Good morning everyone from a sunny but chilly Downing Street. I had a very pleasant weekend lazing around, mind I had to dodge a couple of heavy showers. Those folks in the office ordered in more KFC on Saturday night and I got thrown a few bits. I think I like the thigh meat best; it is nice and juicy. I could get used to the office staff making Saturday evening KFC a regular thing.
My favourite story of the weekend is the battle between the marchers outside Parliament on Saturday. The Remoaners were having a ‘re-join’ march attended by a couple of hundred idiots dressed up in EU flags when they bumped into a pro-XL Bully march and they all started shouting at each other. I just wish I had been there to see them. I would have run past all those dogs and into the middle of the Remoaners hoping the dogs would chase me. Now that would have been fun because I would have been safe up a tree and the dogs would be scattering the Remoaners all over the place.
I hear that Sad Dick’s wonderful ULEZ scheme has a bit of a flaw, in that its database is only updated every four weeks. This means that if you sell a non-compliant vehicle and its new owner uses it in London in the first month they own it, you are likely to get a bill. But it is the story of a plumber that has brought this to my attention. His business runs a fleet of vans, and the company is registered with TfL because of the Congestion Charge. He recently bought personalised number plates for four of his vans and in the first week realised he had been charged £455 on his TfL account. It seems that the TfL cameras read the personal number plates as being from years that fell outside the ULEZ schemes recognition for compliant vehicles despite them being attached to compliant vehicles. TfL’s excuse was their database hadn’t been updated and they have promised to refuse him. Why can’t it be updated from the DVLC database daily?
Apparently, the viewing figures for the BBC’s Football Focus on a Saturday lunchtime has fallen alarmingly over the last couple of seasons. What could possibly be the reason for this? Well, two seasons ago they dumped the male presenters and brought in ex-England Ladies player Alex Scott. I’m not sure the problem is Miss Scott who is reasonably competent, but rather at the same time the programme went woke. It now reports on things like Forrest Green Rovers being an all-vegan club and selling vegetable pies instead of steak and kidney and England Ladies switching from white to blue shorts because of periods. Even if they sack Alex Scott the viewing figures won’t get any better until they drop the whole woke agenda.
I wonder if the armed police in Downing Street are going to hand in their guns in protest of the copper who shot someone who was charged with murder. I don’t know much about the case and probably wouldn’t be able to talk about it if I did, but the undisputed facts seem to be the policeman shot the man in the head and he died the next day. The car the dead man was driving had been on the police computer as being associated with gun crime and had been followed by an unmarked police car. The incident occurred when the police stopped the car, and the man was shot.
An interesting tale reaches me about the East Moray wind farm which can supposedly generate 950 Mw from its 100 turbines. Apparently, it has earned the owners £1.1 billion since it was commissioned by using a little trick. It was supposed to be generating under a contract for difference it has signed which paid £25.75 per Mw hour and would have earned them about £350 million. But they activated a clause in the contract and have postponed the start of the CfD contract and instead have been paid at the spot rates, which has given the owners an extra £700 million. So basically, they have legally ripped off the consumer.
I hear that the England national women’s angling team is refusing to take part in the Women’s World Championships because a trans woman has been allowed to apply for selection for the Shore Angling World Championships in Italy in November. Becky Lee Birtwhistle Hodges was born a man, used to play rugby and is said to be able to cast a line over twice the distance of any of the females. This is not the first time this fuss has blown up with this person’s selection, there was a similar row three months ago in the British Championship. If you have separate men and women’s teams in a sport, there is normally a reason, and it is usually to do with strength.
It’s not as nice a day today as yesterday here in London. It is overcast and very dull, but still not too cold. I see that Suella Braverman is in the States today and is supposed to be making a speech saying the UN Refugee Convention needs to be modernised. It was drawn up in 1950 when the world was a very different place. It was meant to protect the people of the world from persecution like the Jews under Hitler and was a product of its time. Now it is being abused by thousands who claim persecution because they are gay so they can get into the U.K. when they are really economic migrants. I can see countries like Australia, the USA, France, Germany, Italy and Greece supporting her, but it will those shipping out their unwanted millions that object?”
