Morning all, another chilly morning although at least the frost was melting when I woke up, I hate these cold winter’s days. Bozzie was not happy over breakfast, muttering about, “Not being buggered to go to the Commons over some shit stirrers calling an emergency debate when he had other things in his diary.” The Little Otter gave him a dirty look and looking at the brat said something about little ears listening.
Two bits of warship news beginning to emerge this morning. Firstly I hear that the MoD is starting to firm up its plans for what is currently called the Type 32 frigate. It seems it will probably not be a brand new design but more probably a version of the Type 31 frigate. Initially, the build would be for 5 x Type 31 batch 2 frigates, customised for either ASW or AAW something that would be fairly easy given the flexible design of the Type 31s under construction. This would sound like good news for Babcock. Then something that in all the fuss over Owen Paterson and COP26 has slipped under the radar. Bangladesh has announced that while at COP26 they have signed an agreement with the UK for the supply of 5 “warships”, 3 to be built in the UK and the final two to be built in a dockyard in Chattogram. Now they haven’t actually said what size these ships will be, they could be River Class patrol boats, but I have heard that Bangladesh have a preference for frigates, but don’t have the finances for anything as sophisticated as the Type 26. Now, could this be yet another Type 31 deal for Babcock? At this rate they will be looking to build another new construction shed at Rosyth.
As I predicted some time ago I hear that Rolls Royce has put its consortium together and raised the funds that it need to proceed with its small modular reactor project and that this week, possibly as early as tomorrow, the government will announce its backing of the project with its promised funding. I hear the initial plan is to build 4 x 500 MW reactors. The funding Rolls have raised and the government money is intended to take the project to the stage where it has regulatory approval. How construction will be funded is not known, but they are currently estimated at £2 billion each. So that would be £8 billion for 2GW, which makes them cheaper than £20 billion 3.2GW Hinckley Point. I hear that the first unit could be up and running in under a decade. I hope that can be beaten.
I see the latest shortage is Walkers crisps. But this time it has, to the huge disappointment of Remoaners, got absolutely nothing to do with Brexit. It is also nothing to do with Covid either. Interestingly this is all down to Walkers who botched an IT upgrade and has badly slowed down production. Consequently, Walkers are prioritising the production of the favourite brands and flavours, namely cheese and onion, ready salted and salt and vinegar crisps, as well as Quavers and Wotsits. Somehow I suspect that the Remoaners will conflate the IT problem with Brexit.
I hear that Grunt Shatts has had a bicycle accident. It appears we had to go to A&E to get patched up and later has had to have a minor operation on his lip. I hear he was only saved from worse injury by his cycling helmet. Where the accident happened and what was involved is not clear only that it was not in this constituency and that no other vehicle was involved. It sounds like he just fell off. Maybe it was in a pothole, now that would be ironic.
I notice that some Labour MPs have been keeping pretty quiet over the suggestion that all MPs should be banned from having second jobs. Technically it would be a bit difficult to police as for example being a government minister is a second job! Then of cause, there are a number of trained doctors and nurses who need to do a certain amount of work to keep their licences up to date. But then I learn that since becoming an MP Herr Stoma has taken over £100,000 for “legal advice” and what about Lammy, the man who couldn’t see a copper standing behind him, amongst other things he earned £33,000 from LBC last year for presenting a radio program. Hypocrites all of them.
I read that Camel Harris is giving American voters the hump. In fact the latest poll has her as the least popular vice president in 50 years with a disapproval rating of 51.2%. People particularly didn’t like her lack of visibility, having hardly been seen in public recently, and her refusing to visit the border with Mexico after being put in charge of the immigration problem there. Well, it looks like the Democrats have a big problem coming up at the next election with both Sniffer Joe and Camel Harris being seen as unelectable a second time. They then have to think up a plausible excuse for replacing both of them, with Sniffer it’s obvious he’s ga-ga but can that afford to admit that Harris is totally incompetent and they have been in charge for the last four years.
