Morning all, still fairly mild but pretty damp underfoot. Gosh, it didn’t half rain hard last night. I was having a nice dream about big bowls of Felix Chicken when the downpour interrupted it. Still, it didn’t last too long and I went back to sleep but the dream was over.
I read that the Chinese 5th generation stealth fighter, the J20, is to receive a new domestically produced engine, the WS-10. The Chinese claim that the plane has been held back by its imported Russian engine and with the new engine will be able to fly higher and operate in colder and more humid conditions. But will this make it equal or better than the west’s F35? I fear not as it is reported that domestically developed avionics, radar and weapon systems are said to be vastly inferior to the F35’s. The Chinese say that doesn’t matter as they will flood the air with huge numbers of the J20. But does this matter when the F35’s long-distance passive sensors can target the J20 before the Chinese Jet even knows it’s been identified?
This morning’s big news is that Bozzie has been given the Sue Gray report and is going to make a statement to the Commons at 15:30 this afternoon. It will be interesting to see if she has cut much out, as requested by the Met Police, or it is comprehensive? I will try and watch on the office TV and report later.
Western Power Distribution, who distribute electricity to the Midlands, South Wales and the South West have come out with a statement that I suspect most of you readers already knew. They have said that the power supply to most homes is going to have to be upgraded as we move to the electric charging of vehicles and to heat pumps. A simple upgrade to support a supply of 80 to 100 amps is likely to cost several hundred pounds, while if you want a fast charger for your EV then you will probably need a 3 phase supply which can cost around £15,000 a house. This can be even more if several houses on an estate are supplied by a ‘loop’ and it has to be separated. The other problem they pointed out is that to reach “net zero” by 2030 there will need to be around 1,000,000 new EV registrations and 600,000 heat pumps a year. This equates to an impossible 2,000 installations a day.
The Gray report seems to have been cut back by the police so much that it says next to nothing. Both Stoma and the fat Jock have tried to get Bozzie to resign. However, the best bit was the Jock raving about Bozzie being a liar and misleading the House and getting slung out. Stoma went on about a criminal investigation, surely he is a lawyer should know that this is not a criminal offence but a civil one.
The Labour MP Rosie Duffield has threatened to quit the Labour Party over what she calls continuing harassment from both current and past party members. She said that Kier Stoma has failed to protect her from party activists. She has been targeted ever since she spoke out about trans rights. She has recently been attacked by a fellow MP who claimed she had moved away from her Canterbury constituency over 200 miles to Wrexham where her documentary-maker boyfriend lives. A story she is reported as calling “personal, libellous, nasty and fictional crap”. Labour were delighted when she won Canterbury against all expectations, you would think they would do everything to hang on to her.
Do you remember that after the watered-down resolution on coal that India and China forced at COP 26 the UN declared coal had been “consigned to history”? Well this doesn’t seem to be happening. The world coal market is actually booming and the price for thermal coal (as used in power stations) hit $244 a metric ton last week, while metallurgical coal (as used in steelmaking) hit $400 a metric ton, a record high. Last year a record amount of coal was burnt in the world’s power stations and that is set to increase this year. Interestingly I hear that certain major investors have been putting pressure on miners not to open new pits, pushing up the price of coal coming from the pits they already own.
Yah, no frost this morning, it actually feels a bit warmer this morning. Mind it’s only February and we could easily still see the hated snow. Bozzie was rushing around a bit this morning as I understand he is off to somewhere called the Ukraine to stand in the way of a Russian bear. Good luck to that, I wouldn’t even stand in the way of a koala bear.
So Liz Truss has tested positive for Covid but says she has no symptoms, has been fully jabbed and intends to work from home. I think that might be a bit difficult for the foreign secretary who was supposed to be off to the Ukraine with Bozzie today. If I had been sat next to her in the commons like Savid Jabbed and Pretty Petal I would be a little bothered and testing regularly.
