Good morning folks, very wet first thing, I nipped out between downpours and only got a little damp. It’s supposed to be drying up and getting sunny later. I had a lovely peaceful Sunday with Mary Elizabeth away at Chequers. That Hunt bloke was in the office very early, I can’t warm to him I think he is creepy. I hear he is going to make a big announcement today, we shall see!
The Ukrainian oil and gas company is planning to exploit Ukrainian natural gas reserves just as soon as this war is over. They are already talking to American drilling companies about licenses for what I hear is Europe’s second-largest gas field. The idea is that they will supply gas to European countries and cut Russia out of the loop. The problem with all this is that the gas field lies in the Dnipro Basin to the east of the river and can’t be exploited until fighting stops.
‘Just Stop Oil’ have caused the 2nd Dartford crossing to be closed this morning as two of their supporters have climbed the heights of the bridge. They say they are going to stay up there until ‘the government makes a meaningful statement’ about not issuing any new oil exploration licences. I don’t think the government are likely to make any such statement so just how long will the 2 demonstrators stay up there? Personally I would just leave them up there and re-open the bridge to traffic. They will come down when they are cold and hungry!
I hear that Ginge and Whinge have been complaining that they were not made welcome enough at the Queen’s funeral. And there we have the truth, it was the funeral of the Queen and they were only guests, obviously they thought they should have been centre stage. Of course the Queen’s four children were first and then came the grandchildren. I haven’t heard William and Kate complaining, but they don’t need the advertising and the money.
Bernie Eccleston has put the cat among the pigeons this morning by suggesting that Red Bull are likely to get a very tough penalty for overspending last year’s spending cap. The word is that they spent between £1 and £2 million above the cap. I have heard other teams saying that a spend of £100,000 on development will get the team 0.1 seconds per lap. So by that logic Red Bull could have benefited by up to 2 seconds per lap and that would have gleaned them lots of points during the season. The question must be, did they win the championship fairly, and if not the punishment must be that they lose it, suffer a big fine and that they also get penalised for this year as last year’s developments must have affected this year’s racing.
King Jug Ears has wasted no time in demonstrating that, unlike his mother, he has no love of the ‘sport of kings’ and is to sell off 12 of the 37 race horses that he has inherited. They will be entered into the Newmarket Tattersalls sale later this month. I hear that he is likely to be selling further horses at a later date. I also hear that there are plans to run down the Royal Stud where there are 38 brood mares of which 30 are in foal.
I was delighted to see the Leader of the House say in the House of Commons this afternoon that, and I quote, “Larry the Cat would make a better chancellor than anyone on the opposition benches.” Of course she is right and I would quite like to do the job. The best thing would be I would have a flat of my own and a salary of £71,683 pa, just think how much Felix Chicken that would buy!
What a lovely sunny morning. The gardener was out with his mower when I went for my constitutional. He was having a bit of a problem with the wet grass clogging up the blades. I sat in the sun watching for a while as he was down on his hands and knees clearing it out. When he stood up I was amused to see big wet muddy marks on his knees. I went off for my breakfast sniggering.
Another day another Ginge and Whinge story reaches me. This time I hear they are having a row with Netflix over their long-awaited documentary series. The word is that Netflix have pencilled in the series to follow on when the current series of The Crown finishes later this year. But there is a huge problem in that there are major differences between what G&W say in the documentary and what they say in Ginge’s upcoming autobiography. Having paid G&W millions of dollars, Netflix are naturally anxious to get the documentary on air. But G&W want to change things and have a number of scenes re-shot which would mean it not going on air until next spring. Mind you, I hear Ginge also wants to change the book.
I hear Luton Council has finally revealed the cost of a trip between the Luton Parkway mainline station and Luton Airport on the much-delayed DART connecting service. A single 4-minute journey will cost everyone £4.90p which is virtually the same as the Thameslink fare from St Pancreas to Luton Parkway. There is however good news for pensioners, the disabled and their companions as they will travel on the DART for nothing. It will be cheaper for a family of four to get a taxi between the two stations.
A suspicious parcel in Whitehall this morning has caused a whole load of ministries to be evacuated. I have seen loads of people milling about on the street. I hope we are OK here as we are around the corner and no one has evacuated me. Mind, I wonder just how big this parcel is to cause such a big evacuation.
For the second day running the QE2 bridge has been closed by protesters who have climbed up the suspension cables. I was amused to see someone shooting fireworks at them last night, unfortunately they missed. I hear that one of them is a New Zealander and already has a public order offence. I wonder if he realises that the bridge authority already has an injunction in place barring people from interfering with traffic flow on the bridge. The two protesters are breaching this injunction and could get six months in prison and the New Zealander could be thrown out.
