Good morning everyone, it’s rather nice this morning, warm and sunny. I thought the good weather was over yesterday when it clouded up and rained a bit. Well, I had to laugh this morning when the escaped prisoner appeared in court charged with escaping from prison. The newsreader seemed to be surprised he had been remanded in custody! It would have been a bit pointless giving someone already on remand for terrorism and spying, bail for escaping prison.
A lovely tale from the G20 conference in India at the weekend, no not the Rich Boy moaning about Chinese spies, we all know that Westminster is riddled with them, and Barry the Uphill Gardener is involved up to his neck in taking their money. This time it is the useless Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and his entire delegation. Apparently, his plane has broken down and they are all stuck there. Trudeau has been trying to keep a low profile in India due to him having an ongoing dispute with India over Sikh nationalists who want a Sikh homeland in India, so he is not very welcome.
So, BMW is to invest £600 million in changing its British Mini factory to build an electric version of the model. The good thing is that it will safeguard some 4,000 jobs, so the £75 million sweetener from the government is not a huge amount. We have already invested in the Stellantis electric van plant, the Nissan battery plant, the Jaguar Landrover plant and the new battery plant that TATA are to build in the West Country. I somehow suspect that if we are to maintain a car manufacturing industry in the U.K., we will be seeing more government ‘investment’.
BP have announced the opening of a 180 electric vehicle charging stations at the NEC campus near Birmingham. The good news is that this is what we will need if we all start driving electric cars. But as good as it sounds only 30 of the chargers are of the rapid version. The other 150 are slow 7Kw chargers just like most domestic chargers. So why the vast ratio of slow chargers to rapid chargers? I believe the thinking is that visitors to the NEC exhibition centre often stay all day. So, if they plug in when they arrive their car is charging while it is parked all day and rapid chargers are not needed.
Over the past few years, the government has been throwing everything at trying to get drivers to switch from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles. I am old enough to remember the promise that everyone will want an electric car because they will be £10,000 cheaper to buy than a petrol car. But this is just not happening, EVs are at least £10,000 more expensive. But there is more to the government carrot, they offer a subsidy (which is reducing) in buying an EV and in buying a domestic charger, EVs get exemptions from residential parking permits, ULEZ and congestion charging. But the stick is just the opposite side of this with petrol and diesel car owners having to pay those charges and from 2025 manufacturers will be fined if they do not sell 22% electric cars, increasing over the following years before the ban on sales clicks in in 2030. The government has a long way to go when 56% of drivers say EVs are too expensive and 47% don’t think that an EV would not work for them.
I hear that after several years of trying, Portsmouth has finally managed to get the government to lean on the grid to install new power into Portsmouth harbour which will allow them to ‘shore power’ up to three ships concurrently. Brittany Ferries currently have two new ships under construction in China that will be able to use shore power. The new ferries will have engines that charge on board batteries, the ships will switch to battery power outside the port and when in port they will draw all power from the shore connection. The new grid link is, I understand, rated at 15Mw and that is more than the city of Portsmouth uses. So, it looks like each shore connection will be able to supply 5Mw and allow ships capable of linking to it to turn off their liquid gas or oil-fired engines while in port saving lots of pollution. Currently only two ports in the U.K. are equipped with shore power, Southampton and Orkney, but you can see why if it needs such huge amounts of power to be delivered into a port.
I have been reading a report by Top Gear reporter ‘Cory Spondent’ that the current trend to installing cameras instead of wing mirrors on electric vehicles is leading to a housing shortage for spiders. The fact that cameras are normally completely sealed means that spiders have nowhere to live unlike in wing mirrors. In addition, while you wreck his (or her) web before setting off on your journey our eight-legged friends have nowhere to hide. Mind you I think you are probably wasting your time wrecking webs they are nearly always rebuilt by the following morning. I wonder if the spiders are thinking of relocating to the inside of the cars where they could happily live under a front seat or in a glove box.
It looks like summer is over, the sun has disappeared this morning and it’s been raining in London. Although it’s still not cold for the time of year. It is drying up now, but I understand we are forecast thunderstorms later. Gosh, I just saw that old fool Biden on the TV this morning, answering press questions in Vietnam. He was waffling so much that his press secretary cut him short and ended the questions. Is he seriously going to run in the next presidential election? Who would vote for someone who was senile?
