Larry’s Diary, Week Two Hundred And Thirty-Nine


Good morning everyone and it’s beautifully warm and sunny here in Westminster today, although it looks like summer ends tomorrow. The election announcements keep coming thick and fast, and I am wondering why the Tories have only just started coming up with sensible polices. Then I wonder why anyone would vote for Liebore when all they come up with are policies that are broad brush, with no details and no costs.

I was intrigued to see Yvette Cooper on the telly yesterday morning talking about Liebore’s plans to cut immigration. When she was asked by how much she refused to say by how many. Well, it seems like the number will be coming down anyway, as the huge numbers from Ukraine and Hong Kong are over. In addition, there have been rule changes about students and the families of other legal immigrants. But don’t forget that Legohead wants to sign up for the share out of people crossing the Mediterranean by small boat to the EU and that alone could be 200,000 people.

Back to the story that never stops giving, Boeing and its troubles. I understand the good news is they have found a solution to the de-icing problem they have with the 737Max 7 and Max 10. The bad news is that it is going to take quite a long time to implement, and they are now predicting certification in late 2025 or early 2026. This means that neither version is likely to enter service until late 2026, many years late. I also hear that Boeing is struggling to produce enough planes to meet the reduced numbers they are currently allowed to manufacture monthly. I would hate to be in their finance department.

I was astonished to learn this morning that since Trump was convicted of 34 felonies in paying off Stormy Daniels his election fund has received over $200 million in campaign donations. But it has also affected the opinion polls in the US with Trump’s numbers improving by 2 or 3% in the crucial swing states. The latest polling I have seen says Trump will win the White House by a considerable margin. The Democrats must rue the day they decided to back his prosecution.

The Finns are another of the Baltic nations building up their armed forces because of the increased threat from Russia. They have just announced that they are to acquire the American JASSM-ER stand-off cruise missiles to arm its fleet of F-35A fighter jets. They are not saying how many they are buying but some time ago it was reported that they had asked for 200. The air-launched missile has a range of over 500 miles and carries a 1000lb deep penetration warhead designed to take out command and communications bunkers.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
JASSM Cruise Missile.
FB-22-4 launching JASSM,
Lockheed Martin
Public domain

Have you noticed that the caps on plastic soft drink bottles have recently started to stay attached to the bottle when it is opened? This is another one of those new EU rules that has crept into our Brexit lives. British companies who make soft drinks in the U.K. and want to export to the EU must obey their regulations. Hence it is easier for them produce one type of cap for all the bottles they manufacture rather than one for the U.K. and one for the EU. The reason the EU have gone down this route is because they claim that although plastic bottles are regularly recycled, the caps, although recyclable, often aren’t. The EU claim that this move, that doesn’t extend to glass or metal bottles should cut the litter on EU beaches by 10%. We shall see.

The Republic of Ireland’s last home-built ship sailed from Cork on Saturday to be scrapped. The LÉ Eithne, was sold off for €110,000 at an auction to a Dutch company who sold it on before it was sold on for a second time for a final €1.2 million so someone has made over €1 million out of the Irish. If you thought our navy was small then the Irish Navy is now tiny with just six remaining ships, the biggest of which are patrol boats, and the whole navy is less than 100 strong.


A very good morning to you all. Well, I see summer’s over and it’s back to dull, cloudy and not so warm today. The weatherman on the TV said we have just had the warmest spring on record, well you could have fooled me! It never seemed to stop raining and was quite chilly. In fact, they left the central heating on in No 10, much to my delight. I understand it must go off now as it is about to get its annual service, so I hope it stays mild.

It was the shock of the election campaign so far yesterday when Nigel Farage announced his big return. First, he teased everyone by saying he was coming back as leader of the Reform party, and Richard Tice was moving to chairman. He told the audience that he was going to stay for at least five years. Then he dropped the bigger news, that he has changed his mind and is going to stand for parliament in Clacton on Sea. Clacton is an interesting constituency. It is very right-wing, so if Farage can win anywhere, it is there. I wonder if Farage standing will start a bandwagon effect and we will see an uptick in Reform support?

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
He’s back!
Nigel Farage at CPAC 2017 February 24th 2017,
Michael Vadon
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Last Friday, a United Airlines Boeing 737 flying from Vancouver to Houston had to be taken out of service for a deep clean after about 30 people vomited. The word is that many on the plane were returning from an Alaskan cruise. The ship wasn’t named, but I’ll give you a clue. The only ship in port in Vancouver on Friday was the Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas. Unsurprisingly, I hear that the ship had an outbreak of norovirus on board at the end of May. I understand that the plane was out of service for 24 hours and two flights it was scheduled to make were cancelled.