Morning all, not quite so chilly this morning but it’s been raining overnight and the grass is soaking so I have been sticking to the paths. I hate soggy paws.
Another win for your cat reporter, I told you yesterday that Rolls Royce were about to get their investment from the government and go ahead with their small modular reactors. Well, the government has announced a £210 million investment and Rolls are rolling out the project proper. I hope this is a huge success and makes RR a fortune in exports and they employ thousands of people in the UK with UK technology. I’m all for successful British companies.
If you are taking advantage of the recent relaxation in the US Covid travel rules and intend to hire a car from Hertz I understand that you need to be very careful. It seems that a group of several hundred hirers are taking Hertz to court because they have been arrested by traffic cops and spent time in prison, for being in possession of “stolen” cars. People with perfectly valid contracts with Hertz, for the car they were driving, have been arrested at gunpoint and told that Hertz have reported the car as stolen. How could this happen? Well, I understand that US car hire businesses in the US were very badly hit by Covid with a massive reduction in rentals. Hertz alone fired 12,000 employees and put another 4,000 on furlough. Consequently their records went to pot and many people’s payments were just not recorded or were recorded days late. Subsequently “the system” reported the car as stolen. You have been warned.
I have been reading an interesting article about the cost of owning and running an electric car. I’m sure you all appreciate that the basic cost of buying an EV is very much more than the equivalent petrol model. The article compared a petrol Corsa with its electrical sibling. Pointing out that at the moment the manufacturers tend to tell people that an eCorsa only cost 2p a mile to fuel while a petrol model will cost 12p to 21p depending on the engine chosen. Other cheaper things include servicing, taxes and congestion charges. But some things will cost you more like insurance and if like most people you have a PCP that is much more than a petrol equivalent. Overall the running costs of doing 10,000 miles a year are very close, maybe the EV is £5 more expensive! But how long is it going to stay that way? As soon as the government sees its revenue dropping you can bet it will increase the tax and cut out subsidies. Then I hear that the price of lithium is going up, so that means more expensive batteries and more expensive cars. It’s not going to be long before those electric cars are going to cost a lot more.
The Office of the Road and Rail, the industry regulator is not very happy with Network Rail and their reliance on French Alstom and German Siemens. They have been taking 90% of the Network Rail spending on signalling upgrades and also have supplied lots of replacement rolling stock under Siemens own brand and Alstom’s Bombardier brand. The ORR has said heavily hinted that Network Rail should be placing more work with smaller British companies rather than the EU giants and questioning whether they have been conducting fair tendering processes. With 26,000 signals to be upgraded in the near future, estimated to be worth up to £900 million, the ORR could be the friend of smaller British companies.
The Queen took the short helicopter ride from Sandringham back to Windsor this morning and is said to desperately want to attend the Cenotaph for Sunday’s Remembrance service. She and Phil the Greek used to visit Sandringham every Halloween and despite not being well she insisted on keeping up the tradition. So far nothing has been revealed apart from her being told to rest by her doctors. She had special permission from her doctors to fly provided she continued to rest. Mind she is 95 and not many ladies of that age would still be working.
You may well remember a few years ago that various German carmakers got into trouble over installing cheat devices in diesel engines to fiddle emission laws. Today I hear that the ultimate German car maker, Mercedes, has been found out. They have been accused of installing not one but eight defeat devices on it Euro 6 3 litre Blue Tec diesel engine found in its E-Class cars. It would seem that its accusers claim that the engine actually puts out 500 times more NOx than it is supposed to. Are they going to be the company to face huge fines and claims for compensation?
Quite mild this morning but wet again, I hope it stops raining soon as I will be going stir crazy if I can’t get out all day. It looks like Bozzie is going to miss out on getting an ear-bashing at PMQ’s as parliament is closed today and he has gone off to Glasgow (by train) for “Transport Day” at Cop 26. I bet he will be tucking into the free full English served in First Class on the up. I wonder if he will also come back by train as the food served for the rest of the day is not so good? Mind I can see him tucking into the sandwiches and scones with jam and cream that comes as afternoon tea.