I hear the application to enlarge the Rampion wind farm off the West Sussex coast has passed its first stage and will now be considered fully. The Rampion 2 wind farm is planned to produce 1,200 Mw on top of the 400 Mw produced by Rampion 1. Well, that is what the rating plate says, but that’s only when the wind blows in the correct range. The Rampion 1 farm is off Shoreham and Worthing, but the new farm is planned to be located behind the first field and next to it, going all the way past Littlehampton. In addition, the wind turbines are also more than twice the height of the existing ones. Soon the whole country will be surrounded by windmills, and we won’t be able to go past the band.
A few weeks ago, I told you about the little fiddle that Qatar Airways had been using to get an additional daily flight to Australia. It seems that Qatar have applied for additional flight slots, but this was virulently opposed by Australian airline Qantas and the application for additional slots was rejected. But Qatar Airways are not happy and have retaliated by removing the special cheap fares that Qantas employees had on Qatar flights. I predict a load of disappointed Aussies now their 90% discounts have gone.
Today Transport for London have announced another 65km of roads with 20 mph limits on them. Yesterday it was Welsh idiot PM Mark DucksandDrakeford who was converting more Welsh roads to 20 mph. The Welsh PM says it is because of safety and climate change. What a load of BS, why don’t they admit that they are anti-car and get the man with a red flag walking in front of every car? They could give that job to every illegal immigrant.
Another bit of news out today is prices are continuing to fall while wages are continuing to rise. The wage increases for August has hit 8.5% which is good news for pensioners as under the triple lock they would be entitled to receive the higher of inflation, wage increase or 2.5% and at the moment that looks like being wages. But that is a lot of money, and it will have to be found by government from taxes. The basic ‘new state pension’ is currently £203.85p a week and is paid every four weeks or 13 times a year, so that’s about £70 every four weeks.
I understand that a 70-year-old woman has just won the National Lottery prize of £10,000 a month for 30 years. I have always wondered about this particular lottery competition, to benefit fully the woman will have to live to 100. I always wonder what happens if the person dies within weeks of winning the prize, is it possible to leave its remainder to someone in a will? Or are the National Lottery rubbing their hands together as the remaining money goes into their coffers? The other thing I wonder about is £10,000 a month is quite nice today but with inflation, what is it going to be worth in 10 or 20 years’ time. Why would anyone over say 50 ever enter this particular lottery?
The North Korean leader Kim LongUn has travelled to Russia to meet with President PooTin. Great Leader Kim is rarely seen out of the country where he always has immense security protection. In fact, I believe that it is four years since he last put a foot outside North Korea and that was also to meet PooTin. Kim has travelled in his armoured train which is so heavy that it needs three locomotives to haul and even then can only do 37 mph. Kim is said to be scared of flying and refuses to trust his life to the very old Soviet-era airliners North Korea possesses. Another problem is that North Korea and Russia have different railway gauges and when the train has previously visited the Russian Far East it has changed bogies at the border and then been hauled by Russian locomotives. PooTin is already in the Russian Far East, and it is speculated that the meeting is to take place at the Vostochny Cosmodrome. The press has speculated that they will discuss Russia buying arms from North Korea, but Russia is a signatory of the UN ban on arms trading with North Korea due to its development of nuclear weapons.
It’s back to sunny this morning, nowhere near as warm as last week but still very pleasant. It’s PMQ’s today and I anticipate more fun today, I bet Sir Beer Korma has a go about the triple lock and how “the next Liebore government” will fully support it. Then I expect the Rich Boy hits back over all the Liebore promises that are “fully costed” but for which there are no details.
Yesterday Babcock International announced that it was to cooperate with Saab over the design of a new corvette. Now why are they designing a corvette when the Royal Navy gave up on this class of ship many years ago (1950s?). They operated many of these small warships during World War 2 because they were quick and cheap to build and were small enough to be constructed by small commercial yards that had no naval shipbuilding experience. But they were phased out in favour of the larger frigates that were better armed and able to undertake much longer missions. Babcock say the aim is to offer the export of a modern version of the ship with up-to-date armaments and sensors. Many nations do operate modern corvettes, mainly those who don’t have blue seas capabilities, but the biggest operator of corvettes is Russia. I don’t think that is an export market.
The new Shadow Secretary for Sport, Thangham Debbonaire, has admitted that she has never been to a football or rugby match. I don’t know if she has been to a cricket match. But how can you have someone in such a position who has never been to see at least two of our national sports? Debbonaire is the MP for Bristol West, and Bristol has two EFL teams and Bristol Bears play Rugby at its highest domestic level. How can she have been an MP in the city for over 10 years and never been to a match? Obviously, she has no interest in sport.
