Good morning my friends, that weekend went so quickly, but at least it’s a bank holiday and it should be an easy day. I woke up to sun streaming in through the kitchen window, summer has arrived I thought, but no when I went out it was, if anything, a bit cooler than yesterday, and it had been raining again!
I had to laugh yesterday at the end of the Liverpool v Spuds match. The Pool had quickly gone three-nil up and were all over the Spuds when they seemed to ease off. The Spuds scored one then two goals and finally an equaliser in injury time. But it finally woke up the Pool and they scored 90 seconds later to make it 4-3. But the best was yet to come when the Pool manager, Clippety Clop, ran up and down the sideline celebrating wildly and did a hamstring.
It is beginning to look like the Tories are putting a bit of pressure on Sir Beer Korma over his hiring of Sue Grey. A report out shortly is reckoned to say that she can’t take up a job with him until after the next general election. Mind you I can’t see how anyone would know if she was to help him in secret. It also looks like he is going to come under pressure in the Commons tomorrow as to when he first started talking to her about the job. The word is that it was before she investigated Bozzie over ‘Partygate’ and caused his downfall. The Cabinet Office Minister, Jeremy Quin, is due to make a statement tomorrow, on Sue Grey’s resignation, which seems to have broken four different Snivel Serpent rules. The debate following the statement should be interesting.
I am a little confused as to the possibility of Australia buying the Northrop Grumman B-21 ‘Raider’ bomber. The B-21 has yet to make its first flight and Northrop don’t even have a production contract with the USAF yet. A defence review in Australia has recommended that Australia concentrates on buying missiles and does not buy the B-21. The Australian Government has said it has no intention of buying the B-21. But the president of Northrop talks about the Australian ‘refusal to buy the B-21’ and how it isn’t the last word. It makes it sound like the US had told Australia to buy the bomber and Australia said no. Has this really been Northrop trying to sell the plane to someone who doesn’t want it?
It seems the 30% of the U.K. drug trade is done by Albanian illegal immigrants and they are the largest percentage of foreigners in our prisons. But the statistic I find most remarkable is that 85% of Albanians coming in illegally on boats already have a criminal conviction. Obviously, we are being targeted by Albanian gangs who think we are an easy touch. Thank God we have an agreement with Albania that allows us to send them back.
How has The Guardian editor, Katharine Viner, managed to keep her job after the anti-Semitic cartoon it had to pull at the weekend? It’s not been a good couple of weeks for the Guardian Media Group. First, it was revealed that their owner, the Scott Trust, was deeply involved in the slave trade. Then The Observer, the group’s Sunday paper, published an anti-Semitic letter from the Abbotpotamus. Now they have had to withdraw a political cartoon about Richard Sharp who has just resigned as BBC chairman, that was anti-Semitic. Why is it that The Guardian is blind to anti-Semitism? Could it be that they are a far-left Labour supporting publication that sees nothing wrong?
The news broke at the weekend that Carole ‘the cat lady’ Cadwalladr must pay Arron Banks £35,000 damages within 14 days, over that libel case that she claims she won. Well clearly, she didn’t win as she also must pay the court costs which it is said could be as much as £3 million. She was moaning that she would have to sell her house and be homeless. Well, that is the result of making things up about people, especially those who have the resources to bring a court case. I bet she regrets not saying sorry and withdrawing her statement at the first opportunity.
Morning people not a bad morning, it’s dry and a little overcast but not cold. I hope the sun comes out later. I see rather than running just one special extra flight out of Port Sudan yesterday, because of demand, we actually put on two. We have now flown over 2,200 British passport holders to safety in Cyprus, not a bad effort by the military and thankfully not even one was injured.
According to the whispers I have been hearing the government is looking at hiring a number of more ships to accommodate illegal immigrants arriving on small boats. They are not fussy, and it could be more accommodation barges similar to the one they already have but if they can acquire bigger vessels, they will do that. So, the long-lasting suggestion that they should use decommissioned ferries and cruise ships now looks to be happening. A cruise ship would obviously be more practical as they tend to have far more cabins than ferries. Of course, some ferries, like those crossing from Dover to Calais don’t need cabins because the voyage is so short so wouldn’t be suitable. But those on longer, overnight routes like Hull to Rotterdam have more cabins. However, the older cruise ships being withdrawn from service tend to have a lot of ‘inside cabins’ with no natural light. I can already hear the ‘do-gooders’ moaning about breaches of human rights in cabins with no daylight.
