Larry’s Diary – Week Two Hundred And Twenty-Eight


Good morning friends from your favourite cat reporter. I’m all set for a week of the scuttlebutt from the corridors of Number 10. I nearly wrote ‘corridors of power’ but thought better of it. The rumour over the weekend was that the Tory Party right wing was looking at anointing Penny Mordent PM after a coup kicked out the Rich Boy. Fortunately, she is far too woke to be leader, so that just isn’t going to happen.

I hear that the Victoria and Albert Museum has launched an exhibition of the world’s most hated leaders. It included all those you would expect, including Hitler, and Osama Bin Lorry. But the big surprise was it also includes Margaret Thatcher! Now she was elected PM three times so was obviously hated by the left, but she didn’t murder millions of her people and was loved by millions of voters. I somehow think this is the V&A showing its left-wing socialist leanings.

What is happening to Freesat TV? At the moment it seems to be losing channels hand over fist. It was launched in 2008 by BBC and ITV as a free alternative to paying for satellite TV from Sky. The big problem is that it has stagnated and has lost out to terrestrial Freeview. It has already lost most of its sports channels and the last one closes at the end of the month. It will soon be losing all its music channels when Channel 4 pulls its remaining channels later this year. There are only three film channels left and two children’s channels. I rather suspect it is being left to wither on the vine and it is not long for this world.

Interesting news coming out of Turkey. You probably remember they had an order for 100 F-35A fighters cancelled by the US when they purchased S400 anti-aircraft missiles from Russia. It seems that had paid a large deposit and under an offset agreement Turkey were to manufacture 900 parts for each F-35. Talks have been ongoing to get their money back but have so far been unsuccessful. Turkey has also approached the US to supply new F-16 fighters but as the reason the US stopped the sale of the F-35 to Turkey was worries about it and a Russian missile being integrated into the NATO system, surely the sale applies to the F-16. Now I hear that Turkey is talking to BAE about buying Eurofighter Typhoons. I’m sure it would be an excellent deal for the Eurofighter consortium to sell the last generation plane to Turkey but will the politicians allow it?

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Russia seems to have plenty of S-400 transporters.
S-400 SAMS during the May parade 2010,
RIA Novosti
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

You probably remember me telling you that United Airlines had given up hope of ever getting its hands on the Boeing 737 Max10 and had switched the order to Max9. However, they still have a need for an aircraft with a similar capability to the Max10 which is proposed to be the biggest offering from Boeing. The only alternative is the Airbus A321neo that is slightly larger, has a longer range and has a lower list price. You would think that it would be obvious to switch to the A321neo, but production is sold out for years to come. I understand that Airbus have been approaching customer airlines with big orders to see if they are willing to make earlier slots available to United, but I haven’t heard if any customers have agreed. However, what I have heard is that United have come to an agreement to lease 36 Airbus A321neos that are on order for 2025 and 2026. Will United reduce their Boeing order?

I see that our media has been lying to us again about Trump. This time it is lying by omission which they are particularly adept at. At the weekend the media was full of stories about making a speech in which Trump said if he was not elected there would be a ‘bloodbath’ in the US. The media associated this with the ‘Capital Riots’. But this is deliberate misreporting. When you see the actual speech Trump was clearly talking about the Chinese car industry building factories in Mexico and flooding the USA with cheap cars. He then said that his policy was to put a 100% tariff on such cars and if he wasn’t elected there would be a ‘bloodbath’. He was clearly talking about the American car industry, but the biased media didn’t want to tell you that.

I have been reading about the Canadian decision to swap its air refuelling fleet to the Airbus A330 MRTT from the A300-based aircraft they currently operate. The Canadians have purchased five used A330s from Kuwait Airways, and they will be converted to air refuelling standard at an Airbus plant in Spain. Initially, the planes will retain the Kuwaiti seating layout for their secondary duty of transport aircraft which includes 15 first-class seats! But Canada has now gone a step further and has ordered four brand new factory fresh A330s which will also be modified in Spain.


It was a bit damp under paw when I went down the garden this morning, however it was mild for a change and not raining. I thought I might be in for a bit of windowsill time later, but the forecaster said it was going to rain by mid-morning. But they got it wrong, by the time I had finished my Felix it had started, and it doesn’t seem to know when to stop.