A lovely story from Canada where Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is visiting. The Canadian President Trudeau gave a speech in Parliament praising a Canadian man of nearly 100, who had served in World War Two. The man got a round of applause from the assembled parliamentarians. Only later did it emerge that the man had served in the German army.
Amazon Video has announced that as of next spring subscribers will get advertisements with their streamed programmes. Like ITVX it’s all a means of making more money from the adverts, and again like ITVX you will be able to pay more and get an advert-free service. Admittedly it’s only another £2.99 a month, but it all adds up. While on the subject of streaming TV programmes I hear that next year a new streaming service, ‘Freely’, is to be launched and it should be built into TV sets rather like Freeview. It will start with the basic BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 channels as well as several other channels, yet to be announced. It is expected to grow in a similar manner to Freeview.
I told you a couple of weeks ago that Air France-KLM were about to place a substantial order for widebody jets. I also hinted strongly that the order would go to Airbus. Well, as usual your cat correspondent was on the ball. Yesterday the consortium placed an order for 50 Airbus A350s, a mix of -900s and -1000s. They also took an option on another 40 A350s. Air France-KLM will add these aircraft to a big order they are currently receiving of the planes from Airbus. They currently have received 22 of a 41-plane order. Even without the options they will become the world’s biggest operator of the A350 with 91 planes.
I have been trying to keep you up to date with the problems in Scottishland schools, but it’s not terribly easy as education is a reserved power and no one in Downing Street is very much interested. But I learn that two of the unions are putting the offer to their members while the third, Unison, has rejected it out of hand and is striking today. So, in the areas where that union is strong, schools will be closed as there will be no support staff such as canteen staff, janitors, teaching assistants and administrators. The rejected offer was for around £2,000 per person, that’s an awful lot of Felix dinners.
Have you seen the videos on the internet of the latest tactics being employed against the ULEZ camera vans? It seems that the Blade Runners have taken to following the vans around and they stop behind blocking the view from the van’s roof-mounted camera. To do this they use tall vans or cars which “break down” and raise their tailgates to get their breakdown triangle out and leave it up. To try to counter this Sad Dicks vans now have minders in an unmarked car riding shotgun. I hate to think how much this is costing TfL, it can’t be cheap. But these guards have no legal rights so are being ignored.
Rolls-Royce have reported that they have managed to run a jet engine at maximum take-off power running on hydrogen. The engine was a Pearl 700, a two-stage turbofan, as used in smaller business jets like the Gulfstream series. It is also being installed on the refurbished USAF B-52 bomber where eight will be used in pairs. I suppose this is good news considering the problems they have had to overcome such as hydrogen burning hotter and quicker than traditional jet fuel. But now they will have to work out how to transport it in planes safely, in the volume required and at a low enough cost on the plane’s manufacturing. One other major challenge is producing enough hydrogen cheaply enough.
Well, when I woke up it was still very dull, I thought Storm Agnes had hit but it was just daybreak getting later. I am assured that Agnes is not coming to London and so far it’s just dull and still pleasantly warm. I must say I agreed with Suella Braverman yesterday something has to be done about the number of illegal immigrants. But I am not surprised to see that the Left think she is the Devil incarnate, while the Right praised her. I hate to think how many immigrants a Sir Beer Korma government would let into the country.
Since the Rich Boy announced his changes to ‘green’ policies I have been keeping an eye on the opinion polls, and there has been a large swing to the Tories. The Liebore lead that was as much as 24% is now down to 16% that’s a swing of 8% in a week! The media was almost unanimous in its assessment that the change was going to be a disaster, but this is clearly not the case with the public obviously happy with the policy change. The Rich Boy now needs to find a couple more big policy differences with Liebore and see if he can get the polls back to a closer number, maybe plugging Liebore’s love of illegal immigrants and the EU.
Some interesting numbers are out on the number of weekday travellers on the trains in London. Thameslink now carries only 20 million passengers down from 30 million, and SouthEastern’s numbers are down from 15 million to 10 million on pre-Covid numbers. The Tube’s numbers are not quite so bad they are now at 85% of pre-Covid levels. This is the result of people working from home. I wonder what the long-term effect is going to be on London, will we see less office development? I also wonder if this is limited to London, I don’t see similar numbers being reported for Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh. Is this because it is not being repeated there or is it just not being reported?