Another story I hear is that on Saturday lunchtime the Victoria line had to be shut down for several hours because a woman fell on the tracks. These kind of things happen fairly often, but this incident was a bit difficult in that this was caused by a woman in a mobility scooter driving it off the platform at Kings Cross. I understand that while not banned, mobility scooters are very rarely seen on the Underground, particularly on the deep tube lines like the Victoria line. This is because many stations don’t have lifts and passengers rely on escalators to get to and from the platforms. I understand the woman was rescued by a ‘Hazardous Response Team’ and taken to a major trauma unit, but her injuries are said not to be life-threatening.
May Day is usually a good excuse for trouble in France but yesterday was exceptionally violent because of Macon’s change in the pension retirement age. Reports say a million protestors took the streets among Molotov cocktails and tear gas exchanges. I hear one policeman was set on fire and a protestor lost a hand. The bin men in Paris are on strike and the piles of rubbish were just too tempting for protestors who set many alight. When the French riot they make a good job of it.
I understand that West Ham supporters are not very happy because they have only been allocated 975 tickets for their UEFA Europa Conference League semi-final second-leg match. This is the bare minimum of 5% of the stadium capacity allowed under the competition rules. The problem is that the away-leg stadium has such a small capacity. West Ham allocates away tickets to bondholders first, then away season ticket holders, then season ticket holders. With corporate guests getting tickets first and then the 870 bondholders, even away season ticket holders have little chance of a ticket. Surely the answer is to move the match to a bigger stadium. I remember Arsenal playing Champions League games at Wembley when the old Highbury could only hold 38,000.
This morning BP has announced that they made £4 billion profit in the first quarter of the year. Not bad I hear you saying, but it is down about £1 billion on the same quarter last year mainly because the cost of oil and gas is falling. However, I expect to hear the Labour mob shouting for more windfall taxes. There are two things I would say to that; BP only made 10% of that in the U.K. and the U.K. taxes already up to 75% of profits. Apparently, BP paid the government £520 million in tax in the last quarter.
Sir Beer Korma has done yet another policy U-turn. Back around Christmas he promised to restore student grants, so students effectively got a free university education. Today he has ditched that policy with no explanation. I think I can tell you why, his ‘people’ have been costing it and they have realised it is unaffordable. It would be interesting if he came up with a few actual policies other than raising more on a Oil and Gas Windfall tax or a non-Dom tax, which will not bring in anywhere as much money as Sir Beer thinks.
Morning all, a nice sunny morning here in London, although it’s still not as warm as I would like it. I hear that a report out this morning says that ULEZ is going to take around £520 million annually out of London’s business. Of course, Sad Dick is not worried as there is no election in London tomorrow. But the results in the areas surrounding London that will be affected by ULEZ will be interesting.
For the first time since the Falklands War, the British Military has been undertaking airstrip repairs during an operation. The 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment and 24 Commando Royal Engineers carried out the work, known as airfield damage repair at the runway being used to evacuate British passport holders from Sudan. We took over the Wadi Saeedna Air Base from the French and found it in poor repair, this was partly the result of heavy transport aircraft from several nations having used it and it having been in poor condition when it was in Sudanese hands. This would be good training for our engineering regiments having to carry out runway repair under genuine pressure rather than as part of an exercise. Apparently, we left the airfield in better condition than when we arrived!
Yesterday in a parliamentary statement it was stated that Sue Grey had refused to cooperate with an enquiry into her resignation as a Snivel Serpent and taking a job as Sir Beer Korma’s chief of staff. At the same time Sir Beer put out a statement saying she had done nothing wrong. If she had done nothing wrong, why would she not cooperate with the enquiry? The deputy prime minister also said that Grey had not informed her boss that she was having discussions or had been in discussion with anyone over a new job, which is breaking the rules for senior Snivel Serpents. The organisation that looks after this sort of thing normally enforces a rule of not being able to take up any job for three months after quitting as a Snivel Serpent but where the person is going to a job with a conflict of interests has to power to stop them taking up the job for two years. Under the same code they are supposed to tell their boss immediately they have any discussions or approaches. They are also supposed to tell the organisation about any new job in the two years after resigning from the Snivel Service. If Grey had scrupulously followed the rules why would she not cooperate?