I see the Adam Smith Institute has issued a report that says if the Liebore Party win the next general election and impose VAT on private schools it could cost the taxpayer £1.6 billion a year if only 20% leave the sector and send their children to state schools. This is the exact opposite to the Liebore claim that the imposition of VAT will raise £1.6 billion. I suppose only time will tell.

A big step forward for the life extension program for the Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland this weekend as the ship went back into the water after 12 months in dry dock at Devonport. Babcock has been carrying out a huge programme of work, cutting holes in the hull to replace equipment and electronics and making over five miles of new welds. This is the final Type 23 to go through the programme. She is also the final Type 23 to be equipped with the Sea Ceptor missile upgrade, which recently proved itself in action in the Red Sea. It will be a while before she is back in service as the new systems need to be commissioned. Last week there were only eight Royal Navy sailors on board this week it will be over 100 as testing and familiarisation begins.

The word I hear is that Qatar Airways is in talks with both Airbus and Boeing on an increase to the number of widebody passenger aircraft it already has on order and in service. It currently has 58 Airbus A350-1000s in service and 18 on order. It also has an outstanding order with Boeing for 50 777-9s and options for 50 more. From what I hear the order being discussed is likely to be for between 100 and 150 aircraft split between more A350-1000 and 777X, which is not yet certified.

To achieve Net Zero the government plan calls for some 600,000 heat pumps a year. The National Audit Office has put out a report saying we are only buying 55,000 a year. But why don’t people want one when the ‘experts’ say they are the future and you get a huge subsidy? But the government subsidy of £7,500 is only available to people on these specific benefits, Universal Credits, Tax Credits, Pension Credits, ESA, Income Support, JSA, Housing Benefit, Child Benefit. OK, that covers a lot of people but it is not ‘everyone’ as the adverts would imply. But it only covers the cost of the heat pump, not any additional cost for bigger pipes and radiators. A heat pump is said to produce three times as much heat as for a unit of electricity. But this ignores the fact that electricity costs much more to use than gas.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
It looks like an A/C unit.
Pompa ciepła powietrze-powietrze/Air source heat pump,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Liebore may be reluctant to announce its policy commitments and pretend it is waiting for nearer the general election “in case the Tories steal them” but I see the Limp Dump leader Sir Ed Davey Lamp has let the veil slip. He has said that if elected to government he would apply to join the EU single market and move the U.K. closer to the EU. He shows that the Limp Dumps are Remoaners and would have us back in the EU at the drop of a hat. We had a referendum and voted out, something he has never got over and wants to reverse. I suspect he is whistling in the dark.

In the next few weeks I understand there is going to be a new service from Stansted to Istanbul. The new service is due to be operated by Ajet, a subsidiary of Turkish airlines aimed at the EasyJet, Ryanair market with a one-way fare of £131. Ajet has big ideas with 93 planes on order and plans to open more routes as they are delivered. The word is that Ajet plans to order even more planes, taking its order book up to over 200 and opening more routes from the U.K. to Turkey.


Morning merry readers, a dry morning, quite mild, with high cloud and watery sunshine, appropriate for the first day of spring. It’s also PMQs later and I wonder what Lego Head will go with today, will it be Rwanda, the economy or some other thing that Liebore will criticise but have no plan of their own to tackle? I bet the Rich Boy brings inflation into the discussion, as it was down to 3.4% this morning another big drop and the lowest level since September 2021.

I hear that Korean Airlines is looking at the makeup of its fleet. They are currently in the middle of a take-over of another Korean airline Asiana and need the approval from ten different authorities to complete. They only have one approval left to obtain and that is from US authorities. Korean operate a number of old Boeing 777s beside its A380s for its long-distance services. Asiana also has A380s and Airbus A350-900s which are much newer than the 777s. I hear that Korean is proposing that for the combined fleet they get rid of the Asiana A380s and their own old 777s but that will leave them short of capacity and they are in negotiations to buy 20 new Airbus A350-1000s. Good news for British industry as we make the wings and the engines.