A tale reaches me from Glasgow where a garage owner is to sue the city council and the government. The garage, that specialises in repairing old cars, is located 200 yards inside the Glasgow Low Emissions Zone so it makes it almost impossible for him to carry on business. Unlike the London ULEZ zone, you cannot pay £12.50p to enter it with a non-compliant car you just get a £60 fine, which doubles after a short while and then doubles again if not paid promptly. Glasgow estimates that the LEX will raise £1.5 billion but this is not enough. They are now looking at also introducing a congestion charge. What are they planning to spend the money on? Well, greening the M8 and putting a 20mph limit on it has been proposed. Wouldn’t they be better off sorting out the giant rats that the bin man strike brought?
Two other fallouts from the Glasgow LEZ are intriguing. Over 600 of the council’s vehicles don’t comply with the LEZ and the council emissions standards and they have had to hire in replacement vehicles at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds. I also read that the LEZ has caused the virtual collapse of the night-time industry as people can’t drive into work and there is almost no overnight transport. This transport situation is also being ruined by the council seizing private hire cars that enter the zone against the rules. And it’s not going to get any better, as half the city’s black cabs are currently on a year’s exemption from the LEZ charge and will have to be replaced.
Meta Platforms, the owners of Facebook, have just paid British Land £149 million to break its lease on One, Triton Square, an eight-storey building near Regents Park. Meta had an 18-year lease on the building but had never occupied it. Instead, after refurbishing the building they sublet it and have now paid what is believed to be the equivalent of seven years rent to break the lease. Meta already occupies a building at nearby 10, at Brock Street where it has recently expanded to all 10 floors.
The Ford Motor Company has had second thoughts on its $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery factory in Michigan. The idea was they were going to use Chinese battery technology to make cheaper lithium iron phosphate batteries. But they have been lent on by politicians for using Chinese technology. Two congressional committees had launched investigations into the automaker’s licensing deal. In addition, the Union of Autoworkers has just begun a strike against Ford, GM and Stellantis. The announcement has come on the same day as Sniffer Joe was due to visit the strikers and give them his support. Can you imagine a leader of the U.K. siding with strikers?
London might have missed Storm Agnes but is very dull in the city this morning while still being reasonably warm. So, Sir Beer Korma has performed another ‘flip-flop’ and has announced he will not remove the charitable status of private schools. I wonder if someone has pointed out to him that forcing tens of thousands of pupils out of private education will load them onto the state education system and it just doesn’t have the spare capacity.
It is not only the U.K. that has U-turned on some of the ‘green crap’. I hear that the French having already banned gas boilers in new homes have dropped the intended ban on them being sold completely that had been announced for 2025. The Froggy Government has admitted that heat pumps are too expensive, too inefficient and they don’t have enough electricity. Besides, the Elysée Palace has just had a new gas boiler installed at the cost of €100,000 despite the government saying that heat pumps are the preferred solution. Apparently, a government spokesman said it wasn’t an option for the Elysée Palace as it would have meant ripping out all the existing pipe work in what is the French equivalent of a listed building. Well, that seems to be what ordinary froggy citizens were expected to do before the U-turn.
The regulator has given permission for the development of the Rosebank oil field 80 miles west of the Shetlands. The field is said to contain some 500 million barrels of recoverable oil which is not a massive oil field, but in the U.K. we consume around 1,200,000 a day so on its own it could keep us going for well over a year, but it is not on its own. In addition, it will give employment to 1,600 people and bring in ‘significant’ income to the Treasury. Of course, the Greens are up in arms, but interestingly the Liebore lot say that they would not reverse the decision. I had to laugh when I heard ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ had come out against the decision. Do they expect the workers on the oilfield to be shitting directly into the sea?
I told you a bit back about the problems that London Northwestern Railway had on its Bletchley to Bedford (Marston Vale) Line when the company that supplied and maintained the trains used on the line called in the liquidator. This meant they could no longer operate the Class 230 trains as they had no specialist knowledge of the trains, and the service was suspended 10 months ago, and a replacement bus service offered instead. Well, I have some good news for the users of this service LNR has acquired 3 x Class 150 Sprinter trains from West Midland Trains and services will return to serve the line’s 12 stations. LNR are currently testing the repainted trains on the lines and undertaking driver training.
