Morning all, where’s the promised sun? You just can’t rely on the weather forecast these days.
I hear that Prince William and Kate’s dog “Lupo” has died at an early age for a black cocker spaniel. Well, you all know that I am not the greatest dog lover in this world but he looked to be friendly and was apparently loved by their children. Now I always think a family is better off pets and the Royal Family and the Middleton family are “dog” people but can I put a word in for cats. I think those three little children would just love to have some cute cuddly kittens to look after. It would be much easier on them as a family to have cats when they are away from home, we are just not so needy as dogs.
At long last, a council has seen sense and is to rip out the useless pop-up COVID-19 cycle lane. West Sussex voted to remove them last Friday and I hear that work is to start on the removal this very morning. The citizens of Chichester, Worthing and Shoreham have been vociferous in their demand the lanes imposed on them should go because they have caused congestion, obstructed the emergency services and most importantly have been hardly used by cyclists. Now we only need Sad Dick to do the same in London.
Government appeal against Jihadi bride Shamima Begum being allowed into the country for her appeal for having her British Citizenship removed started this morning. I think the terrorist get just what she wants, to back into Britain. If she then wins her case she will be able to stay, but if she loses what is to stop her appealing for political asylum now that she is in the country. Now she’s here it will be virtually impossible to throw her out again and we will have to spend millions of pounds on the security services watching her for the rest of her life. Thank you, do-gooders.
The announcement this morning by AstraZeneca on the efficacy of their coronavirus vaccine has left me a little confused. The first thing I heard was Nick Ferrari on the kitchen radio telling us it was 90% effective. Then the man reads the news and it’s gone down to 70%. Then someone else says 84%. What is going on? Then they start talking about whether you should have two full doses 14 days apart or 28 days apart or a full dose followed by a half dose or half a dose followed by a full dose. I wish I knew what was going on. The stock market doesn’t seem to have been too impressed by the announcement as the AstraZeneca share price has fallen over £3 today.
Bozzie made a virtual statement to the House of Commons this afternoon on the tier levels when we come out of lockdown. He made his statement, answered a few questions and then they lost his audio signal. You could see his mouth moving but not hear him, good I hear you say. After 30 minutes or so of Handoncock answering the questions, they managed to get him back. Doesn’t this go to prove what the Mogg has been saying about the virtual parliament the opposition has been moaning about?
Micheal Martin, the Irish Tea Shop, has been saying today that an outline deal with the EU is likely to be struck this week. However, Michel Barnier says there are still some major sticking points despite the agreement being said to be 95% complete. Bet it’s fishing, the level playing field and the ECB that are still the sticking points. I also hear that Emmanuel Macaroon is demanding the total agreement is translated into French even it delays an agreement.
Lastly for today, it seems that the new plague on the roads of Britain is electric vehicles that have got flat batteries. The proportion of EV’s running out of power is much higher than conventional cars running out of petrol. At least if your car runs out of petrol you can get a can full by walking to the nearest filling station. Something that is just not possible with an EV.
Morning folks, a little bit brighter this morning. Bozzie is still in self-isolation so breakfast is a peaceful time and I get a much better opportunity to have a look at the morning papers. The Telegraph says that the EU negotiations are on the cusp of an agreement. However, when you read a bit further it seems the EU wants to have a fixed review of any fishing agreement every 10 years and every 10 to 15 years for the whole trade deal. This would tie us to the EU forever and is totally unacceptable. We are not one of their member states to be kicked around.
I read today that the dosing regime that led to the AstraZeneca vaccine achieving 90% effective was the result of an error. It is reported that a mistake caused a number of the volunteers to only get a reduced first dose. One month later they received the full second dose. It is normally accepted that full protection is reached 14 days after the second dose and when they were tested they were found to be much better protected than those who received two full doses. However, an initial half dose means the vaccine will be even cheaper to use. It was already said to cost only $3 a shot as opposed to $40 for the other two.