I hear that P&O Australia is being closed by parent company Carnival Cruises. The company is only small, reflecting the size of the Australian and New Zealand cruise market. The two ships that cruise year-round out of Australia are to move over to the Carnival fleet starting in 2026 to reduce costs. However, their third ship, Pacific Explorer, that spends six months a year sailing out of Aukland New Zealand, is to be disposed of at the end of this summer. Carnival say that the New Zealand market is too small to support a ship, particularly with the red tape that the New Zealand government has imposed. For example, they insist that there is no marine growth on the hull of a ship entering a New Zealand port meaning a visiting cruise ship must stop outside territorial waters and send down divers to clean below the waterline.

If you are a ‘Death in Paradise’ fan and worry about how many murders happen on one small Caribbean island, I have some news for you. The BBC have commissioned a new series to be called ‘Policing Paradise’. This is a documentary, not fictional, series and will concentrate on real police investigations on various Caribbean islands. I don’t think I would want to live in Saint Marie, too many people get murdered, and I don’t remember ever seeing another cat in an episode so I might get lonely.

The construction consultant Mace have been appointed by the owners The Greater London Authority to design and oversea the installation of a solar membrane on the roof of the London Stadium, the stadium built for the London Olympics and now the home of West Ham United. The idea is the membrane will generate about one third of the power used annually by the stadium. The membrane should have a beneficial result for all those West Ham supporters who have been moaning about the stadium roof leaking.

I hear that Airbus has come to a preliminary agreement with the three main Chinese airlines to sell them a total of 100 Airbus A330neo aircraft and are now negotiating the details of the terms and conditions of the deal. The A330 is the Airbus rival to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the neo version has new wings and engines making it far more efficient than the ceo version it replaced. However, it has been a little bit of a slow seller and this potential sale of 100 planes would be an enormous boost to the project. Once again this is good news for Rolls-Royce who supply the two engines used on this aircraft. The Chinese must have looked at the Boeing 787 and decided that the Boeing company’s problems with delivery and quality are too much to place an order of this size.


It is a bit strange this morning, it started rather dull, but now the sun is out, but it is very black over Will’s mother’s place. Well, Nigel Farage got a milkshake thrown over him, not for the first time, yesterday. This is a win for Farage and Reform, it is only going to persuade people to vote for him in Clacton. The idiots that do this sort of thing to politicians, I remember Prescott being egged, don’t turn voters against them, quite the opposite it turns people against the perpetrators and their politics.

The Rich Boy was smiling this morning as the media says he won last night’s debate. I don’t know who advised Legohead, but it was a clear mistake not to answer questions but instead to waffle through his allotted time. I see they have had to send out people this morning to deny Liebore will be costing people £2,000 in extra tax. It is all too late, it is now in voters’ heads, the time to deny it was during the debate. The other thing that struck me was the question on using private medicine if a close relative needed an operation and there was a long wait. The Rich boy was honest and very quickly said he would. Legohead said he wouldn’t, and went on to expand on his answer, saying his wife worked for the NHS (she isn’t a doctor, nurse or anything medical, she is a secretary!). He was clearly trying to look virtuous, but who wouldn’t pay to ease someone’s pain if they could afford it?

Last week I mentioned the EU banning the smokey flavouring used in various products, including smokey bacon crisps. What I didn’t realise at the time is that this ban will also apply in Northern Ireland because of the current Windsor Framework agreement. It now means that smokey bacon crisps can no longer be manufactured in Northern Ireland, and this has taken the NI public and the major NI crisp maker Tayto by surprise. Crisp giant Tayto can no longer make smokey bacon crisps at its factory in Armagh but can still make them at the Edinburgh factory.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Vote for Mr Tayto.
Mr Tayto,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Back in 2020, Air Canada cancelled a flight from Vancouver to Costa Rica. Passengers were moved on to the following day’s flight and passengers claimed compensation which was denied by Air Canada. Subsequently, the passengers took the case to the Canadian Transportation Agency, which three years later ordered Air Canada to pay the passengers C$1,000 each. Six months later Air Canada is refusing to pay, claiming the flight was affected by weather, which the CTA say was not the case. Instead, Air Canada is threatening to sue the passengers for the cost of the lawyers they have used to fight the case with the CTA. This is another one on my watch list.