It seems that Whoopie Goldberg thinks that the Holocaust had nothing to do with racism and was all about white men fighting each other. Has she never read anything about the Second World War? It was Hitler’s view that the Germans were the master race and nearly everyone else in the world was inferior. He was said to believe that some other white nations weren’t too bad. He is even said to have wanted an alliance with Britain as he considered them “nearly” as good as Germans. But he did have millions of other races carted off to his extermination camps. I assume Goldberg (real name Johnson) thinks that it’s because they weren’t black, killing Jews, Gypsies and Russians wasn’t racist. It seems that many black people think you can only be racist to black people.
An ex-royal chef has revealed that HM the Queen doesn’t eat “pointy” food. I wondered if that meant she wouldn’t eat whole carrots or parsnips but they weren’t mentioned. What the article did say was that she was never served square or triangular sandwiches they had to be round. For afternoon tea she apparently likes round scones, with jam and cream to go with her round sandwiches. She is also supposed to be a chocoholic and adores chocolate cake, but does she eat a wedge-shaped slices or insist it is cut into rounds?
I heard Nick Fararri muttering about Bozzie being so awful why would anyone want to invest in the UK, continuing if Guinness want a new brewery they will build it in Dublin and not in London. Strangely I have just read an article that says today Guinness have announced a £73 million development in Old Brewer’s Yard, Covent Garden. The 50,000 sq ft Guinness complex is going to include a microbrewery, a restaurant, a gift shop and an event space. How odd that Guinness is building a new brewery in London.
Micheal O’Leary has been having another pop at Boeing. He says although his airline, RyanAir, is happy with the Boeing 737-Max 8’s they have received they are still not happy with Boeing. He said, passenger satisfaction was high, fuel consumption was beating earlier models by over 16% and the planes were meeting the promised 40% noise reduction. What he is not happy about seems to be that Boeing will not meet the price he wants to pay for the Max 10. Oddly he said this on the same day that Qatar signed an MOU for 25 737 Max 10’s and took 25 further options, but then they had no other option as their order for 50 A321neo’s had been cancelled by Airbus. However, I understand that the problem Boeing has is that it has a 250 plane contract with Southwest Airlines that says if they sell anyone 737’s for less than they are paying, Boeing will refund the difference and that is just what O’Leary wants.
Finally for today, a spy story. At the moment seven national Winter Olympic Associations have warned their athletes not to take their own electronic devices with them to the Winter Olympics in Beijing. In fact, the British Olympic Association have gone one step further and have offered British competitors temporary items like burner phones they can dispose of once they leave China. It seems that the intelligence services have warned that the Chinese are in the habit of using software to follow the movement of visitors, to read their texts and emails and to search for trigger words on phones and laptops. I wonder if the Chinese are spying on Larry’s Diary?
Back to a frost this morning, but the sun has now come out so I might find a sheltered spot in a corner of the garden to enjoy it. Bozzie was almost asleep over his breakfast this morning. He was complaining that travelling was tiring and he had been to the Ukraine and back yesterday. I wouldn’t really know as the farthest I go is the vet.
Big row in the media over Bozzie saying Stoma failed, as head of the CPS, to prosecute Jimmy Saville. Stoma says it was his underlings what did it, but he apologised for not prosecuting Seville on several occasions. If Stoma goes down this path, of blaming others, surely he can’t then dismiss Bozzie when he says that Partygate was mostly the actions of civil serpents.
So EV’s are now being said to be not as green as the makers claim. I have long been seeing reports that the lifetime emissions of an EV were equal to those of a petrol or diesel car. This is because you have to take into account the emissions caused by mining the rare earth minerals needed in the batteries, the manufacturing process and the dismantling and recycling at the end of life. Up to now, it has been accepted that what is called the tailpipe emissions of an EV are lower than an ICE. However, it has now been pointed out that because an EV is 40% to 60% heavier than an ICE car the micro-particles they produce are far worse. What are micro-particles I hear you ask? Well, they are the tiny bits that wear off brakes, tyres and roads and are said to be capable of causing cancer when breathed into the lungs. They come off all motor vehicles but the heavier it is the worse it is.