I read that Sniffer Joe’s German Shepherd dog, Commander, has bitten its 11th Secret Service agent. If a ‘normal’ person had a dog that bit people left, right and centre it would be put down so why not this out-of-control hound? But what made me laugh was the White House spokesman who said that living in the White House ‘could be very stressful’. How do dogs get stressed?
I hear that Asian hornets have made it as far as North Yorkshire where they have been found in a beehive. Apparently, they kill and eat bees. But what tickled me was reading in The Guardian that we mustn’t call them Asian hornets as that is racist! What rubbish, Asian hornets originate from Asia and are a different, more aggressive and smaller strain of hornets than the indigenous European hornets. I wonder what we should call them to distinguish them, European Hornets? ‘Nasty bastards’ springs to mind.
I am seeing pictures of huge piles of uncollected rubbish building up in Tower Hamlets where the bin men are on strike. There are huge heaps of black bin bags and other rubbish piled up and they are infested with rats, and this is only the second week of the strike. Two hundred bin men walked out on the 18th of September on what was supposed to be a two-week strike, but I hear it has now been extended to the 15th of October as a deal on the demanded wage increase has not been met. The council has offered the workers the nationally agreed increase of £1,925 each but this has been rejected by the union who say it is not enough with high inflation.
Well, it’s a better morning, nice and sunny and nicely warm and I have just enjoyed my bowl of Felix and a drink of water. I had a chuckle at a BBC headline this morning, it said, “European oldest shoe found in bat cave.” I wonder who it belonged to, Batman, Robin or Alfred the Butler. I suppose it could have been a visitor who lost a shoe like Cinderella. Pity they don’t say whether it was a man’s or woman’s shoe.
I understand that Ryanair is cutting a number of services because they do not have the planes to operate them. This is the problems at Boeing catching up on them. The fuselage of the Boeing 737Max range are made by Spirit Aviation in Wichita and sent by train to Boeing to assemble the planes in Seattle. Well, Spirit have had problems with quality and have failed to meet targets, added to that Boeing themselves have had production delays and have had to repair many of the planes they have produced before supplying them to customers. Ryanair have been told they will only receive 14 of the 27 aircraft Boeing are supposed to deliver this year. I bet Ryanair have a clause in their contract regarding delayed deliveries and it will cost Boeing dearly.
Horrible news of the schoolgirl killed on her way to her private schools in Croydon. There are a couple of odd things about this killing, firstly that it was a 15-year-old girl who was killed – it is normally boys. Secondly, she appears to have come from an upper-middle-class family. From what I read; she seems to have been attacked by an old boy whose advances she rejected. But what didn’t surprise me was that she was black, the vast majority of people killed in knife crime seem to be black. I hear that this was the 16th teenager stabbed to death in London so far this year, beating the 14 in the whole of last year.
I understand that there is a lot of confusion at the moment around the operation of the 4.25-tonne electric vans currently arriving on the British market and the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) say many orders are being cancelled because no one is sure what the rules around operating them are. The top weight of van used to be 3.5 tonnes but in 2018 under an EU derogation this was increased to 4.25 for five years. The U.K. law was changed so that the weight limit for Category B driving licence holders driving alternative-fuel vehicles (AFVs) could be increased from 3.5t to 4.25t. Such vehicles are also exempt from O licence rules. When the five years ran out in May this year the Department for Transport said the rules would remain in place. The problem is the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) believes the vehicles have been deregulated from all of the operator responsibilities that normally apply to vans over 3.5 tonnes. However, the Driver Vehicle Standards Authority (DVSA) and the DfT, meanwhile, believe some responsibilities still apply. What utter nonsense, they need to get their act together. It’s no wonder people are cancelling orders if the rule regarding operating them is not clear.
The BBC has announced a new rule for all programme presenters that they cannot pronounce on politics or political parties while the programme or series of programmes is on the air and for two weeks before it airs or two weeks after. As Match of the Day airs for much of the year, this should firmly gag Gary Lineker if he carries on as the programme’s lead presenter. Now he is in a dilemma, does he want the money or his freedom to attack the Tories?
