Morning cat lovers. Bit grey, misty and grotty again, but at least it’s dry! Big news to report this morning. My favourite cat treats lady was working yesterday and I went to say hello by rubbing around her legs. She bent down and stroked me and found a few cat treats for me. Then she pulled a cat advent calendar out of her desk drawer and hung it up high on the wall where I can’t get to it. She told me to come back on the 1st and she would open the first door for me. When is “the 1st”? I don’t understand calendars, I go by big sleeps (not cat naps), Winters and Summers! Think I will go back this morning, it might be “the 1st”.
A story this morning that Ireland is getting worried that Brexit could lead to a nationwide shortage of chips! It seems that Ireland’s favourite chips come from a particular strain of British potatoes and potato imports into the are EU likely to be banned if there is no deal. The EU claim they grow plenty of spuds to supply the Irish market, but the Irish are not convinced as it seems chips made from other brands just aren’t the same. It’s a bit late now they should have thought about it earlier.
Additional news today on the Moderna Coronavirus vaccine of which we have ordered 7 million doses, enough for 3.5 million people. It seems that in the latest analysis of data they are claiming that it in testing it was 100% effective in protecting the person vaccinated from catching the virus and from passing on to others. That would be remarkable as I have never heard 100% effectiveness claimed for a vaccine before. Moderna has also applied to the American Food and Drug Agency for “emergency permission” to start using the vaccine. If granted it would surely only be a matter of time before we and the rest of Europe followed.
I read that today 3 more F35B Fighters are crossing the Atlantic bringing the total in the UK up to 21. We have previously said we would purchase 138 of these aircraft but have as yet only actually ordered 48. I hear that the number to be purchased could be reduced to save money, but how few could it be reduced down to? The number I hear is that 78 is the lowest the RAF consider to be viable. What’s the betting that the idiots at the MoD want a lower number?
While talking MoD, I hear murmurs about the proposed Type 32 Frigate announced in the recent spending review. It is very early days and a specification hasn’t yet been formulated but the talk already is that the MoD is very happy with the progress that Babcock is making with the Type 31 order. The Type 32 is already being talked about as being a general-purpose frigate and that it could easily be accommodated in the hull of the Type 31 which is larger than most frigates. Using the same hull design as the 31 would logically lead to using its propulsion system and various other systems thus reducing costs. However, this ship is expected to be specified with a defensive weapons system to suit 2030 rather than the 2020 system of the Type 31. The major change is projected to be high energy lasers instead of missiles saving hull penetrations and missile storage which could be used for other purposes. Talk is already that it would make sense to order these ships from Babcock to roll on from the Type 31 orders being constructed at Rosyth. The problem here is that of Scottishland independence.
The Brexit talks are dragging on with Barnier in London again today. I hear chat that No 10 think the EU is trying to take as long as possible over these talks with the aim of getting us to extend the transition period beyond the end of the year. The word is that many EU members and Germany in particular is getting fed up with Macaroon’s posturing on fishing when there are more important things to them like car exports. The EU knows that actually extending the transition period is just not acceptable and are looking to pull one of their regular negotiating tricks like “stopping the clock”, to stop us from walking away. Tough, the date is already in UK law and we can’t just ignore things like the EU, when, as I have said several times before, when will they accept we are an independent country.
Two Sleepy Joe stories today. Firstly I hear that while “playing” with one of his dogs he fell over and had broken a bone in his foot. At his age, you need to look out for brittle bones. Secondly, the papers are full of praise for him today for appointing an all-female media team. What they don’t mention is that the GKP has had an all-female team for some time as has the vice president.
Tonight’s daft story. A psychic has said that Sleepy Joe’s dogs have told him that Sleepy Joe will make a fine president. If you believe that you will believe anything.
Well, nice and bright this morning but when I went out before breakfast it wasn’t very warm. I understand it is going to get colder as the week goes on and there is a possibility of sleet in London late in the week.