I see that the GKP got what he wanted yesterday. The MSM has been telling us all that the President has been losing court cases. I see a district court judge in Pennsylvania chucked out a case without even allowing evidence to be put. The MSM tried their best to ignore the judge’s bias in not allowing evidence by not reporting it. The Trump team appealed it to the 3rd Circuit Appeals Court and they have now had it referred to the SCOTUS which is just what GKP wanted in the first place. I suspect that this will be the first of many appeals.
An announcement from Grunt Shatts this morning that the rules are being changed for travellers arriving back in the UK. They can now quarantine for 5 days and then take a coronavirus test. If it is clear then they are out of quarantine. But you have to pay for a private test and organise it yourself. How much I hear you asking. Well, anything from £65 to £125 according to my source.
You remember those rotten old rusty tube trains that are being replaced on the Isle of Wight that I told you about last week. Well, one has been acquired by a preservation group. Good luck to them, I think they will have their work cut out.
Scientists have been testing a new chemotherapy, which they describe as “more elegant” in mice. They have succeeded in killing cancer cells while leaving healthy cells untouched. The research is still said to be two years from use in humans but saved 80% of mice with brain tumours!
I hear an odd tale from Southampton court. It seems that an Albanian crime gang took over an empty house on a Southampton housing estate and turned it into a cannabis factory. A second 5 member London gang heard about it and decided to steal the plants. In September last year, with the crop ready they raided the house in the middle of the night and proceeded to fill up two of those big bag you put builders rubble in. The Albanians turned up and started shooting. The Londoners fled with their spoil. Later a body was found in a river in a local park and the following morning a dog walker found the bags of cannabis. It seems that one of the Londoners fell in the river and drown. His associates pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and possession of a shotgun with intent. Today they got 8 years each. The Albanians have disappeared!
Morning all, it’s a bit grotty this morning, drizzly and grey. Bozzie is lucky he can stay in and do PMQs from his office. Since the sound being cut out when he was answering questions following a statement the other day, the place has been crawling with technicians from the House of Commons putting in new equipment. I wonder if the sound will be any better in future, it has sounded like he was taking from an empty swimming pool. I have been trying to find out if he is wearing any trousers when he’s on from his office, somehow I don’t expect him to be.
So Transport for London is still chasing an extra £275 million from the Government with the threat that if they don’t get it this week they will “mothball” the Elizabeth Line. The head of TfL is blaming the Government, but the problem has been caused by the Greater London Authority (read that as Sad Dick) which has only given TfL £875 million of the £1.1 million needed to finish the project. They are demanding the Government put in the rest. Why? The Elizabeth Line is a TfL project and TfL is run by the GLA. GLA is run by the Mayor, Sad Dick, so guess who is really to blame.
I read that P&O have put back restarting their cruises program until April next year and haven’t run a passenger voyage for over a year. But the owners of P&O’s home port, Southampton, believe that cruising will come back bigger and better next year and are spending £55 million building another cruise terminal. There already are four and one is only a few years old, but this one will be the biggest and the best. As cruise ships have got steadily larger over the past few years bigger facilities have been needed and not all the existing Southampton terminals can handle the biggest ships that this one will. One of the complaints about the port is that cruise ships continue to run their engines to generate power while in dock, causing pollution. This terminal will be the first in Britain, and only the second in Europe after Copenhagen, to allow cruise ships to plug into shore power. All new cruise ships are built to accept this technology even if the ports aren’t ready yet!
The internal war in the Labour Party doesn’t seem to be getting any better. The first, virtual, meeting of the newly elected NEC started off with left-wingers, former MP Laura Piddock and trade unionist Howard Beckett, raising points of order highly critical of Kier Stoma. Then 13 members of the NEC just walked out, by disconnecting. It seems the left was further upset because the Corbyn sceptic Margaret Beckett was elected to the chair. They had expected the left-wing Fire Bridge Union representative, Ian Murray, to be made chair by ‘Buggins turn’. In a related move, the leftward leaning Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union are to consult members on staying affiliated to Labour. It isn’t getting any better for Stoma.