It looks like Hammersmith and Fulham Council have decided on their preferred scheme for the repair of Hammersmith Bridge. Some time ago I told you about the Foster+Partners scheme to insert a double-deck temporary steel bridge within the existing bridge sitting on the existing bridge piers and it is this that looks to be favourite. The £5 million scheme would allow for damaged parts of the old bridge to be moved off-site for repair by river barge. The council now has to apply to itself for planning permission!
Japan’s oldest communal toilet has been badly damaged by a car crashing through its wooden double doors. The building is believed to be 500 years old and was built by monks. The car driver was reversing when his foot stuck on the accelerator he landed up going backward through the doors into the toilet and damaging a number of the building’s supporting columns. Supposedly the building can be repaired and the monks with be able to return to their contemplations on the 32 holes cut in the rock.
Quite mild out in the garden this morning and no rain, however no sunshine early on. Mary Elizabeth was up before me this morning and went out for a jog. I don’t know if this is normal for her as she hasn’t been here long enough for me to find out yet. It’s PMQ’s day and I think I will pop down to the office to watch on TV as it might be interesting.
So, the Russians have today decided to evacuate 60,000 people from the area around Kherson. They are not the Ukrainian residents but Russians who have moved into the area believing that it was going to revert to being part of Russia as Poo Tin told them. If Russia is so sure it is part of Russia why are they moving their people out?
Essex Police have this morning brought in a giant cherrypicker to remove the two Just Stop Oil idiots who had climbed up the cables of the QE2 bridge over the Thames. I understand that the idiots volunteered to come down as it was ‘a bit windy’ this morning and have been arrested. But it seems they have been ‘arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit public nuisance’. Suspicion! Of course they have committed a public nuisance, they have also breached a court order.
Lockheed Martin are about to increase the production rate of its HiMARS launchers to some 96 a year and are being pressed to make it 120. Apparently that is the maximum the factory is capable of and to make more than 120 they would need to either build an additional factory or find another manufacturer capable of making more. I hear that Poland wanted to order 500 HiMARS launchers but because of the long lead time has split the order and will only purchase 200 and will make up the number to 500 by buying South Korean equipment.
King Jug Ears has announced that he is not going to live in Buckingham Palace. Instead he intends to share his time between Clarence House, Windsor Castle and Sandringham. The King seems to want to spend most of his time at Clarence House and believes that Buckingham Palace is ‘not fit for a modern monarch.’ I have heard that only a low number of rooms at the palace are habitable and the majority are in need of a major refurbishment, the cost of which is impossible to meet from the royal purse. I suggest that if it is not going to be used it should be knocked down and the house and garden be used for development.
The Leeds-based airline and holiday operator Jet2 has just placed an order for another 35 Airbus A320neo aircraft. They will be added to their current fleet and orders for A321neo aircraft, taking the fleet to 98. The new planes are said to be ‘family friendly’ and will seat 180 passengers. The company is said to need the extra capacity to cover projected growth.
Meta, the owners of Facebook, have had it confirmed by the Competition and Markets Authority that they must sell Giphy the publishers of many Gifs and stockers. The CMA investigated the purchase and made their original ruling a year ago when Meta was still called Facebook Inc., but Facebook appealed. Facebook were also fined £ 50 million for refusing to take part in the investigation but appealed to the Competition Appeals Tribunal which found in the CMA’s favour in all but one tiny detail back in July. The CMA said they would review the decision and have now confirmed the ruling and say it is final. I wonder if Meta will obey the order or does American big tech think it is above the law.
Back to rain this morning, not heavy, just drizzle so I still trotted down the garden. It’s all fun here in Downing Street, never a day seems to go by without a good row or two. Yesterday I was all ready to see Mary Elizabeth take a huge bashing at PMQs but it didn’t happen mainly because Sir Beer Korma is useless. Then came a huge shouting match in ME’s private office. Unfortunately the door was shut and the soundproofing is pretty good, I could hear raised voices but not what was said. But I understand ME ended up demanding the Home Secretary’s resignation for some trumped-up reason that had nothing to do with the row. Finally, I wake up this morning to hear that there is another row about a chief whip who was rumoured to have resigned but hasn’t and a vote that Labour lost. I wonder what fun I am going to have today?