So the Government have given TfL the £825 million they say they need to finish the Elizabeth Line. I suppose it was inevitable they were going to get the money as the Government could hardly be seen as the people who killed the new tube line when it was so nearly completed. The much-delayed railway is now due to open in 2022, four years late and heavens knows how many billions over budget.
The least used railway station in Britain was announced today. It is Berney Arms in Norfolk on the line from Norwich to Great Yarmouth. The request stop is named after a nearby pub and was used by just 42 passengers last year. When you think about it, that is less than one passenger a week! It did have a bit of an excuse though it was closed by engineering works for 10 months last year. Even so, that is less than 1 passenger a day for the two months it was open!
Tomorrow in much of the country you can go into the pub again, but only if you are eating a “substantial table meal”. Basically, this means that you have to sit at a table to eat so I suppose that if you want to sit at the bar and eat your pie and chips you are breaking the law. You must also wear a face mask while moving about the pub, but luckily you are allowed to take it off to eat. Of course, that begs the question what is a substantial meal (allowed) and what is a bar snack (not allowed)? There is one other thing you should know, you must leave as soon as you finish eating, there is no drink up time. If you have finished your spotted dick and still have half your pint of Stella sitting on the table, you must not finish it, but get up and go immediately (after paying the bill)!
Another daft idea starts on 8th December. All new battery EVs will have a green flash on their number plates. Existing EVs don’t have to swop to the new style plates but can do if they wish. As well as being a vanity thing, the idea is that it will help identify EVs for such things as congestion zones where EVs go free.
When I first heard this story I had to lot look at a calendar to check whether it was 1st April. EasyJet are halving luggage allowances from 10th January. You will still be allowed to take a small bag into the aircraft with you, but it must be small enough to fit under the seat. If it won’t fit then you have to put it in the overhead locker and for that, you must pay £24 per journey or £48 for a found trip. If you choose to pay to choose your seat and for extra legroom, you can also take a large bag into the cabin and put it in the overhead locker. I suppose EasyJet have lost that much money through Covid that they have got to try to get some back by squeezing it out of the customers.
I hadn’t realised just how much some airlines had cut back on their in-flight catering during the pandemic. It is only now that I hear the British Airways are talking about restoring a full meals service to first and business classes that I found out quite how much they had cut back. The excuse was they wanted to limit the amount of time people spent without a face mask while eating. At the beginning of the pandemic, all they served was pre-packed sandwiches and a candy bar. In June they improved that to cold snack boxes, the only exception was hot food was served in international first class, and all drinks were served in cups and not glasses. In October hot food returned to all classes but it was still served in snack boxes. Apparently full service in first and business will resume on 20th January with the use of china, glasses and metal cutlery returning. The peasants in economy will still be getting boxes.
Last story for tonight. The Belgian police raided a bar in Brussels last night where a gay orgy was reported to be taking place. 25 men were arrested including a Hungarian MEP who later claimed diplomatic immunity. There are reports that the gays initially thought the raid was part of the show and tried to debag the police. Another embarrassment for the police was that the bar was in the same street as the police station and the station having no parking of its own, all the police cars were parked in the street outside the Bar.
Ah, Bozzie is in his good suit this morning it must be PMQs! Well, your cat correspondent has done it again. I told you last week that the distribution of the Pfizer vaccine had started and the vaccination program was about to begin and I was right. I was purring with pleasure at my brilliance and Bozzie said to me, “What are you so happy about?” I tried to tell him and the Little Otter wanted to know why I was meowing, was Bozzie teasing me. Bozzie has got the “grumps” about the number of MP’s who voted against the whip. He is now getting worried that there could be enough MP’s to trigger a leadership vote.
It seems that the NHS is getting ready to receive the first 800,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in the next few days, enough to treat 400,000 people. Because of the characteristics of this vaccine, having to be transported at -80°C, it looks like the vulnerable residents of care homes will not be the first to be vaccinated, as had been promised. Instead, it looks like it’s going to be NHS workers, front line workers, first. It also looks like several million more doses will arrive before the year-end, but this is far less than the “10 million doses before Christmas” we were planning for. In total, we have 40 million doses of this vaccine on order and supposedly they will all arrive before Easter. This would be enough to vaccinate everyone over 65. We now seem to have more infrastructure in place then we need for this year’s supply, I wonder how long it will be before the other to leading vaccines are approved?