Every time I see something about the American presidential election things get worse and worse. I now hear that in one Pennsylvania county they sent out 1.2 million postal votes and counted 2.4 million postal votes. Did they count every vote twice? In another anomaly in one addition of votes to the total 780,000 votes were added to Biden’s total while 3,200 were added to Trump, statistically impossible.
More bad news for Johnny Depp today. He had been refused permission to appeal his recent losing libel action against The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater”. He has also been ordered to pay The Sun nearly £630,000 in costs and legal fees. Only a rich person can afford to use the British court system. It was also confirmed that Mads Mikkelsen is to replace Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3.
My last story for tonight is about a 34-year-old mum from West Yorkshire who was clearing out her son’s bedroom when she came across a Sega Mega Drive that hadn’t been used for some time. She decided to sell it to raise some extra money for Christmas, so she advertised it for sale. She eventually accepted another for £25 and found the Drive’s original box that she popped it in and sent it off to the purchaser. The following day she was mortified to receive a message and a photo from the buyer of the Drive and a Rampant Rabbit vibrator that had been in the box with it. It was only then that she remembered having won the vibrator in a competition and hiding it away from her son in the Saga’s box.
So we now know who is going into which coronavirus tier and not very many people are happy. Only 3 areas go into the lowest Tier 1, quite a lot of areas go into the toughest Tier 3 but the vast majority of England go into Tier 2. But the whole thing is a mess with areas with high and rising coronavirus numbers, like Redbridge, and low and falling numbers, like Worthing, all lumped into Tier 2. This is because the system is too coarse, perhaps 5 tiers would have been better and areas are too big for example lumping a huge area like London into the same tier.
Another grotty grey morning with rain that was not forecast. The Met Office is useless, bet they say that it’s all the fault of not having a powerful enough computer and they want more money for a new one. But anyway today is a big day in Number 10 as Bozzie is out of isolation and is back at the breakfast table throwing the papers on the floor. Dilyn seems happy to see him. I hear he is going to Parliament to back up Handoncock’s announcement on coronavirus tiers and will do a presser tonight.
Why did the Cat Lady leave it so close to the day of the court case with Arron Banks to amend her defence to what is basically to admit she has no defence and admitting she lied? Could it be that she now has raised enough money through her fundraising to pay for the costs and damages she will now inevitably have to pay? Has she been told that she has no chance of winning the case and is bailing before the costs mount in court? Was she pressured by other people who repeated her story and praised her journalism that she not admits was lies? I doubt we will ever know.
I see the Kraken has launched two massive court cases, one in Georgia and one in Michigan alleging fraud and interference in the presidential and other elections. One is 104 pages long and the other 75, both contain many allegations and suggested legal remedies. The allegations range from 96,000 mail-in votes more than were on the books being counted in Georgia, to paperwork that has to be legal retained for 22 months being destroyed, to the voting machines being linked to servers accessed from China, Iran and Venezuela. All this is back up by affidavits from witnesses. If any of this is true it could easily be enough for the election in these states to be overturned. I wonder how much of this rollover to other states. Rather than report on the content of these allegations I see the Daily Mail is concentrating on spelling mistakes and typos.
The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham have, in their infinite wisdom, decided to make the street around the Hurlingham club available to permit holders only. Permits will be issued to residents and club members and controlled by cameras using number plate recognition. However, I hear that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, as patrons of the club are not entitled to a pass. Meaning that Kate will find paying an extra £120 fine every time she fancies a game of tennis or a swim a little prohibitive. Will the car carrying their police bodyguard also be fined?
Amazon has apologised to those people who got everything from Felix cat food to a foot massager delivered in place of the PlayStation PS5 they had ordered. While not saying what happened, there is a strong suggestion that someone in their warehouse is on the fiddle, they are refunding people. However the people are not getting cash, the money paid is being credited to their Amazon accounts and Amazon are suggesting they reorder. One problem with this is that the PS5 is sold out nationwide. Sony say they are working hard to make more stock available in the UK before Christmas but nothing is guaranteed.