Having lost thousands of armoured vehicles, both tanks and personal carriers, Russia has been unable to up their manufacturing enough to replace them to any extent. This has meant that their mobile troops have been somewhat restricted in their mobility. Consequently, they have recently been buying the troops thousands of motorcycles made in Belarus and North Korea. However, this has been a problem in that the smallish motorcycles purchased don’t offer the protection of an APC and couldn’t be armoured because they are incapable of carrying the extra weight. I see the Russians have tried to protect some of the bikes by adding a cage supported by metal poles and they look extremely cumbersome. I wonder how much protection they offer the riders?

I am very interested to read that Fiat owner Stellantis and Mercedes-Benz have paused plans to build battery gigafactories in the EU because of falling EV sales and prices. The jointly owned Automotive Cells Company (ACC) had intended to build battery factories in both Germany and Italy. This news comes on top of the news that sales of Chinese EVs have also been falling in Europe and, as recorded in my diary previously, unsold Chinese EVs have been piling up at European docksides. The two factories, costing a total of £6 billion, were planned to start being built later this year and being in full production, employing 2,000 people each, by 2030. ACC now say they will review the position in 2025.

Has the island nation of the Maldives just shot itself in the foot? The small country is Islamic, and relies on tourism for 90% of its tax income. Yesterday they announced they were banning visitors to the islands from Israel. Israeli passport holders represent only 0.6% of the tourist trade. But I suspect that Jews from all over the world will now turn their backs on visiting the Maldives and it’s going to cost them a lot of money. I wonder if other rich Islamic nations will be making up their losses.


A better day today, nice and sunny but it’s still not terribly warm. The TV in the office has been showing the D-Day commemorations from Normandy and it is a beautiful morning there with clear blue sky, a calm sea and a light breeze. What a pity it wasn’t like that 80 years ago today.

An Irishman has just been sentenced, in his absence, to 26 years in prison for murdering his wife on an Italian cruise ship MSC Magnifica. Seven years ago, Daniel Belling was on a cruise with his Chinese wife, 38-year-old Xing Lei Li. The ship could not balance the number of people leaving the ship at the end of the cruise and realised she was missing. Belling was arrested at Rome airport where he and their children were queuing to board a flight to Dublin. He was remanded in custody until 2018 when he had to be released through lack of evidence. Belling, who claimed his wife left the ship at a previous call in Greece, flew to Dublin and has now disappeared. His wife’s body has never been found and he claims she has gone back to China. Subsequently, Belling was charged with “causing the death of his wife and disposing of the corpse, hiding it or otherwise causing its destruction.”

More good news for the British aircraft industry: the German Air Force is to buy an extra 20 Eurofighter Typhoons. The planes are jointly built by a Germany, Britain, Spain and Italy consortium and the EuroJet EJ200 engines by a consortium of the same four nations, however, the engines are mainly based on the Rolls-Royce XG-40 demonstrator which was designed for the aircraft. Every plane sold by the consortium brings many millions to British industry.

I am intrigued to read that the port of Southampton has been trying to get shippers to swap from road to rail. Most containers arriving at Southampton are transported to the big distribution centres in the Midlands. In the past they have mainly gone by road but last year the port owner DP World lengthened the sidings so they could lengthen trains and DP World started offering subsidies for switching to rail saving the shipper the £10 handling charge DP World charges per container. Last year one in four containers went by train, now it is one in three, meaning three extra container trains a day are departing from Southampton.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Three extra trains a day.
Lea Bridge – Two container trains, five locomotives. 19 Oct 2009,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

A silly little story reaches me from Scottishland. You probably know that amid a great hullabaloo, new banknotes featuring the portrait of King Charles III entered circulation yesterday. But to the embarrassment of the Glasgow Subway their automated ticket machine won’t accept the new £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes. In fact, if you only have one of the new notes you will have to use one of the old-fashioned booking offices. I only hope nothing like that happens on the national railways or the London Underground as they have been closing booking offices as fast as possible, it could be a bit awkward if you can’t buy a ticket.