Another little tale involving Wee Krankie and her independence mania. On Monday she made a speech to the SNP conference telling them that if her party returned to power next year she would be looking for an independence referendum. She went on to send a message to the EU that Scotland was ready to return as a member. Now I hear that the EU is not as convinced that they want Scottishland as a member. They just don’t see Scottishland as an economically viable member, why would they ever want to invite in a new member that would be a nett taker rather than a nett contributor. She would love to go into a referendum promising that the EU has said they could join but I don’t think it’s going to happen.
The deportation flight to Jamaica took off at 1am this morning with Jamaican nationals on board. This is despite the fuss being made over it by Labour and prominent black people conflating it with Windrush. The 13 onboard were all born in Jamaica, had no entitlement to British citizenship and had all been convicted of serious crimes. Some were murderers, some has committed manslaughter and others, sex crimes against children. It is interesting that in recent years over 5,000 people were deported nearly all were white and went to Europe only 1% of whom went to Jamaica.
This morning Tesco have announced that they will repay to the Government the £585 million that they received in Covid rates relief. They estimate that the actual cost to them of the virus is around £750 million but they feel other companies have been harder hit than themselves and more deserving of the money. This evening Morrison’s have joined Tesco and announced they will repay the £274 million they received in rates relief. I wonder if Sainsbury’s, ASDA and the other big supermarkets will be shamed into joining in.
I had to laugh when I read the Welsh Labour First Minister is in trouble with the Welsh pub trade. Ducks and Drakeford announced a total ban on pubs and restaurants selling alcohol from 6pm on Friday blaming it on coronavirus. In retaliation over 100 pubs have issued him with an 18-month ban on the grounds of anti-social behaviour. West Conwy Pubwatch has circulated a letter explaining the ban to all its members and threatening him with arrest if he enters on of their pubs.
I read that the dead tree media has christened today as wild Wednesday as we moved out of lockdown 2 and into the new 3 tier system. Many gyms were able to reopen at midnight and could you believe that people were willing to exercise at that time of night. Then I hear that people were queueing up at 5am outside of Primark waiting for them to open. Primark is one of the few retailers not to have a website so customers have been unable to buy anything during lockdown. In London’s Oxford Street huge queues formed outside JD Sports. But the bargain hunters were out in force wherever there is a Debenhams hoping to benefit from their closing down sale. Debenhams website was so busy that it crashed.
Has the architectural company Foster & Partners come up with a solution to the Hammersmith Bridge problem? They have presented their proposals to Hammersmith and Fulham Council and it will be interesting to see their reactions. The proposal is a double-deck steel structure built on the existing bridge. The lower deck will be for pedestrians and cyclists, while the upper deck will be for cars and buses. The idea is that it will allow work on the bridge to happen while not upsetting the traffic. One of the advantages of this scheme is that it will use the original approach roads to the bridge.
The global warming is making it chilly and damp outside this morning. Bozzie was eating his breakfast when I got back in and he looked at me and asked, “Where have you been old man?”. Wouldn’t he have been surprised if I had said, “I just popped out for a quick shit.”
I forgot to tell you about my lovely cat Advent calendar. Each little door seems to have a mini bag of cat treats behind it, all different flavours so far. I am loving it. I will be down to see the Dreamies Lady later for today’s, but she told me she was on the afternoon shift today. I will just have to find a comfy chair to curl up on and snooze while I wait, I refuse to go out in the rain.
Tesco has now shamed Sainsbury’s into returning their coronavirus rates relief. They took a day but will now return £440 million. Still waiting to hear from ASDA, Waitrose, Co-op, Lidl and Aldi. I suspect we may have to wait a very long time for the last two.