The Russian have another two warships transiting the English Channel this morning. As usual, they are being escorted by NATO warships. Today it is the Russian corvettes the Soobrazitelniy and the Stoykiy and for once they are being escorted by ships more powerful than them. We only ever seem to be able to escort Russian warships with a single frigate, no matter how big the Russian ships and how many of them there are. This time HMS Argyle, a Type 23 frigate and USS Roosevelt, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile Destroyer are in attendance.
I hear that Marks and Spencer and Aldi have ended the caterpillar wars without it finally going to court. M&S claimed their Colin the Caterpillar was the original chocolate caterpillar children’s birthday cake and that the Aldi version, Cuthbert the Caterpillar, was a rip off copy. It seems that, in an agreement between the two companies, Cuthbert has been removed from the Aldi shelves, but could return in a reformulate state. 1-0 to Colin.
Apparently, Sad Dick is costing London a fortune. His city is currently short of £1.5 billion in finance. To try to close the gap he is threatening to close the Tube on some days and close bridges. It also looks like his pet plans for more walking and cycling schemes are also going to be put on hold, he has plans to charge motorists an extra £300 million a year. It does raise the question of why there is such a huge financial problem in London while other cities have had problems, but nowhere anything like so bad. Could it be that when Covid hit the funds coming in from the Tube and the buses he didn’t cut back on expenditure? He continued to spend money on new cycle lanes, “safe streets”, low traffic zones and a milliard of other ‘green’ schemes without a thought of where the money was coming from. It sounds just like Kier Stoma.
I was delighted to see a bit of swift justice this morning. Five Insult Britain activists were jailed this morning for their activities. The five had previously been found guilty of offences and prohibited from disrupting things for a period, but stupidly they glued themselves to steps of the High Court on Tuesday morning. The judges take a dim view of people breaching court orders and the five-second offenders were up in court this morning. They got between 24 and 42 days in jail. A second group of first offenders were given sentences of between 24 and 60 days suspended for two years. I wonder if seeing the first group’s suspended sentences activated will act as a deterrent to the second batch.
Today it seems to be a light drizzle, just enough to make my fur damp. I shall only be going out if I have to. This whole Partygate business seems to drag on. Some days Bozzie is up and some days he is down, today seems to be in the middle! He was muttering about the Northern Island protocol over breakfast and although he didn’t say as much I got the distinct suspicion that he agreed with the NI agriculture minister’s stance on stopping lorries coming over on the ferry. The fact that he is just letting them get on with it seems to back up my view.
This morning it has been announced by BritishVolt that, in addition to their Blythe Gigafactory for EV batteries, they are forming a joint venture with the mining giant Glencore to recycle used EV batteries. The plant, to be built in Northfleet in Kent, will strip the batteries down and extract the component materials such as lithium, nickel, manganese and cobalt all of which are rare and expensive to mine. The factory is going to be capable of processing 10,000 tonnes of EV batteries a year and is supposed to be powered completely by solar and wind power.
If you are a lover of KP Nuts you need to make sure you buy them now as it looks like they are going to be in short supply very soon. KP Snacks has been subject to a ransomware attack and consequently has had to close down its ordering system affecting, among other things, Hula Hoops, McCoy’s and Tyrrells Crisps, Butterkist Popcorn, Skips, Nik Naks and KP Nuts. They expect to have problems until the end of next month. The company has had a demand for a large sum of money in exchange for unlocking its systems and not releasing stolen data on the internet.
The French have taken a new line on Covid vaccination for visitors. They have decided to ban any traveller who has been double jabbed more than six months ago instead of demanding that those people have had a booster jab. It looks like anyone travelling to France at half term is going to have to think very carefully about their vaccination status. I wonder how long it will be before other countries also insist on a booster or maybe even two boosters.
