Another week starts with sunshine and warmth, is it going to last? I hope so! Bozzie said it’s summer so he didn’t want porridge for breakfast. The Little Otter gave him a bowl of Rice Krispies instead but wouldn’t let him put sugar on them, only semi-skimmed milk. You should have heard him moan! She said he could have some of the Brat’s blueberries which made things worse. He wandered off to his office muttering about bacon sandwiches!
I hear that EasyJet have, like many airlines, been suffering from staff shortages. This is very much a self-inflicted problem as they laid off so many aircrew that now passengers are returning and the airlines have scheduled additional flights they are short of cabin crew. EasyJet have found a neat trick for their 128 strong fleet of Airbus A319 aircraft. These planes officially have 156 seats in rows of 6 across the cabin. The rules say they need 1 cabin crew per 50 seats so that means 4 for this aircraft type. But EasyJet have realised that if they take out the rear row of 6 seats they only need 3 cabin crew, that is a saving of 128 cabin crew that can be redeployed and help reduce cancellations.
In another story, related to the last, it seems that the airlines have been struggling to get the necessary security clearances on new starts, apparently due to ‘working from home’. If someone gets through the selection programme for cabin crew they cannot start training until they pass the security check so this has been delaying things considerably. This morning I hear that Grunt Shatts has changed the rules so that an airline can apply for the security clearance even before the training starts in hope that, as soon as someone passes, their security pass will have arrived and they can start flying immediately.
I hear that Rolls-Royce are convinced that they are going to get a license for their Small Modular Reactors and are pushing ahead with preparations. They are looking for a site to manufacture the reactors and have so far been approached by over 200 possibilities! In addition RR have launched a huge recruitment drive in an attempt to add 500 employees to their SME business over the next 12 months taking employees to around 700. The SME division currently employs about 50 people and intends to transfer another 150 employees from the main company. RR say they intend to add 400 of the 500 this year so they must be very hopeful.
I watched a bit of the big Victory Day parade and Poo Tin’s speech from Red Square on the TV this morning. I don’t think the man is very well, he looked very drawn and at the same time his face was very puffy. His speech was quite short and said virtually nothing new. What I did find interesting was that the military parade was cut back to about 1/3rd of its previous size this year. Was it because Poo Tin is not well and can’t stand around for long, like our Queen, or is it because so much of the military is tied up in Ukraine.
More news about Captain Hindsight and Beer and Currygate emerged yesterday. The Mail on Sunday got its hands on a Leader of the Opposition document detailing the timetable for the day of the infamous ‘party’. It clearly shows the meal was planned in advance with it timetabled to last from 20:40 until 22:00 and then to return to the hotel. Unlike his earlier announcement when he claimed, “We were hungry so we ordered a curry,” it now appears that it was planned and ordered in advance. Not only that, I hear that as soon as he had finished eating, Stoma got a lift back to his hotel with the Met Police protection squad leaving others behind to get tiddly. This morning he has cancelled a major speech on the eve of the Queen’s Speech, rather than answer questions.
Following the Moggy visiting various government departments to check on the number of staff in work rather than working from home, I hear that workers in the Treasury have been told that their attendance is being monitored. Nearly all government offices have access gates that need a pass being swiped to allow access. Now I hear that managers have warned staff that the software that controls the access gates is being used to produce attendance records. Although staff have not been specifically told they will be in trouble if they do not spend more time in the office, it was clearly implied.
Well the sunshine has gone again, it is still mild but there is rain in the air. Bozzie has one of his best suits on this morning as it’s the State Opening of Parliament. I am very sorry to see that the Queen will not be able to take part as she is reported to be having ‘mobility difficulties’. Instead, Charlie Big Ears will be reading the speech. The discussion over breakfast was Stoma’s hypocrisy and could Bozzie keep a straight face when they walked side by side into the Lords?
P&O Ferries have managed to get another Ferry back into service on the Dover To Calais route. This time the Pride of Kent has passed an inspection and joins five other ferries that have passed inspections. Mind you it only took 4 inspections for the Pride of Kent to be allowed to return to work after racking up 47 faults the most ever recorded. That leaves just two P&O ferries to pass inspections. I understand that neither ship has yet requested an inspection nearly two months after their British crews were sacked. They must be losing P&O Ferries a fortune.