I was delighted to see that we have upset the EU by licensing the Pfizer coronavirus so quickly. They seem to think that we should wait for them to give approval first and then follow on. My understanding is that Matt Handoncock has done something right for once. Back in the summer, he got a bit of legislation through Parliament that let us license medicines as we are now an independent country. One-nil to Brexit. Then our vaccine procurement lot were back in June, the first country to contract to buy doses of the Pfizer vaccine. As part of the contract, we got immediate access to all their test results as they happened. This allowed the licensing people to start reviewing the data as it came in and save months. The EU placed their first order in November so couldn’t have seen the paperwork before then. So why should we wait six months for them to catch up? Two-nil to Brexit.
Another thing made possible by Brexit was announced late yesterday. The UK is to ban the export of live animals for slaughter, something we were not allowed to do under EU rules. Exceptions are made Northern Ireland and for chickens. Why chickens?
It’s lunchtime and Aldi & ASDA has been shamed into joining those that have already volunteered to return their Covid business rates relief. The big supermarkets are now falling over themselves to keep up with Tesco. That’s five down and I expect more to follow.
After losing their war with Azerbaijan, I hear that Armenia has another serious problem to worry about. Back in the day when Armenia was part of the USSR the Russians built a nuclear power plant at Metsamor near the Turkish border. The reactor is two Soviet VVER-440 Model V270’s known to be some of the oldest and least reliable of their designs. On top of that, the reactors are designed to withstand a magnitude 7 earthquake and the area is volcanic and can expect earthquakes of up to magnitude 8! Due to these problems, the Russians closed it in 1988 but due to the need for electricity the Armenians reopened it in 1995 and it now supplies 40% of the country’s power. The EU and Turkey would both love to see the plant shut down as they think it is dangerous but Armenia needs the power.
A little story reaches me from India where Indian Railways had made the decision in future tea will be served in earthen cups known as kulhads. In an effort to save the use of plastic the 7,000 station buffets and on train catering will be reverting to the unglazed, unpainted, handleless, clay cups of the past. The cups are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and will lead to the employment of thousands of potters. The kulhads are not washed but simply recycled after use. I wonder if British Rail might consider something similar?
A bit damp under paw this morning and still cold. Bozzie had his little key thingy out again and was on about “bleeding radiators”. Well, it was warmer once he finished messing around.
This morning it seems that we are as far away as ever in getting a free trade agreement with the EU. Only a couple of days ago we were told to prepare for a deal now it appears that the goal posts have been moved by the EU for the umpteenth time. Somehow I don’t think they want an agreement, they would prefer us to do an about-turn and stay. The problems are still the same, the level playing field and fishing. The level playing field isn’t level but tilted in the EU’s favour. The French are threatening to veto any agreement that does not allow them to carry on fishing in our water. If they let us go and pick all their grapes in return then OK.
I had to chuckle when I saw Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary on the TV singing the praises of the Boeing 737 MAX8 just after he had placed an order for 75. Only a little while ago he had been moaning about the planes being grounded and how much it was costing his airline. I wouldn’t mind betting that he got an amazingly cheap deal for his new planes and is being paid off by Boeing for not being able to use previously bought planes. Boeing badly need to get some new orders and good publicity.
The “show us the evidence” chorus over the presidential voting fraud from the MSM seems to be fading. The more evidence that gets presented to the state legislatures the harder it is to ignore. Even CBS and the BBC have been reporting some of the latest events. Well the video of the people pulling suitcases full of votes out from beneath a table and counting them, after telling all the observers to go home as the count was paused for the night, has been too much to ignore.
Yesterday I brought you the story of the old Russian nuclear power plant in Azerbaijan, today it the story of the brand new Russian nuclear power plant in Belarus. Within days of it starting generating electricity, the Astravets nuclear power plant halted electricity output after voltage transformers had reportedly exploded. A few weeks later it started to test generation using the No 1 reactor and either a valve failed or human error didn’t open it and the reactor’s emergency cooling system has been put out of action. The Astravets plant is close to the Belarus-Lithuania border and is just 50 kilometres away from Lithuania’s capital. Naturally, the Lithuanians are not very happy. What is it with Russian nuclear technology?