I heard today the Ministry of Defence had signed a contract to buy 11 giraffes. Well, I wondered what possible need the MoD could have for those long-necked things, but it wasn’t the animal, it turns out it is a type of radar made by SAAB. It is a small, mobile, counter-battery 3D radar, used to pinpoint the launch point of drones, artillery, rockets and mortars and to feed the coordinates to our forces. One of the units is for the Royal Navy and will be going on a vessel that tests new equipment, the other 10 are for the Army. Apparently, we already have a large number of giraffes in service, and these are the very latest super-improved version.
Yesterday seems to have been the day when the general public and the police finally snapped and fought back against the Just Stop Oil slow walking around Central London streets. I have just seen footage of people tearing banners out of their hands and ripping them up, Just Stop Oil also claim a car drove through their line and a woman protester’s foot was run over. At another protest, the police invoked a Section 12 order and dragged the protesters out of the road and onto the pavement. I understand that a Section 12 order was successfully used at least three times yesterday. Why has it taken the police so long to start acting? Is it because the Home Secretary has told them to get on with it?
The Indian airline Go First has filed for bankruptcy protection having had a huge problem with some aircraft engines. It immediately cancelled all flights. As bankruptcy protection in India works in a similar way to the USA, they hope to be able to resume flying soon. The airline says the problem is the repeated failure of Pratt & Whitney engines on its Airbus A320neo aircraft forcing it to ground 25 planes, about half its A320neo fleet. This has resulted in hundreds of cancelled flights and the loss of £1 billion in revenue. The dispute has been through an arbitrator but Go First say they have not received the 90 leased “serviceable spare engines” the arbitrator awarded them.
The new laws to deal with protesters causing public disruption has been signed into law earlier than expected and come into force today. It will bring in strict laws about things like “locking on” by Extinction Rebellion, and blocking highways by Just Stop Oil, punishing them with six months and a year in prison. The new law will also try to stop multiple arrests on a single day which have occurred when protesters have been arrested and immediately released on police bail. I suspect the speedy introduction of the new law is because of the Coronation.
Another pleasant morning in London with just a little sunshine, but with the prospect of showers later. Today is polling day for the local election so when the feeder put the radio on this morning, they were avoiding all political stories in case they influence voting. Well, this cat will be ignoring this rule that treats people as idiots.
When Labour very narrowly won the seat of Canterbury it was a huge surprise, not just to the beaten Tories, but also to the successful party. Never in their wildest dreams did they expect their candidate to succeed but it seemed the success of Rosie Duffield had a lot to do with the support of university students in her seat voting for Labour en-masse that got her home with a 187-vote majority. However, she has not exactly gone down well with many party activists. Firstly, her support of Jewish issues and her belief that the party was ‘institutionally racist’ caused huge problems with some sections of the party. Then she had the nerve to speak up on trans issues in favour of women’s rights upsetting other factions, in spite of her being a typical Labour MP, pro-EU, and anti-grammar school despite both her children going to one. Last month Sir Beer Korma visited the Medway towns but Labours only MP in Kent was not invited to the meeting, while several members of her CLP were. Yesterday she was again ostracised when Sir Beer and the Ginger Growler once again visited the Medway towns, one of Labour’s target areas for the local elections. Is Labour trying to edge her out of the party? Is it just possible she would be happier on the government benches who seem more able to accept her views on antisemitism and trans rights?
A little more on the Go First problems with Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G geared turbofans has emerged in court papers. Last month they had to remove 64 defective engines from planes bringing the total removed in the past few years to an astonishing 510. This is what made the Singapore-based arbitrators award the airline the unprecedented 90 spare engines. The airline has filed a suit in a US court looking to enforce the arbitrator’s ruling, which they say P&W have not complied with. P&W say they can’t as they don’t have enough spare engines. The arbitrator ordered P&W to send Go First 10 spare engines immediately and 10 more each month for nine months in total. A least three other airlines have complained about the ‘premature deterioration’ of the engines’ combustors and called it a design fault. I bet they all regret not having opted for the alternative engine from CFM International.
For the fourth time in recent weeks Royal Caribbean has overbooked a cruise on Wonder of the Seas. What is it with their booking engine that one ship seems to have this problem? Is the basic data on this ship in the system incorrect, or is it a software bug? It really is becoming a major problem for this cruise line. I understand that each time it happens they call for volunteers to give up their trips and as well as getting a 100% refund they also get future cruise credits. So far, they have always had sufficient volunteers to avoid having to throw anyone off. But if this problem continues, I can see it landing up in court, we all know how litigious the Americans are.