One of the daft things about Christmas Covid eased restrictions is that they take no account of the traditional cock up that is travelling by train. If you were to take advantage of, say, travelling by train from, say, London to York you should be back in London by 27th December when the Christmas easing goes back to your standard tier. However, there are no trains back to London because Kings Cross is shut until early January. I bet I could find you other examples of this sort of lunacy.
Tonight I leave you with the news that councils and others are being asked to look at the width allowed for cars in car parks. The width of spaces has remained the same for many years while the actual width of cars has been increasing. In fact, it has been estimated that in many cases you will only have 21 cms to get out into. I guess we all need to go on a diet.
Wet this morning, reluctantly I used the tray rather than getting my fur soggy. I shall review going out depending on how heavy the rain is.
Lots of people moaning about the new English tier restrictions they have been placed in and how in some areas they have been put into Tier 3 when places with higher numbers per 100,000 are in Tier 2. Only 3 places in England are in the lowest Tier 1 and there is a growing rebellion among Tory backbenchers who are threatening to vote against the measures next week. Many feel that the decision on tier allocation was made 2 days ago on data that was already a week old and is not to start for another week is wrong. In the last week, both infection numbers and hospital admissions have been falling and this should have been taken into consideration. But tiers will not be reviewed for another two weeks when it no doubt the data considered will still be out of date.
Today is the 17 anniversary of the very last Concorde flight. The aircraft, G-BOAF, was the last Concorde off the production line and took off from London Heathrow. She flew out over the north of the Bay of Biscay before looping back to fly low over the Clifton Suspension Bridge, do two circuits over Bristol and land at Filton. If you want to see this Beautiful plane it is preserved in the Bristol Aerospace Museum.
So Arsenal are to be the first top-flight English football club have fans back at a match. 2000 fans are to be let into their 63,000 seat stadium for next Thursday’s game with Rapid Vienna. But this is where it gets silly, Arsenal have to obey not only the Government rules but also the UEFA rules and spectators in the main areas will have to be seated with least 2 seats between them even if they are with their husband, wife, partner, child or household member. It must hardly be viable to open the stadium under these conditions.
A report out today says that an electric car must drive 50,000 miles before it is greener than a petrol car. This is due to the manufacturing processes, on average a petrol car emits 14,000 tons of CO2 equivalent while being made. By comparison, an EV emits 40,000 tons of CO2 equivalent. However, the article points out that most of the CO2 comes from making the batteries and the batteries make up most of the car’s costs. A point not included in this report is that the end of their life these car batteries must be recycled releasing a load more pollutants and poisonous chemicals.
Another 10 destinations were added to the travel corridor list last night. Only problem is, two of them don’t have direct fights from the UK. For one, you would have to first fly to France, which is banned and the other is only accessible from the USA and they still won’t let ordinary people in. The other eight all have some sort of restrictions on their access ranging from arrivals having to pass two COVID-19 tests 5 days apart, to 14 days quarantine, banning tourists completely (business trips might be possible). Not much hope there for a sunshine holiday!
Are the EU ready to compromise on fishing rights in the Trade Deal talks? I hear Barnier has been authorised to offer us an 18% increase in the current amount of fish the EU allows us to catch. The 18% coming off the current EU share. When will they understand that as of January 1st they have no right to catch any fish at all in British waters and this kind of offer is plain insulting? This move is a tiny chink of light in the negotiations but they need to move a whole lot more.
Last Christmas a 16-foot tall illuminated model marmot was the centrepiece of Alton in Hampshire’s town decorations. What a giant skiing ground squirrel had to do with Christmas no one quite knew. It was nicknamed Marmite because some people loved it and some people hated it. Well, this year it’s back, but it has brought a friend, another giant illuminated skiing marmot! Are they breeding in the town hall? I wonder if Bozzie has considered a 16 foot illuminated Larry the Cat in front of No 10 instead of the same old tree? Next year they could add Dilyn. Now that would draw the crowds in!