I heard someone on the radio this morning wittering on about how battery electric vehicle sales so far this year were double those of the same period last year and what magnificent progress this was. So I looked up the numbers. Yes, the number of new BEV’s has gone up but only from 6.5% last year to 10.8 %, that’s not double, that’s about 50%. But then when you look at it nearly 90% of sales include a petrol or diesel engine in some form with many more hybrids being bought. We have a long way to go in getting rid of the internal combustion engine.
The chaos caused by the closure of the Bank section of the Northern Line is finally to come to an end on Monday morning with the reopening of Bank Station and the full city branch service. But not before Transport for London messes up one last weekend with the wider closure of the Northern Line between Euston and Stockwell (via Bank) on Saturday and Sunday. I must say it is nice to see TfL deliver a project on time and on budget, but I do wonder how long it will be before we see any more big projects as TfL are effectively broke.
A big step forward today in the Dreadnought nuclear submarine programme. The Ministry of Defence has announced that it has placed contracts valued at £3 billion in what it calls Delivery Phase 3 (DP3) which should see the first of the four nuclear missile submarines, HMS Dreadnought, enter ifs sea trials. I believe the big winners here are BAe Systems, Rolls Royce and Raytheon but there is much more spending to come as this is a £10 billion programme.
An interesting bit of news from GCHQ today. It seems that hackers working for the National Cyber Force have hacked into criminals’ computers and destroyed hundreds of thousands of stolen credit card records. They say this should save tens of millions of pounds in potential fraud. This is an example of ‘White Hat Hackers’ using their skills legally. I wonder how much a White Hat is paid? Do they make more money being legal rather than illegal? I suppose the advantage is they get to do something they enjoy, get paid for it, and have no risk of going to prison if they are discovered.
This weekend is that annual jamboree, the Eurovision Song Contest. By the time you read this, the winner will be known and I wouldn’t mind betting it will be Ukraine. No matter how good or bad their song and performance they are going to get the sympathy vote from just about everyone. I think you should all look at who comes second as they would probably have won in a normal year. I also understand that our entry is a bit better this year and has a good chance of not finishing bottom with ‘Nil Points’.
Another grey but mild morning. My breakfast Felix was up early this morning as Bozzie was off on one of his ‘flying visits’. This time he was off to Sweden and Finland to chat with them about the Ukraine and them joining NATO. I heard him telling the Little Otter that the Finns have one of the biggest armies in Europe because they still have conscription. He tucked into a bowl of porridge and a boiled egg. Then, when the Little Otter wasn’t watching, he winked at me and said that was just a starter and he was looking forward to a decent RAF breakfast.
I like watching those air crash investigation programmes on the TV if I get a chance. But I have been reading about an incident that happened in France last month. An Air France Boeing 777 flight from New York was about to land in Paris when the crew reported that the plane wasn’t responding to its controls, resulting in a go-around. I hear that the French investigators, the BEA, have looked at the black box and listened to the cockpit voice recorder and have said that all the systems on the plane were working normally. But what they have found is that the two pilots were not communicating with each other and were putting commands into the plane that contradicted each other. For example, the captain put the plane’s nose down while the co-pilot was trying to pull the nose up! Various other things happened and the plane landed up at one stage skewed by 8°. It looks like a clear case of pilot error.
I hear that a new comedy channel has just launched on Freeview TV. Twisted Mirror is going out on Freeview Channel 271 and offers a range of films, series and stand-up comedy. Apparently, they have the rights to show old episodes of Everyone Loves Chris Rock, Adam Sandler: Funny Guy and Al Murray: Pub Landlord. I am not very excited by that line-up.
The media this morning is saying that the Ukrainian military has driven the Russians back from a village around Kharkiv and the city is now firmly in their control. I don’t know if this is right or just more propaganda but I suspect we will find out soon if reporters visit regained areas. I have been wondering how much impact the 155mm Howitzers that the Ukraine have been receiving have made? Before the Ukraine had these weapons the Russians were using their heavy weapons with impunity, now I hear these new Howitzers outrange the Russian guns by five or so miles.