I read that there was a surprise for cargo handlers at Hong Kong airport recently. They were busy unloading crates from the regular weekly cargo flight from Singapore when four little kittens appeared. It seems that somehow the 2 black and 2 white kittens had survived the 3-hour flight. It is the Hong Kong Government policy that stray animals arriving on ships and planes are usually put down. But these are such cuddly little things that a huge campaign demanded they should be saved. The kittens are now in quarantine and will eventually be put up for adoption.
I hear that the US Navy have decided to convert their Zumwalt class destroyers into hypersonic missile boats. The ships are somewhat of a white elephant at the moment. The US originally intended to build 30 of this class but have only procured 3. This has resulted in the very special ammunition need for its two guns costing something like $800,000 a round. The special ammunition would have been affordable spread over 30 ships but with the reduced numbers needed for just 3 ships the cost became ridiculous and the guns have been labelled ‘inactive status’. Apparently the plan is to remove the two guns and replace them with 12 missile launch tubes.
There is a bit of a row going on in Barrow market at the moment. Four pianos have been placed in the market for passers-by to play. I understand something similar has been done in some railway terminals. They are quite welcome when the player is any good but clearly that is not always the case and it can be very annoying if the piano player is like Les Dawson! Well, that is the case at the moment. The Barrow market traders are not at all happy with the noise they are having to put up with and are pressing for the pianos to be removed.
Sixty-four years ago the River Thames was declared to be biologically dead by scientists. Today there is a report out, published by the Zoological Society of London, that says several unusual species have returned to the river. They have found the river is now home to seahorses, eels, flounders, seals and several species of shark-like tope and spurdogs. Unfortunately, some non-native species would seem to have hitched rides to London on ships as the zebra mussel, the quagga mussel and the Chinese mitten crab were also found. Of course, the return of fish has led to the return of some birds such as the redshank and avocet.
I have been reading about the 55-year-old terminally ill man who was pounced on by six police officers for mooning a speed camera. The man who is working his way through a bucket list before he dies was arrested in his back garden and thrown to the ground and knelt on during the arrest, despite him using a stick in his garden and putting up no resistance. The man needs a walking frame to get out of bed and needs a wheelchair to get around out of the house.
I have been hearing a little more about the farce that is the order for two new ferries for Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd which are to replace very old ferries to the Scottishland islands. There has been a lot of chat about how the order was placed, the ferries workmanship and its costs. But I hear one of the biggest problems with the boats is that the ships have been specified to use both fuel oil and LNG, but these are really quite small ships and the infrastructure needed for LNG is pretty large. Hence it is very difficult to squeeze into a small ferry, especially when you also have to make space for diesel engines. In addition LNG is not available in the islands. It looks to me that someone was trying to get brownie points for specifying ‘green’ LNG and didn’t understand the problems.
Another day when it is a tad warmer than the day before. At least it is dry this morning, even if there is a lot of cloud about. Bozzie got home earlier from COP yesterday than the Little Otter expected, announced he was starving and asked what was for tea. He didn’t fancy the fried tofu and salad that LO had in the fridge and got a KFC bucket and fries from Deliveroo. Everyone tucked in and I even got some of the leftovers. Thank god the Abbotpotamus never made it to No. 10, there would never be any leftovers and I suspect I would even have to keep an eye on my food bowl.
I loved the pictures coming out of COP26 today of the broken down electric bus. I am not sure if it suffered a mechanical failure or just ran out of charge. Whichever it was it was getting towed away by a diesel-powered breakdown vehicle. Also, it was ‘transport’ day and the government announced a ban on ICE engined HGV’s up to 26 tonnes (except those used by the Army and emergency services). What does this actually mean? Well all those articulated lorries are 40 tons so it doesn’t affect them and Army tanks are 75 tonnes (fully armoured) so they are not affected. It is only the smaller trucks that are affected.