I just heard the best excuse ever for a flight take-off being delayed. In Calcutta, two planes were delayed because they were surrounded by a huge swarm of bees. The swarm landed on a Vistra Airlines jet shortly after it landed and the airport fire brigade spent over 30 minutes trying to get them to move by shooting high power water jets at them. They eventually moved on. However, 16 hours later they were back, landing on the cargo hold door of another Vistra jet. Baggage handlers refused to handle passengers bags. Again the firemen cleared them but this time with a water cannon. The flight took off an hour late.
Another cold morning outside but at least the radiator near my cat basket is nice and toasty this morning. A good start to the day when I found my bowl full of Felix Chicken.
Unsurprisingly the talks with the EU ground to a halt again last night as we are still not willing to accept their rules. I heard yesterday that the EU now say that they insist on the EU being able to break state aid rules whenever they like, but we have to stick with them at all times. This was the latest example of moving the goalposts we all hear about. Bozzie is to meet with Ursula Von Der Leyen today to see if the politicians can move thing on a bit. Somehow I don’t think so. I did hear that Macaroon has said that he wants a “no deal” so that he can make us come crawling back to negotiations next year and give in over everything. I wonder what the French public will say when they find that they can no longer buy fish.
The fat Labour mayor of Liverpool has been arrested for suspected bribery and witness intimidation regarding building contracts. He is reported to have had his Labour Party membership suspended until the result of the case is known. Mayor Joe Anderson came in for MSM praise for his handling of Liverpool’s coronavirus problems, so this news seems to have been relegated to page 92 in much of today’s dead tree press. Talking of page 92 reminded me of Private Eye who used to run a regular column on corruption in Liverpool, which if I remember correctly, they called Murkypool. Back in these days, Liverpool was run by Labours extreme left-winger Derek Hatton, who is reported to be one of Anderson’s friends.
On average our fishermen catch around 90,000 tonnes of fish a year in EU waters. But this is very misleading as over 80% of that is caught in UK water. However, the EU 27 catch 760,000 tonnes annually in U.K. waters. This around 20% of all the fish caught by the EU, but you have to remember that the likes of Italy and Greece don’t have any quota in UK water. Consequently, it is the French, German and Dutch who have the most to lose. So it is no wonder the EU is going to moan egged on by the French who seem to have the most to lose.
If it’s not bad enough us wasting our aid budget money on daft things like that Ethiopian girl band I now learn that the EU throws around their £1 billion share with equal abandon. The latest report says they gave money to Turkey “to help them prepare for EU membership” even after Turkey withdrew their application. Money went to the dried apricot industry and to expand a women prison. They also gave money to Uganda to make train rides smoother!
Now I hear that Kier Stoma is self-isolating after an aide in his office tested positive for coronavirus. It’s about time he had a turn, Bozzie has had two goes. Will he do PMQs from his home office on Wednesday or dare he expose Crayons to Bozzie. I bet Bozzie is busy writing the put down for her already.
Scottishland voters have been mocking Wee Krankie today after the Scottishland company BiFab went into administration. They have not had any work for some time and had asked for a rescue package from Krankie’s lot or to be nationalised which they refused. Back in 2017 Wee Krankie posed with the boss of BiFab and boasted how she had saved them from administration. Krankie says EU state aid rules prevented a rescue package and she wants to stay in/rejoin the EU, what a mug.
Bozzie was on the phone for over an hour to that Ursula woman this afternoon. She is sending EU negotiators back to London for more talks tomorrow and Monday. Then she is going to phone Bozzie again on Monday evening. I wonder what the point is of them coming back if that are not going to back down on things that we just can’t accept? I expect she will be on the phone to Macaroon tonight.
Well, that’s it for this week. Night night all. I’ll be chatting again on Monday.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file