Today I read that a small cruise ship has run aground in Greenland. The Ocean Explorer, with 206 passengers on board, ran aground on Monday in Alpefjord in the remote northeast of the island. But what I find astonishing is that the Danish Navy say they have dispatched a rescue frigate, but it won’t be there until Friday as it is over 1,300 miles away! It’s a good job the ship is said to be in no danger of sinking. Perhaps Denmark should invest in a couple of those Babcock/Saab Corvettes and station them in Greenland.
I really have to laugh when I hear these ‘experts’ on the TV and radio blaming every natural disaster on climate change. The summer wildfires in Greece were all blamed on climate change, but I now read that over 80 people have been arrested for arson. The latest storms in Libya have caused devastation because two dams collapsed, and the resulting flood washed away half a town. But now I read that the dams have not been maintained in years. Finally, this morning I heard someone blaming the Moroccan earthquake as being down to man-made climate change. Just how is that possible? How has man influenced the movement of tectonic plates? This is utter green claptrap.
I was delighted to see that Sad Dicks ULEZ camera vans are being attacked by Londoners. I see pictures on the internet of vans covered in graffiti, especially across the windscreen, other pictures of the vans with their tyres let down and paint sprayed over their cameras. Over the last few months over 500 ULEZ cameras have been wreaked, but only two people have been arrested and only one has been charged. Sad Dick seems to be failing.
There was a picture of Princess Kate in this morning’s paper with one of her fingers taped to another as doctors often do with a minor break. There is no word on whether it is broken but the news is she injured it while playing on a trampoline with the kids in the garden. I bet she is a smashing mum who plays with the kids and reads them bedtime stories. If I wasn’t the Chief Mouser here at No. 10, I think I would be happy living with them, even if they do have a dog.
Well, it’s chilly again this morning, I even woke up in the middle of the night and felt cold, so I manoeuvred myself under my tartan cat blanket. No, the blanket is tartan, not the cat! At least the sun’s out now and it is supposed to be going to be a bit warmer later today.
So, Sir Beer Korma is off to Europe to talk to Europol and French President Macaroni about illegal immigrants crossing the Channel in small boats. I really can’t make head nor tail of his plans; he says he wants a new intelligence-sharing agreement with Europol. I’m not sure why Europol would want a new agreement, they are a political grouping, and we are a third party who left the group. I suspect they would only want us back if we paid them loads of money. Then it’s on to Macaroni to talk about a ‘returns’ agreement. Korma’s bright idea seems to be they take back boat people and we take ‘fully vetted’ refugees. Why would France ever agree to this? Well, I can only think we would either have to pay them even more money or take more ‘refugees’ than we send back. This is an extremely stupid idea and a gift for the Tories.
I read that the RAC are boasting they have come up with a brainwave to sort out electric vehicles that have run out of battery power. They say that lugging around a 750 Kg battery in the back of their recovery vans is impractical. So, they have come up the idea of turning the van’s diesel engine into a charger by adding an alternator and a controller and putting some charge into the EVs battery. I see a couple of problems, the charger is very slow, adding only 11 miles of charge in 30 minutes. If you run out of battery power in a remote place or even on a motorway this is hardly likely to get you to a fast or rapid charger any time soon. You are effectively charging with a diesel generator which isn’t very green and won’t work when the RAC swap all their vans over to battery power as the government wants.
So, the EU has finally fallen in that their domestically produced EVs are too expensive and people are favouring cheaper imports from China. What is the EU planning to do about it, well it seems they want to make people pay more for the Chinese EVs, not less for domestically produced EVs. The EU is moaning that the Chinese manufacturers benefit from government subsidies, lower standards and above all cheap electricity. Well, the EU has chosen to go ‘Green’ and cut out cheap coal-fired power generation, in addition they impose higher standards, particularly in employment regulations. Of course, they could subsidise their own manufacturing but that would mean higher taxes. So, what’s the answer? Well, it looks like an increase in the current import duty from 10% to nearer the 27% charged by the USA. I wonder how the Chinese would react to that; I rather suspect EU exports to China will take a big hit.
RAF pilots of Typhoon fighters are to get new night vision helmets to replace the night vision goggles they currently use. The NV goggles have some problems like they are a bit awkward to wear as they tend to be like mini binoculars and offer limited peripheral vision. The new helmet made by BAE Systems has a visor, similar to those currently used in daylight, but automatically switches between day and night mode presenting the pilot with a colour, HD head-up display of what is surrounding him, changing as he turns his head. BAE has not revealed how much an individual helmet costs but it is believed to be comparable to the cost of an American manufacturer’s helmet paired with the F-35s we are buying which is about £350,000 each.