I mentioned yesterday that TfL were so short of money they were threatening to shut some bridges. I now hear that the structures threatened include the A40 Westway, Rotherhithe Tunnel, Gallows Corner Flyover, Brent Cross Flyover, Vauxhall Bridge and the Croydon Flyover. You may have noticed that the list includes a tunnel. It seems that the council doesn’t have the money to pay for the vital repairs necessary for these bits of infrastructure and for safety reasons they may well have to close them rather than use them in an unsafe condition. TfL’s current funding package runs out tomorrow and Sad Dick says they need an injection of £2 billion.
In Qatar Airways, Boeing has found a launch customer for its 777-8 Freighter. Qatar, as explained a couple of days ago, has rushed into Boeing’s arms on the rebound from Airbus. I expect Boeing are delighted to have a new launch customer willing to buy 34 planes for $20 billion but it does make me wonder how much less 34 Airbus A350 Freighters would have cost them. However this isn’t all good news for Boeing, firstly they have picked up a customer who is a very picky customer, secondly they are now going to prioritise the 777-8 Freighter over the passenger version and finally they have to commit hard cash to producing what is currently a paper aeroplane. This is at a time when they are haemorrhaging cash on the 787 programme.
A bit more news has emerged about BritishVolt. I read that they have come to an agreement with Lotus Cars to design and build a specific battery for the proposed Lotus Type 135, the first Lotus EV. The Type 135 is a two-seater sports car that, in the sketches so far released, looks very much like the Lotus Esprit that appeared in The Spy Who Loved Me where it turned into a submarine. Lotus say that this will be the first in a series of electric sports cars.
Today it is colder and wet again, another day to stay indoors I think. Bozzie was not happy with the MSM this morning. He wanted to know why they were implying that staff were walking out of Number 10 when he had asked for their resignations. The Little Otter said it’s because they believe every word that Dom says and are all Remainers.
Apparently, the Home Office is paying £4.7 million a day housing illegal immigrants in hotels. Just how many people does this relate to, well 25,000 are ‘asylum seekers’ and 12,000 are Afghan refugees. This equates to £1.7 billion a year and the number of boat people coming over the channel is going up every month. I keep being told that these people don’t cost the economy anything as they contribute more to it than they take out. I really can’t see how paying for 25,000 in hotels is contributing to the economy.
MP’s on the Transport Select Committee have come up with what I have known for years, they said that as electric vehicles sales are now picking up the government is going to have to look at new ways of raising tax revenue. At the moment the tax paid by a motorist driving an internal combustion-engined vehicle is enormous. VAT and car tax on the original sale, the road tax and fuel tax with VAT bring in £35 billion annually. Not to mention the money local authorities get from fines, parking and congestion charges and their like. EV’s are currently immune from many of these extras, so that is going to have to change as government and councils can’t afford to lose so much income. My guess is that we are all going to have to get used to road use charging with a charge per mile driven or per minute driven, thus removing the cost from fuel and putting it on all vehicles much to the disappointment of EV owners who think they have got away with it.
I hear that the Hinckley Point ‘C’ reactor No 1 has been cleared to start its mechanical fit-out. The vast civil works have now reached a stage where the electrical, mechanical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning guys can start getting involved. In a short while 4,000 fitters, welders, electricians etc. from Balfour Beatty Bailey, Doosan Babcock, Cavendish and Altrad will all begin beavering away. Over the next 3 years, they will be fitting out over 4,000 rooms with 380km of pipework, 20,000 valves, with thousands of welds and associated radiography, and 9000 km of cabling. Then they will have to do it all over again for reactor No 2!
Citroen have announced that production of the C1 has been discontinued. The car was made at the Kolin plant in the Czech Republic that it owned jointly with Toyota who will now take full ownership of the plant. The car has been in production since 2014 and has sold well over a million models. Citroen say they will be not be bringing out an immediate replacement model, but will instead launch a special version of the C3 which will have a better fit out and be cheaper than the top of the range C1.
When Covid struck and people stopped travelling the airlines were one of the first to suffer. Nearly all of them withdrew the huge Airbus A380 from service as they just couldn’t operate them economically. They had been money-spinners for the likes of British Airways who used them to the US and Australia where they could guarantee a high load factor but they were replaced by smaller planes that flew less often and could still make money. BA put all 12 of their A380’s into storage in the Spanish dessert. I now understand that 6 are back in full service, 3 are in heavy maintenance in Manila and the remaining 3 are still in storage. With the recent travel announcements, I wonder how long it will be before those last 3 will be back in service.