I see the Green minority council in Brighton and Hove are buying four new bin lorries. But being Greens these are no ordinary bin lorries, they are side-loading electric bin lorries and they will have to be used in the city centre because they have a limited range. They will be used there to empty the 3,200-litre commercial bins. But what is the cost of these new toys? Well, I understand they will cost £580,000 each as opposed to £325,000 each for the diesel equivalent which is not limited to the city centre. Brighton & Hove council have a fleet of over 400 vehicles and a ten-year plan to replace them all with either electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles, at hundreds or thousands of pounds each extra. This is what you get from a Green minority council supported by Labour.
It seems that Airbus has recently completed a review of its orders and customer requirements and have consequently decided to increase the number of aircraft it manufactures. It is to increase the number of A320 family aircraft to 65 a month by summer 2023 and to 75 a month by 2025. To do this Airbus has to firstly get its suppliers to manufacture more parts and then to increase its own assembly capacity. This is more easily said than done, as many of the suppliers need substantial investment to increase their capacity and this may fall on Airbus. But I was delighted to read that Airbus want to hire another 450 plus employees at its Broughton plant where it manufactures the wings for all its models.
I hear that later this summer the U.K. is due to launch a pair of satellites from Newquay in Cornwall. The small “shoebox” size satellites are due to be loaded on a rocket that will be carried up under a specially adapted Virgin 747 to 35,000 feet, where it will be released. The rocket will then accelerate to 8,000 mph to get the satellites into orbit. The two Prometheus-2 satellites are destined for the MoD and will supply them with advanced imaging. These will be the first-ever satellites launched from British soil although the U.K. has previously launched satellites from Woomera in Australia.
Oh what a lovely morning, when I took my pre-breakfast perambulation it was so nice in the sun I was tempted to stay out, but I quickly dismissed the idea as I hadn’t had my Felix. Bozzie was up early again as he was off to a cabinet awayday in Stoke-on-Trent. Another day when he gets two breakfasts. I understand he rather likes the Avanti West Coast Great British Breakfast of fried egg, bacon, sausage, hash brown, mushrooms, toast and of course tea or coffee and fruit juice.
You will remember that Bozzie made a flying visit to Sweden and Finland yesterday. Well, he was pretty chuffed when he got back as both countries signed mutual support agreements with the U.K. in which it was agreed that if either was attacked by the Russians we would come to their assistance. Well, things have moved on a bit overnight with the Finnish Government applying for membership of NATO. That may take a while so the mutual support agreement is important in the short term. Sweden is expected to follow on with a NATO application soon. I wonder if they will now vote for us in the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday?
I love the way the Lefties have been twisting what Lee Anderson MP said in the Queens Speech debate yesterday. He was talking about how the food bank he volunteers at also helps people by giving them basic cooking lessons and budgeting lessons. This morning, lefty press has accused him of being an evil Tory who hates the poor who use food banks with the BBC joining in with a carefully edited version of his speech. This man is an ex-miner who came from a poor family who grew their own vegetables. I would rather trust him than multi-millionaire’s daughter Litha Randy who was doing the media round this morning.
You might have read that the Royal Mail have been trialling drones to deliver mail to remote places and islands. I have seen test flights to the likes of the Isle of Wight and the Scilly Isles. They must have been incredibly successful tests as the Post Office has announced plans to acquire 500 drones to move the mail to remote places like Scottishland Islands and the Highlands where delivery are often delayed by poor weather. I wonder if the drone would come in handy in the event of a war, the Ukraine and Russia seem to be making a lot of use of them.
Big moans from the Greens as U.K. Oil & Gas get permission to enlarge their oil production field at Horse Hill near Gatwick airport. The planners have granted permission to increase the number of boreholes from 2 to 6, tripling the oil being pumped from under the South Downs. In addition they are to be allowed to re-inject wastewater into the wells, saving several huge road tankers a day taking the wastewater away for treatment. I would have thought that it was essential that in the current situation we should be looking to produce as much domestic oil as possible, especially as this is not being done by fracking, but the Greens don’t think so.
Yesterday I told you about the plan to launch small satellites from Newquay in Cornwall. Today I hear of the plans of Orbex to launch small vertical rockets from Scottishland. The idea is to use a reusable rocket launched from Forres, which is about 100 miles from Space Hub Sutherland. This rocket is 62-foot-long (19-meters) and powered by renewable biopropane which is supposed to be greener than conventional rocket fuels. The company says they are on target for the U.K.’s first vertical launch either late this year or early next year. Work started on the third launch place, Space Hub Sutherland, last month. Both Lockheed Martin and Astra Space have contracts in place to launch from that spaceport. The U.K. space race seems to have started.