I have just read a puff piece for the Hisense TV equipped with the Freely app that allows you to view TV over the internet. It is being pushed as a replacement for Freeview, but it is not yet there as it currently only offers the main British Broadcaster, BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Now Freeview offers you these same channels plus a lot more with many additional free-to-air stations. Consequently, it comes as no surprise to learn that some retailers, such as Argos, have started discounting the Freely sets, they just don’t compete yet with a Freeview set. They might one day when more services become available. But if you want the additional Sky pay channel, like Sport and Movies you can buy Sky Glass which is a TV with a Sky decoder built in for their channels sent via the internet, and it receives Freeview. I know which I would buy even if one were being discounted.

Later this year, the iconic US brand Cadillac has decided to have another go at selling its cars to the British. They are looking at selling two EVs which are in the luxury car range, pitching against the likes of established brands like Lexus and Mercedes. At least Cadillac will be selling right-hand drive models, but now they have not announced any details, so just how far they will go on a single charge or cost is anyone’s guess. In addition, they have not announced how they will market the cars. Last time Cadillac tried to sell cars in the U.K. was 20 years ago. It failed badly, despite Cadillac being part of General Motors and at that time being able to use the Vauxhall dealership network which is now part of rival brand Stellantis. So, with no dealership network, how will they sell their cars, your guess is as good as mine.


It’s another nice sunny start to the day but not so warm in the shade. I was astounded to see our and the American paratroopers dropping into Normandy as part of the D-Day 80 ceremony were all being checked by French immigration, who set up trestle tables in the middle of the drop zones and checked and stamped their passports. Did they worry about the troops landing on the beaches 80 years ago? Do they bother about the illegal immigrants crossing their country to get into small boats to cross the channel? I bet they even checked King Big Ears and Queen Camel when they arrived for the ceremony.

It’s fun in Glasgow where the council has introduced a Low Emissions Zone in the City but around 50% of the council’s vehicles don’t comply with the emissions regulations, and they are continually fining themselves! Now I hear that a car was abandoned on the taxi rank outside Glasgow Central station, and it took four days for it to be removed. It was first ticketed, making it eligible to be removed. But apparently the council only has one ‘uplifter’, the type of lorry with the crane on the back that lifts cars onto itself and takes them away, and it wasn’t available. They don’t say why, perhaps it was broken down or it didn’t comply with the LEZ regulations, but they had to bring in a contractor to move the car and that took four days. All that time the taxi rank outside the city’s main station was obstructed and the taxi drivers were livid.

Sweden has donated one of its Saab 340 AEW&C aircraft to Ukraine as part of a big arms package that includes air-to-air missiles for the country’s jet fighters. The Saab will give long-range radar coverage for Ukraine once in service, but one plane is hardly enough to supply round-the-clock cover. As I understand it, various other countries have been supplying this cover from planes flying in neighbouring countries’ airspace and in international airspace over the Black Sea. One such Australian aircraft has recently returned home. The Saab has been drawn from the Swedish Air Force where it is known as a Globaleye and will leave the Swedish Air Force short, however the Swedes have two of the aircraft on order and will be adding a third to replace the donated one.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Saab 340.
SP-KPR Saab 340 Sprint Air S.A,
Aircaft @ Gloucestershire Airport By James
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

In London it is reported that Sad Dick’s expanded ULEZ is not bringing in the funds expected because people fined for entering the zone are simply not paying. Since the start of the scheme last August some 1,348,938 penalties have been issued, and 974,590 have still not been paid. In fact, I read that one car driver has been issued with over 200 tickets and is said to owe £47,682 in charges. The basic charge is £12.50 a day but if this is not paid within 14 days it escalates to £180. Now Transport for London are believed to be owed around £180 million.

Because it is gay pride month, Cross Country Trains has decorated one of its train sets in the colours of the pride flag. However, they have however been criticised by the trans community as they haven’t included the trans colours. It seems that trans is now part of the pride movement, and their colours are on the latest version of the flag. The colours change so often it’s hard to keep up.

Early next month, all the UKTV stations are to be rebranded into a common naming format on all platforms including Sky and Freeview. Now it is not always obvious that stations like Yesterday, Drama, Dave, etc., are all in the UKTV family so all the brands are to be renamed starting with U&. So, the three I just mentioned will become U&Yesterday, U&Drama and U&Dave. In addition, the UKTV website will change to the U Website and the company will be known as U, I don’t know why.