Time could be running out for the Boeing 737Max 10. Boeing still hasn’t achieved final sign-off on the cockpit design of the Max7 having submitted incomplete and missing documentation to the FAA. They want to have the Max10 and Max7 cockpits designated as the same so that pilots do not have to be retrained to fly the Max10. There is currently a deadline of December for this to happen, but Boeing doesn’t think the Max7 will be fully certified until next August which would mean the whole Max10 cockpit would have to meet the rules coming in for new plane designs in December. If this happens Boeing may well drop the Max10 as not being financially viable and play straight into Airbus’s hands.
I hear that an Air Sea Rescue helicopter was called to the QE2 off the Isle of Wight last night to take a passenger to hospital. The ship had sailed from Southampton in the early evening and was only off the IoW on its trans-Atlantic crossing to New York when the passenger was taken ill. The captain obviously had a bit of a dilemma; turn back, call an RNLI lifeboat, or call for a helicopter. The helicopter took the sick passenger to hospital in Portsmouth and their condition is not known.
Three of the regular contestants in the Eurovision Song Contest have already pulled out of next year’s competition in Liverpool. North Macedonia and Montenegro pulled out last week and Bulgaria pulled out today. They have all complained about the entrance fee increasing. It has never been made public what the fee is for individual countries but it seems it adds up to about £5 million in total for all 37 entrants. On top of that several countries including the U.K. pay a lot more, and for that they get direct entry into the final. It is perhaps worth noting that none of the three countries that pulled out got past the semi-finals this year.
The FIA has today amended the rule book and brought in a new rule, Article 26.18, that says anyone who ‘abandons’ their car on the track, even temporarily, is deemed to be ruled out of the session whether it is a race, qualifying or practice. This new rule seems to have come about because of an incident earlier this year when, under a red flag, George Russell got out of his car to assist Zhou Guanyu who had barrel-rolled his car into a catch fence. When he returned to his car he found the stewards had it on a low loader and were removing it. Under the then-current rule, he was entitled to restart the car and drive back to the pits. What the FIA has done is make what they did legal in the future.
The majority of the England wives and girlfriends attending this year’s World Cup in Doha are going to stay on a luxury cruise ship in Dubai port. The England manager doesn’t want them staying in the same hotel as the players and causing a distraction. Instead they will have cabins on the MSC Poesia one of three MSC ships that will serve as floating hotels. I understand that a standard double cabin on board will cost around £480 per night per person for a minimum of four nights. Of course, this will be a cheap cabin and better cabins will cost up to £1,200 per night per person in a suite. What is not clear is if any meals are included in the price.
They wouldn’t let me out of the door this afternoon when Mary Elizabeth resigned the party leadership. I was very disappointed I wanted to be on TV again. I am wondering who is going to throw their hat into the ring for this quick leadership competition. I can’t support Rich Richie for what he did to Bozzie. So I guess MPs will have the choice of Suella, Penny, Kimi, Hunt and Wallace. I wonder if Bozzie will stand? If I were a member of the Tory party I would vote for Penny, she looked good at the Queen’s funeral and in parliament. Late update, Hunt has ruled himself out.
Well it’s a very interesting morning, and I don’t mean the weather! In an attempt to whittle down the contenders for the leadership competition the 1922 committee have set a 100 backers number to get on the vote. But it’s beginning to look like they have shot themselves in the foot and only Bozzie and Rich Richie will jump that hurdle. If that is the last two, then the membership will vote for him and not the Rich boy. I wonder if Penny could throw herself behind Bozzie, now that would be interesting. Yesterday I was backing Penny.
I read that British Gas is offering its customers a special deal at the moment, they will supply and install a heat pump and a 20-litre cylinder for just £4,999. But there is no mention that you would probably have to replace all your radiators with ones double the size and the piping would also need replacing, so you could probably at least double, maybe treble, that amount. Why would anyone spend that much when a replacement combi boiler would probably cost you just over £1,000 or a bit more if you were ripping out an old-fashioned boiler with a cylinder?
So the ‘perfect’ Labour Party has lost another MP in a sex scandal. An independent panel had recommended that Christian Matheson be suspended from parliament for “serious sexual misconduct” with a junior staffer. Before a move could happen in the Commons, Matheson resigned his Chester City seat. Labour have made a lot about any Tory charged with being a sex pest but have kept very quiet about this one.
I see that there was crowd problems after the Arsenal football match with PSV last night. What is interesting is that the vast majority of Arsenal fans were on their way home while the PSV supporters were retained in the stadium until transport cleared and it was them that caused all the problems ripping up seats and throwing them at stewards and police, assaulting a steward and letting off fireworks. EUFA have issued 4 charges to PSV and none to Arsenal.