An amusing tale reaches me from the Hangleton area of Brighton where electric vehicle charging bays have been installed bang outside the local parish church. In addition, the electrical junction box for the bays has been installed right in the middle of the only path into the church. The local parishioners have pointed out that charging bays are now in the exact spot where vehicles dropping people off at the church stop at the end of the path. So, hearses bringing bodies to funeral must now park much further away and the path is blocked by the junction box. The same applies to brides and disabled members of the community. The council has now instructed the contractor to stop work and remove the junction box. I wonder who signed off on this stupidity in the first place?
For today’s last story I bring the tale of the Aston Villa 23/24 playing kit. This season’s design is made by someone I have ever heard of called Castore. I thought football kit came from the likes of Nike and Adidas. Anyway, the Villa players are complaining that the fabric the kit is made from retains sweat and by the end of a game it is soaking wet, clinging to them and is causing them problems. Now the Villa Women’s team have joined in complaining that they don’t like the clingy nature of the new kit. The proposed answer is for Castore to make replacement shirts for Aston Villa in a different material, perhaps the one they sell to fans as replica shirts.
Good morning peeps and it’s a lovely day here in Westminster, are we going to get a nice weekend to let us into the winter gently? I see a big opinion poll in the Mail this morning confirming what everyone I hear has been saying, that if the Tories want to win the next election the only way they can do it is by being more Conservative and not moving to the left of Liebore.
I hear the people of Southampton are revolting. Back in January, City Red, one of the city’s two bus companies withdrew from operating services in the city leaving Bluestar as the city’s only operator. People are complaining that the buses are now unreliable, often late, missing and breaking down. One father who said that his children were late for school almost every day due to late running complained to the company and was told it was ‘because the driver was on a break’. The passengers blame crappy old buses ‘only fit for Bangladesh’, but I wonder how much the recently introduced 20 mph zones and the masses of road works in the city are making.
Nick Adderley, the Northampton Chief Constable, is being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for wearing a Falklands War combat service medal. He has been pictured regularly wearing the South Atlantic medal and rosette, which is awarded to anyone who served in the Falklands combat zone in 1982. But he certainly did not serve in the Falklands as he was only 15 at the time. A press release issued by the Northamptonshire force in July also made mention of him serving in the Falklands during his 10-year career in the Royal Navy, but it has since been deleted. Apparently, he was a sea cadet at the time of the Falklands War but did go on to serve in the Navy. Why on earth would he want to lie about his past?
I hear that a report into several recent breakdowns of the Sky Mobile telephone network blames work being done to comply with the Government’s order to remove Chinese Huawei equipment from its network’s core. Although Sky Mobile is basically a virtual network running over the O2 network they do have some equipment of their own and it is the ripping out and replacing of this that has caused several outages. Huawei are having a tough time at the moment convincing countries that their mobile network equipment doesn’t contain equipment to spy on calls and the government of the USA, U.K. and EU have all demanded their equipment be ripped out.
For the first time in its history the NHS has decided to introduce standard coloured uniforms to make it easier for patients to recognise who they are dealing with. For example, nurses will wear cloud blue with navy trim scrubs. Fair enough that makes sense, but patients are going to have to have super memories as there are 26 different colour combinations to identify the different professions from matron (purple with navy trim) to allied health professionals which are mainly ruby with different trims to indicate the individual profession such as speech therapist or radiographer. God help anyone who is colourblind.
The U.K. consumes 2,000,000 tins of baked beans a day, but the haricot beans are all imported from the US, Canada and China as until now it has proved impossible to grow them in the British climate. Now I hear that a new strain has been developed that scientists said would grow in the U.K. This summer a 13-acre field in Lincolnshire was sown with them as a test and I understand that they have just been harvested and it has been a big success. Just think what a difference that will make to our balance of payments if we don’t have to import all those tonnes of beans.
On Thursday afternoon London’s Tower Bridge opened to let a sailing barge through but got stuck open for over 30 minutes, causing traffic chaos in the surrounding streets. Yesterday the engineers were busy working on its ancient mechanism, and it was up and down on numerous occasions as they put their repairs through a series of tests, causing yet further traffic problems. It is supposed to be fixed now, but only time will tell.
That’s me done for this week, and as the weather in London is rather sunny today with a clear blue sky and it’s warm enough in the sun to snooze in, I’m off to laze on my favourite windowsill. I’ll be back with you all again next week.
© WorthingGooner 2023