The HRMC have announced that they are going to turn off their ‘customer’ helpline for six months this summer and if you need to talk to them you will have to use their chatbot or email. I have a few things I find wrong with this not least the use of the term ‘customer’ I think ‘victims’ is more suitable. But what are the people who normally man those phones going to be doing, I bet it’s not manning the chatbot. Oh, and the summer the helpline won’t be available for starts in April and ends in September. When did the summer ever start in April?

Over in the US of A I hear of a big coup for Pepsi. As of January 2025, they will be replacing Coca-Cola as the exclusive beverage provider to all US branches of Subway. No longer will you be able to purchase Coca-Cola, Fanta, and Sprite in Subway’s 20,000 shops. For the next 10 years it’s going to be Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Mountain Dew sodas, Tropicana juices and Gatorade sports drinks. I would like the bonus of the salesman who landed that account.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Soon to be seen in Subway (USA).
Sweet thing,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

According to the magazine ‘Railfreight’, Russian Railways is struggling to run its timetable at the moment. The problem, according to the article I read, is twofold. A shortage of spare parts for locomotives and a massive shortage of ‘educated’ workers. Combined, these problems have led to 55,000 cancellations so far this year. But what is causing the shortages? Well, it seems that the Russian economy is on a war footing and many manufacturers have turned production away from its normal things to supporting the military. Similarly, conscription has taken hundreds of thousands of young men out of the employment pool.

Pakistan has just celebrated the first production ‘Haider’ tank off the production line in Pakistan. The need for a new Main Battle Tank for the Pakistani Army is fairly urgent as they have had a number of setbacks in this field recently. A domestic design didn’t live up to expectations and was quietly dumped to be replaced with an order for 160 Chinese VT4 tanks. This is a model especially made for export. Before the first of the order was received the order was increased to 300. But there were quality problems with the hull welding panel alignment and dimensions. Pakistan has reportedly been looking for an alternative and apparently the Haider is it and it is a domestic product. But is it? I read that it is actually a Chinese VT4 made under license. I hope that Pakistani quality control is better than Chinese.

The National Grid has announced that they will have to spend £60 billion to get the electricity network capable of meeting the government’s green targets by 2035. This includes several thousand miles of undersea cable to interconnect with Europe and bring offshore wind on land. In addition, they want a new grid ‘spine’ pylon line from the north of Scottishland to Merseyside as part of an extra 1,000 miles of U.K. grid pylons. The grid estimates it needs to increase capacity in this time by 65 GW. The Grid says we need 50 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 70 GW of Solar by 2035. This is all well and good but who is going to pay for all this and what happens when the sun doesn’t shine, and the wind doesn’t blow? I almost forgot the Liebore lot want to bring the green target date forward to 2030!


Back to dry again this morning. I really can’t work this out, we seem to be getting a couple of wet mornings and then a couple of dry mornings. Then we get a few mild days and then a few cold days. I am totally confused!

Interesting speculation in the press on U.K. interest rates that are out later today. With the fall in inflation yesterday the need for the current high interest rate falls. But the general view seems to be that the committee will leave it where it is this month. But if inflation continues to fall next month, they should reduce the interest rates then. A few interest rate falls and inflation below 2% before the general election will make it a bit more interesting.

I hear that Lord ‘call me Dave’ and Grunt Shatts are off to Australia for the annual meeting between U.K. and Aussie Government ministers, AUKMIN. But I hear that while there they are going to sign more deals related to AUKUS, the ‘Pillar One’ of the agreement is the nuclear submarine deal and the word is that they will be signing a deal worth billions for BAE to design, build and maintain the boats as a main contractor. But that’s not all, the AUKUS deal covers a number of different cooperation agreements and I understand we will also be signing deals on things like intelligence and military cooperation. On his way to Aus, ‘Call me Dave’ is stopping off for talks in Thailand. I wonder what he is trying to flog them?

So, the woke Archbishop of Canterbury has announced his plan for handling illegal immigrants arriving on boats. He wants them to be given English lessons from the moment they arrive and for them to be allowed to work here after being here for six months. I’m not sure how this reduces the number crossing the channel in small boats, rather it encourages more to come.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
The Archbishop of Wokebury.
Official portrait of The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury,
Roger Harris
Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

I hear that new iPad Pro models are likely to be officially announced next month, which partly explains why iPads have recently been selling at reduced prices. The tablets are said to be ready to go from a hardware point of view but the software release to make them work to their best is not yet ready. iPad OS 17.4 is currently not due until the end of March; it then has to be transmitted to the Chinese factory and installed on the tablets before they are shipped. Unless they are flown to Europe and America they will not actually be in the shops until May or June. Personally, I can wait.