Sunny this morning when the forecast said rain and dull all day. Oh well, I shouldn’t really complain at least I don’t have to use the litter tray.
I have been hearing lots of people wanting to impose magnitsky type sanctions on Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam, well from what I read they would probably be a waste of time. In an interview with a Hong Kong news station, she has said she no longer has a bank account or credit cards. This is due to sanctions imposed by the United States making it impossible for her to run them. Instead, she says she is paid in cash and uses it for her every transaction. Her $672,000 pa (HK$5.21 million) as Hong Kong’s Chief Executive is paid in cash and she says she has piles of cash in her residence. I hope not too many crooks were listening to her broadcast or she will be in trouble.
I always knew that there were more people in the UK than the official numbers indicated. Now an official report says that so far 4.2 million people have applied to stay in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. It was previously estimated that there were only 3.4 million EU citizens in the UK, but that number has already been exceeded by 0.8 million. With applications open until June 30th next year the estimate is sure to be out by over 1,000,000.
Things are moving on the coronavirus front. The Government has officially asked the Medicines Agency to look at licensing the AstraZeneca vaccine and the Pfizer, stocks of which were all held in Belgium, are starting to be flown to the early customers, amongst them the US and the UK. I now hear that UK hospitals have been told to prepare for their first deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine as early as Monday 7th December. I also hear that despite the official timetable saying care home residents and staff, followed by the over 80 being first, NHS staff will be jumped to the head of the queue. It seems that this particular vaccine suffers from being transported a number of times once it is unfrozen and there are worries that getting it to care home could reduce its potency. I also wonder if it isn’t as effective in older people. It’s my guess that older people will have to wait for the AstraZeneca vaccine which is more easily handled.
Tesla’s plans to build the world’s biggest EV battery factory look to have run into problems. While it is officially still on schedule, opposition is mounting. The so-called “Gigafactory” will include an initial production line for the Tesla Model Y, which could be expanded to produce other future new models. The site has already been cleared of around 300 hectares of pine trees, much to the annoyance of Greens, and foundations and the plant shell have been built. However, “advance permits” are now required and they are over 400 objections to be heard. Many of these relate to the local water system and fears of contamination, both from the disposal of the vast amount of water planned to be used in the car paint shop and the battery manufacturing, but also from the interference of the local land drainage into nearby lakes.
While on the subject of Tesla cars I hear that their sales in Europe have stalled, having been overtaken by the Volkswagen ID3. Could it have anything to do with Elon Musk’s decision to switch the supply of Model 3s from the US to China where they are said to be 10% cheaper to make because they include Chinese made batteries? These batteries weigh 200kg more than the US ones and the added weight affects the car’s performance, much to European customers annoyance.
DFDS has announced that they are to start a direct post Brexit freight ferry route between Dunkirk and Rosslare starting on January 2nd. The trip will have space for 125 lorries, run 6 return trips a week and take 24 hours. The idea is to offer companies a direct link between Ireland and mainland Europe without going via England. It will be interesting to see how it compares on price and how the Irish drivers like 24 hours at sea in rough winter weather.
I’m loving the civil war in the Labour Party. Now Steptoe is taking the party to court. His lawyers are claiming that party officials met with trade union leaders and others to plan the course of action against him. The party of course deny any such thing. This row is just getting better and better.
Before I head for my cat basket, one last tale. The council in Newham want TfL to rename a station in the borough. It seems Maryland Station might be named after the State of Maryland in the US where there were many plantations with slaves. It just might have been at the behest of a local family who owned plantations but no one is sure how or why it got its name. But outraged councillors fear people “could” find the name offensive. It’s a storm in a teacup.
Night night all. See you on Monday.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file