I have been reading about an American family, father, mother and teenage son, who were on a seven-day Caribbean cruise. They were ashore shopping when the son told them it was time to rejoin the ship as it was approaching the ‘all onboard time’, the parents were busy bargaining for stuff, so the boy rejoined the ship and, apparently, the mother waved goodbye to him as he left them. Fouty-five minutes after the ship had sailed the boy got a WhatsApp message saying they had just arrived at the pier and why hadn’t he got the ship to wait for them! They had to fly to the next port and were apparently pissed off with the boy for allowing the ship to sail without them. I suspect that the ‘bargain’ they were haggling turned out not to be very cheap after all.


Good morning cat lovers, well there is no sun this morning and the breeze is a little cool. I saw a bit of the election debate on the office TV last night and my was it awful. I was waiting for the cat fight between Crayons and Penny Mordent to catch fire, I gave up counting how many times they accused each other of lying. The clear winner was Farage, he remained calm and got his point over every time, and he didn’t use notes or an autocue.

It seems that while he was at the D-Day ceremony Zelensky has been talking to other countries leaders about aircraft. There is a story doing the rounds that the French have already promised Ukraine 6 x Dassault 2000 fighters and pilots and mechanics will start training soon but the word out of Normandy was what he really wants is the much more modern Eurofighter Typhoon. Now as this is still a front-line fighter with the U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, I doubt there are a lot of spare planes about. In fact, as I mentioned earlier this week, Germany is on the verge of buying more and I understand that Spain is about to do the same. So where would these planes come from? I can’t see Ukraine having the money to buy them!

Airbus already has a huge backlog of orders for its A320 aircraft family and has eight final production lines spread between Germany, France, USA and China. To help cope with his backlog, they are already building two additional production lines, one in the USA and one in China. Now I hear of another plan. They are going to build a modern assembly line in a warehouse in Toulouse. But this is not an additional final assembly line, it will replace the one already there. The difference is it will be far more modern and able to produce aircraft far more quickly replacing the old line. Last year Airbus opened a second Toulouse A320 line in the massive hanger that had housed the A380 production line, but this only occupied half the space, the rest was in use reworking stress cracks on some A380 wing spars. This work has now finished and the work on converting it to a new FAL has already begun with the aim of the first plane off the line early next year. The problem now is getting sufficient production from subcontractors.

I just mentioned the huge backlog of orders that Airbus has, and their May numbers have just been released. They say they manufactured 53 planes bringing the number for the year to date to 256. They say they will produce 800 planes this calendar year and this for the first five months seems to be way behind. But it is the 8,759 planes on order that amazes me, how long will it take to make that lot?

I understand that some sub-postmasters are watching the Post Office inquiry very closely because they are still in dispute with the PO over the software system that preceded Horizon. They claim that the software, called Capture, had numerous flaws and many of them were similar to those in Horizon. The problem is the Capture software is, as I’m sure you realise, very old as Horizon has been about in its various forms for 30 years. One of the problems the sub-postmasters have is that the Post Office say they they don’t know who supplied the software. How can they not know who supplied a major piece of software?

Last month I told you about Saudia Airlines ordering 105 Airbus A320 family aircraft, but I now understand that Saudia actually had a need for 180 single-aisle aircraft but after talking to both Airbus and Boeing this was the most they could get in the time slot. I hear Saudia have decided that they will have to make up the numbers with some twin-aisle planes and are in discussions for an order of either Airbus A330 or Boeing 787 aircraft which have better availability, particularly the A330. Of course, they will not need another 75 aircraft to bring the number up to the original 180, but they will probably need 30 or 40 more planes, making it an order worth having.

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Will Saudia buy the A330neo?
Jetstar Airbus A330 taking off,
Jetstar Airways
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Yesterday, the big trade unions got a preview of the Liebore manifesto for the general election and Unite didn’t like what they saw. The union that is normally a staunch Liebore supporter are refusing to support the manifesto mainly because they say it doesn’t go far enough in protecting workers’ rights and jobs in the oil and gas industry. Unite gave Liebore £3 million at the last election. The big question is, will their dislike of the manifesto stop them giving Liebore funding this time?

It is still chilly out there this afternoon, mainly because the breeze is a little cool. It’s not raining yet so I intend to get my Saturday afternoon snooze on the windowsill. The Sunday forecast is for it to be warmer, so I really am looking forward to my day of rest. My scribe is off on his holidays, so I won’t be about for a bit, but when he comes back, you will have an extra treat as it will be me, Jinnie and a cruise postcard. Chat to you soonish.

© WorthingGooner 2024