Going to Spain for your holidays this year. Then there are a couple of new laws affecting tourists that you need to observe. Anyone not from the EU must carry details of where they are staying with them at all times or risk a big fine. I’m not quite sure how that works out if you are having a swim in the sea or on a nudist beach. The other new law is to do with the volume of music on beaches and in accommodations. If it’s too loud it can bring you an enormous fine of up to €25,000. That should make people with those enormous beatboxes think twice.

Someone somewhere has opened the box where Liebore has been hiding Ed Millipede. The ultra-green has been missing for months prompting comment that he could not be trusted not to open his mouth and put his foot in it. The shadow Environment Secretary has now popped up pronouncing on his ridiculous green agenda twice in the last couple of days. The last thing he has said is that as Environment Secretary he will reintroduce the tax on gas boiler makers who don’t meet the number of heat exchangers the government has imposed. The Tories realised that the targets will never be met in the timescale set and dropped the idea. But not Red Ed (perhaps it should be Green Ed now), he can’t see it just isn’t going to happen, or maybe he sees it as a back door way to raise tax now that the Tories have nicked the non-dom tax.


A pretty grey morning, and a bit cooler but no rain. I learnt two things about Lego Head Stomer yesterday. Firstly, he is a short arse, hardly any taller than the Rich Boy, but he hides it with built-up heels and hair piled on top of his Lego Head. But worse, he is a vegetarian. If he moves into No.10, and starts trying to feed me vegetables I’m off.

On Wednesday the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Act received Royal Assent meaning we can now fully join the partnership which has already been agreed. The CPTPP accounted for 15% of world trade (£15 trillion) in 2022 and that will grow with our joining, but 99% of our trade with the CPTPP members will now be duty free. That’s something that could never have happened had we still been in the EU.

I have been reading about a man who last year found England’s biggest-ever gold nugget. Bigger nuggets have been found in both Wales and Scotland and it is thought that this nugget might have originated in Wales as lots of rocks from there were imported into the area. The man who found the nugget was taking part in a ‘detectorist’ event near Much Wenlock but turned up hours late and then found that his metal detector was not working properly. However, 20 minutes after starting to scan he found the 64.8g nugget about a foot down. The nugget is to be auctioned on 1st April and is expected to fetch over £30,000.

Last week the IFS brought out a document that said the Liebore policy of applying VAT to private school fees would rake in £1.6 billion. But on the same day the Adam Smith Institute put out a report on the same policy but saying if implemented the policy would at best be neutral on income and at worst cost £1.6 billion. Neither report was looked into very deeply at the time, but I have just been reading an economist who says the IFS report was extremely poorly researched and relied on data from a single American Roman Catholic school in 2002 and other data from the 1990s. On the other hand, The Economist say the Adam Smith Institute probably underestimated the negative effect by only calculating 15% of children would be withdrawn from private education and moved to the public sector and they didn’t include the fact that their parents often work extra hours or extra jobs to pay the school fees and would no longer have to with a subsequent loss of income tax to the state. I wonder if this policy will go the way of the £28 billion a year green policy when it is fully examined?

I have been hearing rumours that Avanti West Coast, the operator who runs services the West Coast Main Line is about to be taken into government ownership. Despite recently being awarded a new long operating contract, they are said to be running an awful service and losing money, something almost impossible as they are paid by the Department of Transport to operate the service and the DoT takes the fares. The word I hear is that they will be joining LNER, SouthEastern, Northern and TransPennine under the control of the DoT’s operator of last resort DOHL and effectively be nationalised.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Heading to operator of last resort?
Avanti West Coast 221101,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

I see that the Irish Teashop, Leo Varadkar, is resigning, due to, he says ‘personal and political reasons’. But is his party doing badly in the polls the real reason? I’m not so sure, he has recently staked his reputation on going to the country with two referendums, one on redefining marriage and the other removing “sexist” language from the Irish constitution. The government positions in favour of these referendums were not just beaten, they were humiliatingly beaten by a 74% ‘No’ vote. Now there is a new controversy in the Republic this time over ‘assisted dying’ and it looks like he is skipping out rather than face another humiliating defeat.