The US has reactivated the 56th Artillery Command in Germany this week. What is interesting here is that this unit used to be armed with mobile nuclear missiles and was stood down are the Cold War ended. Now I hear the reactivated unit is to be armed with a hypersonic missile that travels faster than 3850 mph. The missiles are fired to the edge of space and the unpowered re-entry vehicles fall under gravity onto their target but are steerable. The reason the unit is in Germany is that it is in range of Moscow.
I hear that 3 MP’s got absolutely bladdered on a trip to Gibraltar to visit troops. Two SNP MPs were so bad they had to be helped off the plane and one Labour MP had to be taken off the plane in a wheelchair! This is only a short flight, so I guess the MP’s must have been knocking it back in the executive lounge before the flight. How they ever were allowed on the plane in the first place beats me, but these were MPs so the rules must be different. If this had been tourists the police would have been there to meet the plane and they would have been arrested.
I read that the latest version of the Rolls Royce MT30 (marine turbine) yesterday reached its design power output of 40MW for the first time. The MT 30 is the marine version of the Rolls Royce Trent aero engine and is currently in use in 7 series of warships including the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier. This latest version is for the Japanese Mogami-Class frigate and should be able to push the ship up to 40 knots.
The train leasing company Eversholt has signed a memorandum of understanding with Alstom to design and build 10 x 3 car hydrogen-powered multiple units. The trains will be based on the Alstom Aventra platform and built in the UK. However, no purchase prices or running costs have been mentioned, neither has a potential operator. However, I do wonder where the hydrogen is planned to come from?
So I see that Marcus Rashford has joined up with Kevin the Carrot in this year’s Aldi Christmas advertisement. Rashford has become Radishford, a little round radish who according to baddie Ebanana Scrooge is “always doing good for children”. I wonder if Rashford is ready to be pelted with radishes by opposing fans every time he appears on the field?
A nasty drizzle this morning, you know the sort that looks like it is nothing but if you go out in it your fur gets soaking wet? Bozzie was chuckling at breakfast because firstly someone on the radio said he should get that woman who is being held in Iran back. He pointed out to the Little Otter that they were a foreign country and he had absolutely no control over them. Then Wee Krankie wants him to go back to Glasgow to sort out an agreement on COP OUT 26. How that stupid woman expects him to get over 200 countries to agree on anything beats me.
Yesterday a record 1,000 illegal immigrants made it across the channel from France taking the total so far this year to over 23,000. I can’t believe that the French didn’t see 1,000 people gathering on the beach to be transported. With us paying them to put on extra patrols I think they are taking the Mickey. The pictures I saw seem to show the boats they are using are getting bigger and bigger. It must be a very lucrative process for the people smugglers packing 50 people on an inflatable and charging them £2,000 a person. I wonder if they are paying the French border authorities a backhander?
I read that AstraZeneca are going to start making a profit on the Covid 19 vaccine. Up until now they have sold 1.5 billion doses at the cost price of $4-5 a shot, depending on where it was made. The lowest anyone else has been charging is $10 (Johnson & Johnson and Sputnik V). The normal profit margin on a vaccine is 20%, but AZ have said they will not be charging that much. But if they did 20% of $4-5 is still only $4.80c to $6 still much less than anyone else. The Pfizer jab is about $19 a shot. I guess some people are making a lot of money out of Covid. Oh, AZ have said this is for new contracts only and that they will continue to sell to Covax at cost.
I hear that the International Space Station has had to increase its orbit slightly to avoid colliding with a chunk of space junk. The Russian service module that was attached fired its main engine and nudged the ISS into a slightly higher orbit to avoid a bit leftover from China’s Fengyun-1C weather satellite. It was estimated that without the move the junk would pass within 600 metres of the ISS but with the boost pushing it up another 1240 metres, it missed by about 2 km.
Sniffer Joe referring to a black American sportsman twice as a “negro”, reaction in the media nothing, zilch, nada. Can you imagine the headlines in the Washington Post if President Trump had said that? He would have been the worst racist ever to walk the Earth. There would have been editorials and phone-ins. The woke Democrats wouldn’t have let it drop for months. But because it’s Sniffer it is dismissed as a slip up by a senile old fool. Maybe, but a racist senile old fool who has his finger on the nuclear button.