By the time you read this, Amazon will have made a big change to same-day deliveries and will be introducing a £1.99 charge for goods costing under £20, which is I suppose is still pretty cheap to get something delivered the same day. But don’t forget you have already paid £95 a year (or £8.99 a month) for Amazon Prime. However, for that you do also get Prime streaming TV and their music streaming service. Mind you how much is available on same day delivery already seems to depend on where you live, it seems to mainly be in the big towns. My scribe says where he lives in Worthing very little is available on same-day delivery; it is nearly all next-day delivery which is pretty good compared to most other companies.
Back in 2017 archaeologists found a small Roman burial chamber at the side of the A2 on what is believed to be the route of the Roman road that ran between the Roman ports of Dover and Richborough. As a result, when developers applied to build new housing with an access road leading to a new roundabout on the A2 which was over the site, the local council made it a proviso of permission that the site should be thoroughly excavated first. Now they have unearthed a unique statue that is believed to be the sea god Triton, the son of Poseidon. The statue shows Triton, who is half man and half fish, riding on a sea monster.
It’s yet another lovely morning here in London, pleasantly warm and sunny. A good start to the day as on returning from my constitutional, I found delicious Felix Chicken in my bowl, with a bit of KFC added to it. The guys and girls in the office had a delivery last night that included several of those big party buckets and I suspect there was some left over. I did get some bits last night, one of the girls gave me some of the skin from her bits that she wouldn’t eat. Nothing like that goes to waste when the Chief Mouser is about.
You remember me telling you about the Ukraine using cardboard drones against Russia? Well, I have learnt a couple of interesting snippets of news about them. So far, the Aussies have gifted Ukraine over 600 of them and the Australian Government purchase has allowed the manufacturers to upgrade tooling and to produce a new larger model that can carry 6Kg and a new heavy lift quadcopter. The Aussie makers say that to make them even harder to detect the Ukrainians have stopped using remote control and instead preprogramme the flight and use GPS. They now cut holes in the bottom of the drone and poke GoPro camera lenses through them. The drones overfly targets and take photos on a timer before turning for home at a waypoint. The digital pictures can then be downloaded when the drones land. I also hear a British company is in talks to add a U.K. manufacturing capacity and sell to Europe.
I have been hearing more on the flight plan that crashed the U.K. National Air Traffic Control system last bank holiday. What I hear is that the airline French Bee filed a flight plan for a plane travelling from Los Angeles to Paris. The flight included several waypoints, including Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin and Deauville, Normandy. Oddly both these points have the same identity code of DVL. The primary NATS system couldn’t reconcile two waypoints with the same code and calculated that this was an error and closed itself down to protect itself. The backup system then did a similar calculation and also shut itself down causing the chaos. I don’t know if the NATS software has been changed or if one of the waypoints have been renamed, but I do hear that other country’s air traffic control systems have been in a mad panic to sort out their systems to stop a similar problem ever occurring. Wouldn’t it be a lot simpler to ensure that no two waypoints have the same three-letter code?
Holland America Line’s cruise ship Nieuw Statendam has docked for the first time in Dover this week. Next summer it will join the numerous cruise ships that sail from British ports and will be offering a raft of short and long trips from Dover. I hear that the ship’s maiden port call was celebrated with water jets, music and dancers. But what interested me was that the guests were served with ‘local delicacies’ and I wondered what they were. The only real one I can think of would be Dover sole. Perhaps it could be stretched a bit and include Kentish ale, Whitstable oysters and Kentish blue cheese. Mind you, add a few chips and you could make a decent meal.
I see video and pictures on the internet of utter chaos at the McDonald’s delivery kitchen at Orpington, Kent. One photo alone showed 31 bags of food waiting to be collected, but the video panned around showing many, many more. The normal procedure for places producing takeaways being picked up by the likes of Deliveroo or Just Eat is for the items to be put into individual bags and these bags to be put together in a big bag. The big bag is then double-bagged and sealed or stapled shut. Drinks are put in separate bags and a copy of the order is stapled to the bag with its number and address. But something has clearly gone wrong here. Drivers are searching to find the right order and food is getting cold, it is a huge disaster and although the kitchen was turning out the food, the delivery companies were clearly overwhelmed. Perhaps the order shouldn’t have been processed before someone was there to deliver it?
Have you watched any of the matches in the Rugby Union World Cup in France? I have caught one or two of the games on the TV in the No. 10 office. What has stood out to me has not been the play but the murdering of the national anthems before the matches. They are playing recorded versions sung by school choirs and God are they awful. The rendition of ‘Land of My Fathers’ before the Wales game was appalling. The complaints have been loud and numerous. I did hear that the organisers had been trying to soften the macho image of the sport. Now they are going to change the recordings before matches. I wait to see if the new versions are any better.
