman and Zarah Sultana. Will Stoma be consistent and suspend this motley lot as well? It could be a bit embarrassing as the deputy leader Crayons is amongst them.
With only a few days to go before the end of the month will Handoncock make his target of 500,000 coronavirus tests available daily. I must say it looks like he is going to fall short with the numbers for yesterday showing a total of 467,000 available tests in Pillar 1 and 2. However, if you add in the Pillar 3 and 4 test the number came to 588,612 available tests yesterday so he could claim to have done it. I did hear that the next target is likely to be to test 10% of the population every week. But then that begs the question as to how big is the population? Is it the ONS number of 66.8 million or the more commonly used 70 million or the 72 million I have seen estimated by the supermarkets based on sales? If the lowest ONS number is used and all 4 pillars are counted we need to roughly double the current number of daily tests, but by when?
Almost every morning this week I have woken up to rain! What is going on, I hate getting my fur wet so can someone please turn the rain off. As usual, I jumped on the papers as soon as Bozzie chucked then on the floor, I think my human slaves are getting used to my doing this, they even laugh when I do it now. Lots of stories about the Labour Party and Steptoe’s suspension today. I have read everything from it being a set-up by Stoma to get rid of him to Steptoe being fed up and doing it on purpose so he could retire to his allotment. I can’t believe any of this, I just think Steptoe spoke before he realised the implications of what he said. I was going to say he was stupid, but I’m not so sure how anyone stupid could get to make a million pounds out of politics! Lots of his left-wing friends like Len McClucky have come out in his support. Can he ever come back as a major Labour politician, I don’t think so but he could lead a splinter party. Now that would be fun.
I saw a bit this morning where someone was asking where in the world the last coal-fired power station would be built. Well, wherever it is it’s not going to be soon as there are still hundreds being built and a similar number being planned. China alone has plans for 217 plants, Indonesia 52, Turkey 29, India 28, Vietnam 17, Philippines 13 and another 87 in other countries ranging from Poland to Laos via Pakistan, Bangladesh and South Africa. And these are not small stations, the average unit these days is around 800 Mw and most power stations have 3 or 4 units, some even 6 or 8. We aren’t going to see the end of coal any time soon.
It seems that the EHRC report has kicked off a surge in racist messages on Labour websites. The Labour Party say they will investigate and any party members found to be posting will be disciplined which will make a change as this was something the EHRC was very critical about. It said that under Steptoe’s leadership the party just didn’t look into complaints about members liking or retweeting anti-Semitic messages. Left-wing members of the party are getting worried that a major purge is coming.
I’ve been reading about coronavirus this morning. It seems that most of the new cases are of a new variety of the virus that was first isolated in Spanish agricultural workers. It is thought that this then spread to the general population, then to tourists and subsequently back into the British population. This new version is now the predominant strain in Europe and last month accounted for over 50% of cases in England and Switzerland and 80% in Wales and Scotland. Fortunately, the new strain is no more potent than the original and could be weaker as this is the norm with variants. The virus, that’s only purpose is to replicate, learns that if it kills its host it too dies. The vaccines being developed are also said to be effective against all current variants of the Virus.
I hear we are deep into talks with Canada to sign a free trade agreement. The expectations are that an agreement will be in place by the end of the year, ready for the end of the transition arrangements. The deal is going to be based on a rollover of the deal between the EU and Canada so easy to negotiate. Look out for an announcement in a week or two.
It looks like the cruise industry could be about to resume. The Centre for Disease Control has said it will not be renewing it’s Do Not Cruise order and will allow cruising to restart provided that they produce adequate Covid 19 plans. At the moment the State of Florida has been hit very hard by the cruise ship ban as Miami is the epicentre of US cruising. The big American Cruise Corporations have cancelled all cruises up until 1st December and it could take them a while to get crews back from all over the world so I doubt they will be back in business before the New Year.
Hooray, the good news is that it is not raining. Boo, it’s going to rain later. Bozzie is a bit grumpy this morning, the papers, the radio, the “experts” all seem to be pushing him to introduce another lockdown and he is not happy. Instead of dropping the papers on the ground, he is throwing them down. The Times says we are going into a 4-week lockdown on Wednesday and it will be announced on Monday. I can’t tell you we are because all I have heard Bozzie say this morning is “Harumph”.
The EU are getting a bit above themselves. They have decided to sue us for introducing tougher regulations on the import of some plants than the EU. They have now sent us Bozzie a letter of formal notice giving us two months comply with their regulations. Two things seem a bit odd to me, what is so wrong with having stricter regulations to keep out pests and diseases and in two months we will be within a couple of days of being out from under the EU regulations. I expect Bozzie to tell them to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.
I know lots of people don’t like wearing face masks, but why do those that do wear them never seem to do it right. I am forever seeing people wearing them round their chins or more commonly with their nose sticking out. I have seen many people who should know much better wearing them like this. Steptoe was doing it yesterday, so was Joe Biden.
I was wondering yesterday if Handoncock would get his 500,000 testing capacity by the end of the month. Well yesterday the number reported was up again to just over 480,000 so it is just about possible with two October days announcements to go. Mind if you add in the pillar 3 tests, which are the 120,000 daily antibody tests, the number leaps to over 600,000.
I don’t know how many times I have snuggled up on the sofa next to one of the human slaves here to watch a James Bond film. I always enjoyed Sean Connery and thought he was the best in the part, followed by Roger Moore, so I was sad to hear he had died. But on the other hand, he was a massive supporter of the SNP and gave them pots of money until it was made illegal for foreign residents to fund UK political parties. One thing I never understood was why someone so strongly in favour of Scottishland independence lived in the Bahamas.
Grumpy Bozzie originally announced a presser for 16:00 and a cabinet meeting for 13:00 but the meeting went on and on and I could hear lots of raised voices. Then they put off the presser until 17:00 and that didn’t happen and the word was not before 18:00. He finally appeared at about 18:50 and announced another lockdown because the “experts” are predicting that if we don’t ourNHS will be overwhelmed in December. Non-essential shops will close on Thursday, as will pubs and restaurants unless selling takeaways. This time though schools, colleges and universities will not be shut down, neither will construction, manufacturing or football. Shielding will not be reintroduced but the furlough scheme will be extended for a month. Bozzie also announced that rapid turnaround testing, that has been in test in some areas, is to be rolled out nationwide in the next few days. These test can be done at home and tell you if you have the virus in 15 minutes. He says the army are going to do the logistics, which is good because they seem to know what they are doing.
On that happy note, I’m off to see if my dinner is in my bowl because I want to finish it before grumpy Bozzie gets back upstairs from the presser. I will chat again on Monday when I hope I will have some better news for you all.
© WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file