Another mass shooting at a school yesterday but this one is a little bit different. For a start, it wasn’t in the US, this one was in Belgrade, Serbia and was carried out by a 13-year-old schoolboy. The boy is reported to have taken a gun, legally owned by his father and gone from classroom to classroom executing a list of eight pupils. He also killed a security guard and injured a teacher. But the oddest thing is he then walked into the playground and phoned the police to turn himself in saying he was a psychopath. The police say that because of his age he can’t be tried for murder and is being held in a psychiatric hospital.
On April 30th the London Underground had its busiest day since Covid with 3.53 million journeys. The busiest station on the network was Kings Cross, closely followed by Victoria. It was hardly surprising that these two stations were busy as they both are major interchanges, serving multiple lines, mainline stations and business districts. But what of the quietest stations, well at Roding Valley, on the Central Line out in Essex on the same day there were only a total of 616 entry and exit taps, making it only half as busy as the next lowest used station Chigwell. This would equate to 308 commuters going to work and coming home. The station is so lightly used that Transport for London has not bothered to install ticket barriers at the station making it only one of 12 without barriers.
Yesterday, exactly one year ahead of its maiden voyage, the new Cunard cruise ship Queen Anne was floated out at a ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. Now the main construction work is finished work begins on the internal fit-out before sea trials and final handover to Cunard before fare-paying passengers come on board for its maiden voyage from Southampton to Lisbon. The Queen Anne is the same design as Holland America Line’s (like Cunard, a Carnival company) two Pinnacle-class ships, and is a 115,000 tonne, 3,000 passenger ship.
I don’t think I will ever get used to the strange weather we have in Britain. One day it is warm and dry and the next cold and wet, but today it’s dull and warm and I hear it’s going to rain later. I woke up to the early local election results, it doesn’t look very good for the rich boy but as I dictate this it is not wonderful for Sir Beer. So far he has not done well enough, if results were replicated in a general election he has not done well enough to form a majority government.
I told you yesterday of Go First’s problems with Pratt & Whitney engines on its Airbus A320neo aircraft. Today it is the manufacturer Airbus who is blaming P&W over its inability to deliver some new aircraft. It seems that P&W just does not have the capacity to supply new engines to Airbus for its A320s and A220s and to supply replacements to the Airlines who have planes with broken engines. It appears the premature wear on the engines’ combustors is particularly bad on airlines that operate in particularly hot, high or dusty conditions. Consequently, many European airlines are not seeing the problem but airlines in India and parts of Africa are. P&W is owned by US defence giant Raytheon.
I hear some news for people who either have Sky TV or are thinking of getting it on a streaming device, that is the Sky Glass box or Sky Stream streaming box. Up until now, Sky have said you need a minimum of 10 Mbps to get the service, but Sky have just changed the minimum speed. It seems that they have crept the new rule in without a fanfare by changing the small print to say the minimum you now need is 25 Mbps or 30 Mbps if you intend to stream 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos. Sky haven’t said why they have made the change leading to speculation. Is it possible that Sky have found that users have a problem downloading programmes with the slower speed or could it just be a ruse to get people to upgrade their internet to a faster, more expensive, level? Maybe I am just a suspicious old Cat.
Speaking of Sky Wi-Fi the word I hear is that Sky is about to offer a new router, that will be better able to handle high-speed fibre to the premises. The current box that customers get is becoming a bit long in the tooth and with lots of new bells and whistles being planned for FTTP it certainly needs an upgrade. But how will Sky handle it? My guess is initially it will be free only to new FTTP customers. If customers with an old box want to upgrade, I expect it either won’t be possible or maybe if they chose to pay. I really can’t see them switching out millions of routers for nothing.
If you are up late tonight, you might see a shower of meteorites. Of course, it depends on the cloud cover, but we will be passing through a dust cloud left by the tail of a comet so if it is clear, it could be spectacular. This old cat won’t be bothering, I shall be happily tucked up in my cat basket with my lovely cat blanket.
The tennis player Emma Raducanu looks to be going to have a long layoff after having an operation on her right wrist. She will also be having further operations on her left wrist and an ankle. The problem is that she has ‘carpe bosses’, boney spurs growing on the bones of her wrists. When she plays tennis the tendons in her wrists rub on these and are ok for a while but after an hour or so it becomes excruciatingly painful. Apparently, it is a fairly simple operation, and a skilled surgeon should be able to shave off the spurs in about 30 minutes. The problem is the operation will take three or four months to recover her fitness from, so the rest of the year is a write-off. Perhaps she will follow her other job as a model in the meantime?