Scotland have made a change to their Rugby World Cup squad following their front rower Dave Cherry who had an accident at the squad hotel. Cherry is reported to have fallen down a flight of stairs and hit his head suffering a concussion. Consequently, he has to undergo the Concussion Protocol and will have to sit out a minimum of 12 days. This has allowed Scottishland to call in a concussion substitute. Knowing the reputation for rugby players to enjoy a beer I wonder if he was sober at the time.
Good morning people, pleasantly sunny and warm again but I fear that according to the woman on the TV it is going to rain tomorrow. The discussion around here for the past days has been should we ban the XL Bully dog? In the end the Rich Boy has decided he has to act, and they will be banned just as soon as the breed can be defined. Personally, I think that most dogs need to be banned. It would be a much nicer world without many of the mangy creatures. I will make an exception for well-trained working dogs, there is a place for sheepdogs and guide dogs but what is the use of an XL Bully?
The American, privately owned, fast-food company Chick-fil-A is talking about returning to the U.K. on a permanent basis, with initial plans to open five U.K. stores. Chick-fil-A is one of the big fast-food companies in the US market and is known best for its ‘Chicken Sandwich’. It’s not anything like any chicken sandwich you would buy in the U.K., it is a breaded Chicken breast fillet in a soft bread bun. But the Yanks think that is a sandwich. You might remember it has opened ‘pop-up’ stores for a short while in British cities like Edinburgh. But back in 2019 they opened a ‘pop-up’ store in Reading, but it only had a six-month lease which it didn’t renew. Apparently, trade was excellent, but they got into trouble with the LBGT+ community when the American owner came out against gay marriage and there were regular protests outside the shop, and it seems they couldn’t be bothered to fight a battle with the gay community at the time.
I hear of parking confusion at St Neots station. It seems that the actual station car park is operated by Euro Car Parks, but it shares an entrance with Apcoa who have a nearby car park and the signage and ticket machines are close to each other. Euro have recently been issuing £100 fines to people who thought they had paid and displayed but had actually bought tickets for the next door Apcoa car park. Apcoa say they are not to blame, as it is not them that has been issuing tickets. If so many people are getting it wrong, there is clearly something wrong with the signage.
The Air France/KLM joint venture airline is preparing to withdraw draw 20-year-old Airbus A330s and even older Boeing 777s and are looking for 50 widebody aircraft. They have already got rid of their 747 and A380 fleets which have been replaced by a mix of A350 and Boeing 787. Two clues as to which manufacturer they might be looking to are that they are currently setting up a major A350 spare part and maintenance business with Airbus and that due to the war in Ukraine they need long-haul aircraft with more range than the 787 as they have to fly long diversions around Ukraine and Russian air space.
While on the subject of aircraft, Spain has for some time been trying to decide what fighter aircraft it should purchase to replace its old Boeing F/A 18 Hornets. Boeing had of course been pushing the latest version of the F/A 18. However, it seems that Spain has ordered 25 of the latest version of the Eurofighter Typhoon and that is excellent news for BAE and Rolls-Royce as a goodly chunk of the $1.5 billion order will be coming their way.
It looks like the next big group to go on strike is going to be workers in Scottishland schools. This is not teachers but other workers like caretakers, support workers (teaching assistants) and clerical staff. Three unions are involved; Unite, GMB and Unison, who have turned down an offer from the local councils’ negotiating body, Cosla, that was worth just a few pounds short of £2,000 a year and instead are threatening an initial three-day strike starting on 26th of this month. The strike will affect 26 of the 32 local authorities in Scottishland, the unions failed to achieve negotiating rights in the other six councils’ areas, but Cosla negotiates for all 32 council areas. It is nice to see that the Rich Boy has absolutely no interest in this dispute, education is a devolved power, and on this dispute the ball is firmly in Humza Useless’s court.
I read with interest that because the landing craft and the submarine taken out while under maintenance in Crimea were in dry dock, the Royal Navy doesn’t consider them to have been sunk. Apparently, the damage to them is such that if they had been at sea, they would have sunk but as they were in a dry dock that had been drained, the landing craft is considered by the RN to have been ‘damaged beyond repair’, while the submarine is ‘heavily damaged’ and would need several years and £300 million to repair it – about what it cost to build. I wonder how long the dry dock will be out of use for?
That’s me done for this week, and the weather in London is wonderful today with a clear blue sky. I’m off to laze on my favourite windowsill. I’ll be back with you all again next week.
© WorthingGooner 2023