Have you heard the story of ‘Half Dead Dave’ the Plumber? It seems that the 69-year-old had worked for a company for 9 years and because he was much older than the other employees both the other staff and the bosses gave him the nickname. When the company lost a £650,000 contract Dave was sacked. At 69 he was too old to be made redundant. So Dave consulted a solicitor and took the company to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal where he won a £25,000 pay out. At the tribunal, the company produced a chart which supposedly showed marks for such things as attendance, qualifications, attitude, ability, etc. It was thrown out by the tribunal as have been made up in the last couple of days as it had never been seen or mentioned prior to going to court. As he was due to retire shortly Dave was awarded £10,000 for loss of earnings, £8,000 for discrimination and £7,000 for the name calling.
At least it’s dry this morning, but frosty again. But the sun is out, so I might pop out later when the frost has melted. Bozzie has disappeared again, I guess he’s gone to Chequers, so I can’t tell you what he thinks about another letter going in.
Sad Dick’s Transport for London has managed to escape again. The government has agreed to extend the current deal for two more weeks saving them from collapsing while further discussions on their funding takes place. On Thursday, TfL announced that they were cutting all “uncommitted” funding from its so-called “healthy streets” campaign, not proceeding with several proposed walking and cycling schemes and saving £500 million.
A huge carpet of 100,000 dead fish have been found floating in the Atlantic off of La Rochelle. The French ‘green’ group Sea Shepard say the fish have been illegally dumped by the Dutch super trawler FV Margiris which is the world’s second-biggest trawler. The fish are blue whiting, not one of the most precious catches as they are usually made into fish oil or fish meal. Sea Shepard have suggested that the Margiris couldn’t be bothered to process them on board the freezer ship when they were catching more expensive fish so they dumped them. The dumping process is illegal under EU fishing rules. The owners of the Margiris say that the fishing net split open. Data shows the ship is still fishing in the same area, which is a little odd if its net had ruptured as the owners claim.
The official receiver is suing accountants KPMG for £1.3 million over the collapse of the contractors Carillion. KPMG had been Carillion’s accountants for 19 years prior to their collapse. The Official Receiver claims that KPMG were negligent in not spotting misstatements in the Carillion accounts. The lawsuit claims that Carillion misvalued major contracts in 2014, ‘15 and ‘16 resulting in an £800 million error in the accounts which KPMG should have spotted. I await the court case with interest.
I find it interesting that following the regulator’s approval of the Novavax Covid vaccine for use in the UK it has been revealed that the government has an order for 60,000,000 doses for delivery this year. What is interesting is that is enough for a single dose for all UK adults. As I understand that it is considerably cheaper than both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and equally as effective against the o’micron variety as they are. Could we be seeing the next booster jab?
The word is that the ex-England footballer and manager of Derby County, Wayne Rooney, has been banned from going out on his own by his long-suffering wife. Apparently, she is sick and tired of his antics particularly when he is drunk. It is understood that she doesn’t trust the mates he goes out with and wants a responsible adult to chaperone him. She would prefer the chaperone to be Wayne’s brother Joe but it could be anyone else she trusts. Perhaps Wayne should learn that all his problems come from his drinking.
Following Middlesbrough’s surprise FA Cup win over Manchester United on Friday evening a Middlesbrough supporter has been arrested for ‘child neglect’. Apparently he left his 11-year-old son asleep in his hotel room while he went out for a celebrity drink. The police were called, the man arrested and the mother called to drive from the Northeast to collect the child. What I don’t understand is if the boy was asleep who knew the boy was alone and called the police?
That’s me done for another week. As the sun is still out I am off to see if I can find a warm spot in the garden for my afternoon snooze. Chat to you all again on Monday.
© WorthingGooner 2022