Earlier I told you that Airbus was bemoaning that deliveries of A320 and A220 aircraft were being delayed because of a shortage of jet engines, but what about the A350 where there is no delays of engine deliveries. There the problem is that subcontractors are not supplying sufficient passenger seats! Exactly what seats are fitted is usually the choice of the aircraft’s buyer, so this is really a problem between the airline and the chosen seat maker. A good example of this is when, towards the end of last year, some Iberia A350-900 aircraft were delivered without Business Class seats. While waiting for the seats to be delivered Iberia put the planes into service with old seats and weights in their place to keep the loading balanced.
Good Coronation Day to you all. I haven’t made my mind up whether I will watch on TV yet, if it rains as forecast, I just might pop down to the office as I refuse to go out and get my fur soggy, there is nothing worse. I heard Sir Beer proclaiming that Labour had already won a majority at the next general election. What a load of garbage, with today’s results he might just manage a minority government or a coalition. But there is 18 months before the Rich Boy must go to the country and the way the Labour lead has been coming down, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rich Boy’s lot hanging on.
There is a saying ‘stranger things happen at sea’. Well, I hear of a strange thing happening to Virgin Cruise’s Valiant Lady. There it was merrily sailing along when a waterspout popped up beside the ship. But that wasn’t the end of things. The waterspout turned and ran straight across the ship’s pool deck. No one was hurt but I understand numerous sun loungers were wrecked and a lot of glasses were broken in the poolside bar. I don’t think I have ever heard of such a thing happening to a cruise ship before.
The English Football League and Sky have agreed a new five-year deal to broadcast matches and there will be a huge increase in the number of games shown on Sky. Each year there will be over 1,000 matches broadcast live either on the various Sky platforms or streamed. Each weekend there will be 10 live games shown with five from the Championship and five from Division One and Two. In addition, six matches from the same three divisions will be steamed every Saturday at 12:30. On top of the matches from the three divisions the deal includes all end-of-season playoffs, all 93 Carabao Cup and 127 EFL Trophy games will be shown live. How much is this little lot costing Sky TV, a mere £935 million. I wonder if Sky are worried that they might lose Premier League broadcasting to one of the streaming platforms when the next renewal comes along and have decided to lash out on the EFL just in case?
The most interesting story I hear from the local election is the collapse of the Greens in Brighton where their increasingly woke activities have been seen through by the residents. The Greens lost their seats in droves and the new councils has gone to Labour with 38 seats and the Greens have been reduced to just seven. I wonder if the hideous Caroline Lucas MP is worried that she will be out on her arse come the general election.
I am beginning to wonder how the huge problems with the Pratt & Whitney jet engines has crept under the radar until only recently. The more I hear the worse it gets. Yesterday Lufthansa announced that its Swiss company had a third of its 30 Airbus A220 planes grounded because of the engine. Apparently, they love the plane and had been considering buying more, but the reliability of the P&W engine is a major problem. Unfortunately, unlike the A320, only P&W engines are available on the A220.
There are an increasing number of reports of Russian railway ‘accidents’ on lines close to the Ukraine. At the moment these appear to be little more than an inconvenience to the Russian military who have employed railway troop brigades to rapidly repair tracks. The question is what has caused the ‘accidents.’ The leading options are sabotage, overuse or lack of maintenance. Maintenance problems should be easy to fix, not so much overuse as logistics trains are essential for Russia’s war effort. But sabotage is more difficult, firstly who are the saboteurs? Are they Ukrainian or domestic dissidents? How do you protect the thousands of kilometres of Russian railways? I expect to hear more of this in the coming weeks.
I had a little chuckle this morning when I heard that two pigeons were on the loose in Westminster Abbey. They were reported to be continually flying between the south and north transepts and people were trying to catch them. I suppose it wouldn’t do to have them leave deposits on King Jug Ears or his horse during the ceremony. What they need is an Abbey cat. Serves them right for not inviting me, those pesky pigeons wouldn’t have dared to enter the Abbey if I had been there.
I’m done very early this week and although it’s dry at the moment, the rain is predicted to start at about 11, the same time old Jug Ears arrives at the Abbey. I think I will have a quick patrol out front of Number Ten and then see if any of my friends in the office have any cat treats. Then I might watch a bit of the Coronation just in case those pesky pigeons do their royal duty. I think I will have to have my afternoon snooze on a reception armchair this afternoon, they really pass the Larry snooze test with flying colours. I should be back with you all again next week.
© WorthingGooner 2023