I hear that BT have come to an agreement with the Discovery Channel to create a shared sports TV business. BT will be contributing BT Sports which currently has the rights for some Premier League games plus the Champions League and Europa League. Disney own Eurosport and have the rights to broadcast the Olympics in the U.K. plus tennis, cycling and snooker. The 50:50 owned joint venture will be run by Discovery who will pay BT £93 million over 3 years. At the moment BT Sport is a subscription channel and Eurosport is free to air, initially they will continue to operate independently but are eventually set to merge into a single subscription organisation. BT originally launched BT Sport to save its broadband business that was heavily losing customers to Sky who were offering a combined broadband and Sky Sports subscription. It saved BT Broadband but cost BT billions in sports rights. BT have decided that TV is no longer a priority and will instead invest in next-generation broadband and 5G mobile. BT have agreed to continue their reciprocal channel arrangements with Sky until at least 2030.
It’s a bit strange in London this morning weather-wise. It is fairly warm with watery sunshine trickling down. I might be able to get some windowsill time in. Bozzie bouncing another idea this morning, slimming down the civil serpents by 91,000. I wonder if it will ever happen! If I was in charge I would sort them out by those who are willing to work in the office and those who want to work from home. All these WFH’s can go to the head of the queue for the sack.
I hear that things are not quite right with the Greater London Council. The mayor, Sad Dick, has moved them from that rugby ball shaped building next to Tower Bridge to a building known as the Crystal which is near the Ex-Cell centre. The problems are many, not least it taking 45 minutes to get there from central London. But one of the biggest is that 2,000 people used to work in City Hall and there is only space for 215 in the Crystal. Consequently, there are very few people who have permanent desks allocated (bet one is Sad Dick). I hear that one 80 strong department has been allocated 9 hot desks which workers have to apply for in advance. Oh, the other thing I hear is that meetings can only be held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as Monday and Friday are considered ‘Working From Home’ days.
I see some of the Eastern European nations have come up with a good wheeze. For example, Slovakia has offered to ‘gift’ its fleet of old Russian T72 tanks to the Ukraine if the West replaces them with German Leopard 2 Main Battle Tanks. This is like the Pole’s deal of transferring their T72s to Ukraine in a swap for British Challenger 2 MBTs. The Ukrainians are trained on T72s which work with a 3 man crew because they have an automated loader. In general, Western tanks have a 4 man crew as one acts as a loader. Having an autoloader means that the ammunition has to be stored in the tank’s turret making them highly vulnerable to a huge secondary explosion. The Western tanks store the ammunition in a bustle on the back of a turret with armoured doors which protects the crew. Sounds like a good way to replace poor tanks with better ones.
I heard an interesting bit of political speculation this morning. It seems Lord Frost would like to become an MP, but for some reason he is not going to stand for one of the current vacancies. The safe seat of Tiverton & Honiton would seem ideal, but Frosty has said he will not be standing there. The word I have heard is that Bozzie has warned off the local Tory Party organisation from adopting Frosty as a candidate. Why you ask? The rumour is that as an MP Frost would be a more than credible candidate to replace Bozzie as PM and would be someone for the traditional hard-line Tories to rally around. I wonder if an internal Tory war is coming.
Of all the nations that are buying F-35 Lighting 2 jets, only Israel has been allowed to create its own version. All of the other 9 nations have had to purchase the A, B or C version but Isreal have got an ‘I’ version. The Israelis have the need to fly longer missions than others so that they can strike at Iran and external drop tanks are being developed especially for them. But it’s not only range, they have been allowed to amend much of the software to integrate with their own national systems. It seems that all Israeli missiles have common software that allows them to be automatically mated with any IAF aircraft and the F-35I has been adapted to have this ability.
I have read that Stoma thinks he is safe offering to resign as leader if fined, as the Durham Police do not fine people retrospectively, instead writing them warning letters. But this morning I read that a Durham woman has just been retrospectively fined £10,000 for organising a memorial event for her father-in-law. Apparently, this event occurred within a few weeks of Beer and Currygate. I wonder what Stoma would do if the Labour Party got a £10,000 fine for organising an event?
