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Emrys

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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Mon Sep 7, 2009, 12:57 AM
Number of posts: 5,654

Journal Archives

"January ... February ... April ... March." Covid Vaccine Minister rejigs the calendar

Part-time Bond villain Nadhim Zahawi's performance in interview earlier today doesn't exactly reassure that the government has its ducks in a row with its Lockdown Roadmap (yeah, it's a Momentum video, but that's the account that posted it on Twitter).

https://twitter.com/PeoplesMomentum/status/1363813800441491456

Momentum 🌹
@PeoplesMomentum

The Vaccines Minister claims, TWICE, in TWO separate interviews, that March comes after April.

[Twitter video]



I don't know what's worse:

- the fact he coldly, deliberatively and, by his own lights, logically sets out a timeline where the "three-week gap" between mid-April, when the government expects to have given the first vaccine dose to all over-50s, gives time for protection to kick in before schools open on 8 March

- the fact that seemingly none of the interviewers pick him up on it

- the creeping suspicion that when the Roadmap was discussed in Cabinet, either nobody saw the flaw in the timing, nobody was paying attention, or nobody wanted to be "that guy" who rocked the boat

Tunnel vision: now PM sets his sights on a roundabout under the Isle of Man

It's a drab February, the ever-mounting post-Brexit cockup heap and the pandemic are making for misery all round, and we're nowhere near silly season yet, so it appears the UK government have set up a special unit to fill the void:

As flights of political fancy go, Boris Johnson’s desire to build a tunnel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland might seem to be one of the most audacious.

However, Whitehall officials have revealed that one version of the plan worked up in Downing Street went even further, envisaging not one but three tunnels under the Irish Sea connecting in an “underground roundabout” beneath the Isle of Man.

No 10 officials given the task of examining how Johnson’s blue-sky thinking might be feasible quickly concluded that the original plan of a link between Stranraer in Scotland and Larne in Northern Ireland was impractical.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/tunnel-vision-now-pm-sets-his-sights-on-a-roundabout-under-the-isle-of-man-cg9523lxp


The Times exclusive fades out at that point unless you're a subscriber, so let's turn to a more tabloid treatment:

Boris ‘wants to build giant roundabout under the Isle of Man’

The prime minister has hopes of building an ‘underground roundabout’ beneath the Isle of Man to connect Britain to Northern Ireland, Whitehall sources claim.

Under the alleged plans, the transport network would see as many three tunnels heading out from England and Scotland in a bid to iron out post-Brexit trade issues across the UK.

They would connect at a roundabout named ‘Douglas Junction’, after the island’s capital, before heading out across the Irish Sea beneath the Isle of Man, reports The Sunday Times.

Several senior Whitehall sources are said to have dismissed the roundabout plan as ’round the bend’ but it is so beloved by Boris Johnson that ‘it cannot die’.
...
A source told The Times: ‘Everyone knows Boris wants to do this so people were asked to look at how.’

However, another source said while some senior aides describe the plan as ‘bats**t’, they acknowledge it as a ‘Fuhrer bunker project’.

One told the paper: ‘Just as Hitler moved around imaginary armies in the dying days of the Third Reich, so the No 10 policy unit is condemned to keep looking at this idea, which exists primarily in the mind of the PM.’

https://metro.co.uk/2021/02/21/boris-wants-to-build-giant-roundabout-under-the-isle-of-man-14120356/


So we're not quite at the stage of "Let's just buy Greenland" yet, but it may not be far off.

I commented on the idea of a bridge (or tunnel) between Scotland and Northern Ireland being a non-starter back in September 2019: https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1088&pid=17500

It seems the government's analyses have come to the same conclusion, so the solution they've come up with is to use the Isle of Man as a stepping stone/undersea roundabout in a vast network of tunnels under the Irish Sea:



Now, we could spend this dark evening, and probably a few more, picking apart the idiocy and megalomania of this idea, but here's a few points for starters.

The Isle of Man is neither in the UK nor the EU, but as a Crown dependency it has its own tax regime and is in a customs union with the UK, so using it for hopscotch will likely add to complications rather than reduce them. It's also unclear whether anyone in Westminster has thought to ask the Manx government how it feels about all this, which would seem a good starting point.