A wild bison has been born in Kent, the first one in thousands of years. Three wild bison were imported earlier this year and released into a large enclosure. However, what was not realised was that one of them was already in calf. The new little bison looks to be happy and healthy and runs around exploring its new world. The idea always was to expand the little group and the plan is to enlarge the enclosure considerably, it just looks like it is happening a little sooner than expected!
An odd story from a B&M stores across the country. It seems that customers have been getting static electrical shocks from their shopping trolleys. The problem appears to be a combination of the sort of flooring in the B&M stores and the rubber wheels on the trolly. I can only assume that other shops use different types of flooring as I haven’t heard complaints from anyone else.
I have been looking at a spreadsheet detailing the numbers supporting Bozzie, the Rich Boy and Penny. Mind you, as I write this no one has declared they are actually running, only those who are not running have declared. It looks like both Bozzie and the Rich Boy will get to the one-hundred threshold but it’s beginning to look like Penny might not. I think the Labour Party’s worst nightmare could be on its way. By the time you read this, the new PM will be known. As I dictate this on Friday afternoon, a week before you read it, I wouldn’t be putting money on anyone but Bozzie, mind you I don’t have any money!
I really don’t know what is happening out there this morning, it started dull, but by the time I had been down the garden and got back and eaten my Felix, the sun was out and it looks lovely out there. I can’t wait to get outside as soon as I have finished today’s diary. It’s quiet here today. The PM in limbo has disappeared, I don’t know if she has gone to her own house or Chequers or if I will see her again, maybe she will pop in before either the rich boy or Bozzie moves in?
I hear that the Army has taken 60 Challenger 2 tanks out of storage and re-activating them for ‘an exercise’. I am not sure what the exercise is, whether it is to see how fast they can be made battle ready, if it is for a big NATO exercise or it is a cover story to be ready in case the war in Ukraine spreads. I am sure the crews will only be happy if the in-tank tea boiler will be in working order.
Amazon Prime and Hawaiian Airlines have signed an agreement for Hawaiian to augment Amazon’s Prime by carrying parcels between Amazon’s North American depots. Hawaiian will be purchasing 10 Airbus A330 freighters for the contract and will be starting up a mainland USA base and hiring crew.
Who do I believe on voting intentions for the Tory leadership? My feeder put Radio Five on while he was in the kitchen and according to them, The Rich boy had reacted 108 backers, while Penny was on 27 and Bozzie on 44. A bit later I was in the office and someone has the Fat Boy’s site on their PC and he had a spreadsheet giving backers by name, Penny had 25, Rich Boy had 108 and Bozzie had 71. Now that made me think, were the BBC deliberately playing down Bozzie’s vote? I had listened to the programme while I ate and it was definitely a Rich Boy love-in and a we hate Bozzie session. Now that makes sense when you hear that Bozzie is the Labour Party’s worst nightmare and the BBC is pro-Labour.
As usual, I hear things about the war in Ukraine and I don’t know if it is true or not, but as your cat reporter it is my duty to tell you what I hear. The current word is that the Russians are withdrawing troops and equipment from the west side of the Dnipro River. This would concede a lot of land to the Ukrainians but would put a big river between the two parties giving the Russians a feeling of safety provided they can withdraw their troops without the Ukraine Army getting over as well.
Apparently the HRMC has taken a record amount in Inheritance Tax in the first six months of this year. The previous high was £3.1 billion in the first half of last year but this has been beaten by the £3.5 billion taken this year. The increase is being put down to the increase in property prices meaning that total estates have been higher and consequently the tax take more. The nil rate band of Inheritance Tax has been frozen at £325,000 since 2019 while house prices have doubled in the same period with the average house price now being £300,000.
Seven Russian citizens have been arrested in Norway for flying drones over restricted areas. The drones were flown over three airports and 5 oil and gas rigs. The Norwegian security service is investigating what has been going on, were they spying on the installations defences by taking photos or were they trying to scare the Norwegians who are now one of the major suppliers of natural gas to Europe? One of the arrested men is the son of a close friend of Poo Tin. He claims he was on holiday and drone flying is his hobby.
That’s my diary done for the week. I just had a look outside and it’s still sunny in Downing Street, so I’m off to my favourite window sill for my afternoon snooze. I wonder who is going to be on cat feeder duty this coming week, Bozzie knows my taste and his mutt knows who the boss is! I will be back with you again next week.
© WorthingGooner 2022