I read that the tiny Orkney Island of Sanday has a bit of an Easter egg problem. The owner of the island store placed his chocolate egg order online but had a bit of a shock when the delivery truck arrived half-full of chocolate eggs. He thought he had ordered 80 eggs but what he had actually ordered was 80 cases or 720 eggs about 1.5 for every islander, man, woman and child on the island. The shop owner is organising a raffle, and the prize is 100 Easter eggs. I couldn’t eat 100 Easter eggs.


A wonderfully sunny morning here in London, but chilly. The forecast says rain is coming later, typical for a Saturday. I don’t know the Princess of Wales, but I think I might like her if I ever met her. I was sorry to see her statement on her cancer diagnosis, particularly as she has young children. I hope the internet trolls now leave her and William alone, but somehow, I think that is too much to hope.

How dare Nike change the cross of St George on the collar of their latest iteration of the England football team shirt. The cross of St George is red on a white background. Nike have changed it to blue, pink and red in a “playful re-imagination” of the flag. Nike are American, I don’t think they would dare change that flag.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
The Flag of England.
St George Flag,
Elsie esq
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Yesterday was a good day for Airbus with orders from Japan Airlines and Korean (as mentioned earlier this week). JAL have gone for 21 x A350-900 and 11 x A321neo. Korean has ordered 33 x A350 made up of 27 x A350-1000 and 6 x A350-900. That’s a lot of jet engine business coming Rolls-Royce’s way. Boeing have got a few crumbs with a JAL order for 10 x Boeing 787-9. The A350 seems to be the long-haul widebody aircraft of the moment, perhaps that’s because the Boeing alternative the 777X has still not been certified.

When you were a child did you have one of those Mamod steam-powered toy traction engines? Well, do you know that the white hexamine tablet that you burn to raise steam is now illegal? This is the same type of tablet that campers use in camping stoves, but it has been banned, without any real consultation because some of the chemicals in it can be used to make explosives. But this is daft, as many things (including flour) can be made to explode under the right conditions. The PTB say don’t worry, you can get a license to continue to use the tablet, but that will cost £40. How many 12-year-olds do you know who know they need a license?

I hear that a Russian TV station has been reporting an unfortunate incident in the Baltic where a Russian patrol boat was taking part in a ‘live fire’ exercise. A missile from the patrol boat hit a trawler in the captain’s cabin totally demolishing it and, according to the family of the crew, killing five of the fishermen. Normally the Russian media wouldn’t want to publicise this sort of event and many papers have reported a version where there was a fire on board the trawler killing one person. However, it is a strange fire that blows up the captain’s cabin.

Yesterday that establishment beloved by many of my readers, Spoons, announced that in the first six months of the current financial year they increased their profits from £4.6 million to £36 million. The boss, Tim Martin, said that business this year so far has continued to improve. Last year they closed several pubs that were marginally profitable, but Martin hinted they are now looking at opening new pubs rather than closing them with as many as 185 new establishments possible. I suspect that might please many of you out there in Larry Land.

In 2018 India ordered five squadrons of S-400 air defence missiles from Russia said to be for the protection of its borders with Pakistan and China. A squadron is understood to comprise eight launchers with 32 missiles, together with the search and control radar and the control module. The Indians were contracted to have all five squadrons delivered by August this year. However, they have only received three squadrons and the delivery of the last two is now promised for August 2026. The reasons for the delay are said to be twofold but related. The sanctions imposed on Russia over the war in Ukraine and Russia’s internal need for the missiles because of the war. In the meantime, India’s air defence is left a little thinner than optimal.

That’s my duties done, and the forecast was right, it’s raining. So despite it officially being spring I can’t get on the window sill. Today is that rare day when there is a 3 o’clock football kick-off on the TV as there are no Premier League matches. OK, it’s only a National League game but it could see the league champions crowned. Chat to you all again next week.

© WorthingGooner 2024