Herr Stoma is not having a good day today. Another story I hear is that he has fallen out with the local Labour Party in Wakefield. It seems that the local party campaigners have been resigning en masse because Stoma’s London leadership have imposed two Remainer candidates on the local party for a parliamentary by-election. Apparently the whole local executive committee have walked out. The local party had put forward 3 local people who were all rejected by the National Selection Committee in favour of two non-locals. Wakefield strongly voted Leave in the referendum and the local party feel that having to choose between two Remainers is wrong. With all the scandal over the resigned Tory MP you would think Labour should be able to walk this by-election, instead they are intent on making things difficult for themselves.
Not a cloud in the sky when I took my early morning constitutional and pleasantly warm. I hear it might rain overnight, well that’s OK if I’m asleep.
I told you recently of the man admitted to hospital in London with monkeypox. Now I hear of two more cases. Apparently the two live in the same London household but are not connected in any known way with the initial case. One of the two is being treated in the infectious diseases unit at St Mary’s Hospital but the other person is less seriously ill and is isolating at home. The NHS say they have no idea how these latest two contracted the virus. Unlike the first case where the man had recently visited Nigeria, these two have not been abroad. All their contacts are being spoken to and warned about what symptoms to look out for.
I am delighted to hear that Airbus has decided to postpone its ‘Capital Markets Day’ for investors. It was planned to fall during the Queens Platinum Jubilee weekend and Airbus were surprised when virtually every British investor preferred to stay at home over the four-day break. Airbus has decided that they will postpone the event until September as there was not enough time to organise it before French industry had its usual shut down for the whole of August. Unfortunately, they are now likely to clash with their biggest rival, Boeing’s, own ‘Capital Markets Day’ which is traditionally held in September.
It seems the Star Inn at Vogue has had a letter from Vogue, the fashion magazine, demanding that it should change its name as the two might be confused. Vogue is a small village near Redruth in Cornwall and the pub is believed to have been around for 150 years, far longer than the magazine has existed! The letter seems to be a standard form letter sent to any company that registers a company name that includes the word ‘Vogue’. The pub’s landlord wrote to the magazine pointing out that the village of Vogue had had that name for over 200 years and perhaps the magazine should be the one changing its name! The magazine wrote back saying that following further investigation they were going to drop the matter.
A report from the High Speed Rail Group concludes that if the government is serious about moving people from plane to train then a link between HS1 and HS2 is essential. Oddly when HS2 was first conceived it was included, but it was dropped on cost grounds. However, the route was planned and some of the necessary land was acquired. The London terminals of HS1 and HS2 are only a kilometre apart. However, the report points out that the link could be a people mover or even a shuttle bus. However, 2,900 people a day fly between Manchester and Amsterdam and a reasonably priced high-speed train link could pinch a lot of those passengers by offering a direct city centre to city centre service.
I see a senior Labour MP has said that Beer and Currygate is ‘Bollocks’ and that Stoma is an honourable man, who would not have entertained such a thing. Strange the photos clearly show him with a bottle of beer, the curry order seems to have been confirmed, as has been the denied attendance of Crayons the Ginger Growler. However this last couple of days Wes Streeting and Litha Randy have clearly been on manoeuvres, and up north so has Randy Burnham, talking to trade unions. While the left-wing of the party, under the guise of Momentum, have been pushing the three stooges, Zara Sultana, Nadia Whittome and Bell Ribeiro-Addy. Gosh, a Labour Party run by any two of that three would have as much chance of winning an election as Steptoe did. But it would be fun seeing them getting regularly mullered over the dispatch box at PMQs.
114 years after his last match and over 100 years since he died, the font of all cricket records, Wisden, has decided to wipe 10 matches from the record of W G Grace. The effect is to remove 685 runs, 65 wickets and 2 centuries from the record books. Why I hear you ask? Well, it seems they have decided that those 10 matches were not ‘first-class’ games. Quite why it has taken so long to come to this conclusion I don’t know, but it has had the effect of making the date Grace hit his 100th first-class century two weeks later!
I’m done for another week and I’m off for my afternoon snooze. It’s very nice this afternoon, in fact it’s a bit too warm for me in my fur coat on the windowsill. I think I have identified a nice spot, in dappled sunshine at the bottom of the garden, that will do me just fine. Have a pleasant weekend merry readers and I will be back on reporting duty on Monday.
© WorthingGooner 2022