I have been enjoying the appeal of the court case the Mail lost over the leaked letter the Duchess of Netflix wrote to her “dear daddy”. It seems that in her own words, “the letter was carefully crafted,” and the wording reviewed by staff before being sent, because she expected it to be leaked. Even calling her father “daddy” was discussed as it was likely to “pull on the public’s heartstrings”. Then it emerges that she lied to the court over “that book” that was so sympathetic to her. She said she had nothing to do with its contents but it seems that she forgot that she briefed her assistant ‘Jason Knauf’ what to say in a meeting with the authors and in several e-mails the Mail has secured. Courts don’t take kindly to being misled.
The name of the new British Airways cheap Gatwick based airline leaked out today. British Airways registered the name BA EuroFlyer with companies house and some bright journalist spotted it. It is similar to the name BA CityFlyer that is the airline name it uses for flights out of the London City Airport in Dockland. If the new airline operates in the same way as the CityFlyer it will use the standard BA livery and uniforms.
Good morning all, it’s not raining and it’s mild, not bad for November. The family is missing again so I can have a nice peaceful weekend ahead with no Brat trying to grab my tail!
I hear that the tram network in Birmingham is in serious trouble. Only 5 years after starting up, the trams have not been running down Corporation Street for months because all the track has had to be replaced. The work was completed 2 weeks ago but there is still no date for the renewed track to be put back into service. But yesterday it got much worse, several of the tram cars were found to have cracks and all services have been cancelled for at least 4 weeks. I feel sorry for all those people who will now be struggling to get work.
A headline on TV, radio and papers this morning saying we are sending troops to Poland to help defend the border with Belarus against immigrants. So I looked to see how many soldiers we are sending, is it a company, a regiment, a division? Well, I had to dig pretty deep to find the answer, it’s actually 10 and these are termed as ‘specialists’. I wonder if they are ‘specialists’ in border control why they are not needed on the south coast.
I read that the Balfour Beatty Vinci joint venture that is building the West Midlands section of HS2 is looking for hundreds of workers. They have been advertising in the West Midlands press for all sorts of staff ranging from apprentices to skilled people and office staff. They say that they are happy to take people off the unemployment register and train them. I seem to be reading about lots of employers who are looking for employees, perhaps they can train some of the care workers who haven’t been jabbed!
With all the boat people arriving on the south coast this week I understand Border Farce have had problems finding accommodation for them and feeding them. Firstly they had to lease a huge marquee to accommodate them that while keeping them dry did nothing to keep them warm. Then with up to 1200 arriving on a single day they had to somehow feed them all. So what did they do? They purchased 3,000 takeaway chicken kebabs from 4 different restaurants and 1,000 pizzas from Domino’s. I hear the kebabs alone cost £14.50p each!
What is going on at Tesla? They have put the price of their cars up multiple times this year. For example, in the United States, the Model Y has just increased in price by $1,000 but this was its eighth price increase this year. In total, the cost of a Model Y has gone up by just $10 short of $9,000 this year or very nearly 20%. I always thought that Tesla’s were expensive but this is ridiculous.
I know a lot of you think football is a game for overpaid fairies so I wondered whether to relate this tale to you or not, but here goes anyway. The word on the street is that the bidding for the next round of Premiership TV coverage in the US is hotting up. The current rights holders are NBC and they paid around £1 billion for them. Such is the popularity of English football in the US that for the next round of rights they have been joined in the bidding by CBS and ESPN. I hear the bidding has already got up to £1.5 billion, meaning more money for the Premiership teams.
That’s it for another week. Like last week, I’m off to see if Bozzie’s bedroom door is open. I got away with it last week and I fancy another comfy sleep on his bed before dinner. It’s my lazy day tomorrow so I will be back reporting on Monday.