For the next point, I can't improve on the expression of this Twitter user:

https://twitter.com/SpillerOfTea/status/1363535831529644033
🏳️‍🌈Max🏳️‍🌈
@SpillerOfTea

Apart from the obvious logistical illiteracy of this idea, I feel obliged to point out that [wearily grabs megaphone] TUNNELS DON’T CHANGE THE FUCKING LAW WE ALREADY HAVE A TUNNEL TO THE EU AND IT HASN’T SOLVED A FUCKING THING YOU MAD TWAT


Or put more politely:
https://twitter.com/AnnaJerzewska/status/1363555516572708868

Dr Anna Jerzewska
@AnnaJerzewska
And for all of you tweeting a pic of Faroe Islands tunnels at me:

1. Yes, it's possible. Norway and Iceland also have some really lovely tunnels

2. It's a network of ca 11km and it took 3 years.

and most importantly...
/1

Dr Anna Jerzewska
@AnnaJerzewska
The biggest barrier between NI and GB isn't the sea - it's the newly introduced customs and regulatory border and you can't dig a tunnel under that.
2/2

Of course, the point isn't whether any of these tunnels/bridges/whatever will ever actually get built. Aside from being a handy distraction from *gestures vaguely and widely* all this, there's a bundle of money to be made from carrying out feasibility studies etc. Just ask those involved in London's Garden Bridge. That cost £53 million before it was abandoned, and it was only meant to be a few hundred yards long.

Matt Hancock acted unlawfully by failing to publish Covid contracts

High court judge rules failure to publish details of contracts within 30 days was transparency breach
...
The judgment is a victory for the Good Law Project (GLP), a crowdfunded not-for-profit organisation that is making a series of legal challenges related to the government’s procurement of protective personal equipment (PPE) and other services during the pandemic.
...
Research by the procurement consultancy Tussell had found Hancock’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) had spent about £15bn buying PPE from different companies by the beginning of October, but that only £2.68bn worth of contracts had been published.
...
The GLP highlighted three PPE contracts to illustrate their case: a £252m contract for the supply of face masks with a finance company, Ayanda Capital; a £108m contract with Clandeboye Agencies, which had previously supplied only confectionery products, and PPE contracts worth £345m with a company trading as Pestfix.

None of the contracts was published within the required 30-day period. Tussell found that the average time for publication of Covid-19 related contracts was 47 days, which meant the government’s own 30-day deadline was likely to have been breached “in a substantial number of cases”, Chamberlain said.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/feb/19/matt-hancock-acted-unlawfully-failing-publish-covid-contracts-high-court

Police launch probe after large snake found in Greenock (in the west of Scotland)

Picture reveal snakes on the loose in Greenock

GREENOCK residents have been left rattled after two huge snakes were discovered in the town.



Walkers spotted one on the hillside at The Cut and another was found just across the road from the Broomhill Tavern pub, pictured.

Pictures emerged on social media of a workman at the scene of the unusual find on Drumfrochar Road.

It is not known how the animals came to be roaming free in the town and at least one of them was lifeless when discovered.

The Tele has contacted the council, police and the SSPCA.

The SSPCA said it had not yet received a report of the find.

https://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/19058397.mystery-snakes-discovered-greenock/



Police launch probe after large snake found in Greenock

POLICE have launched an investigation following today's bizarre discovery of a huge snake just off a busy Greenock street.



The Tele reported this afternoon that it was one of two that had been discovered.

It was found just off Drumfrochar Road, opposite the Broomhill Tavern pub.

Another was reportedly spotted lying dead on the hillside at The Cut.

Reports were then made of a third snake discovered on land behind the fire station in Gourock.

Local police tonight say they have recovered one, approximately 14' long.

It is alive and currently being examined and cared for at a local veterinary practice.

Police said there had been a number of other similar reports relating to snakes being spotted in the local community.

https://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/19059706.police-launch-probe-large-snake-found-greenock/




This is an uncropped version of the pic above:



This explanation is just a rumour on Facebook at the moment, but ...



At the moment, our cat and I are glad the Clyde's between us and Greenock.

Hang on. Does anyone know if snakes of this size can swim?

Ultra-concise Pandemic Timeline

https://twitter.com/SupramanTrax/status/1354490055692316676

Bird Facts
@SupramanTrax

Pandemic Day 25: I made bread

Day 95: I sure do miss my friends

....

Day 310: The White House appears to be under the control of a shirtless man in a Viking helmet

Day 330: Reddit’s coordinated attack on Wall Street is going as planned

Sign of the times in the bargain bin



Still seems overpriced.

If only somebody could figure out how the virus got to the UK from Brazil and South Africa.

It was a mystery last September ...



it's still a mystery today ...

Crowds at Heathrow Airport spark ‘superspreading’ complaints and social distancing concerns



Scenes of big crowds at Heathrow sparked concerns about a lack of social distancing and the potential for coronavirus “superspreading” at the airport.

Pictures emerged on social media of tightly packed queues of people at border patrol in Heathrow Airport on Friday.
...
A spokesperson for Heathrow pointed out that immigration halls are controlled by Border Force officials, who are helping to implement new rules around negative Covid tests for passengers, and not by airports.

He added: “We’ve been clear since last May really that social distancing in an airport environment isn’t really possible.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/heathrow-airport-crowds-superspreading-covid-b900902.html


The UK has always valued its traditions:



Sir Richard Wharton: In stage one, we say nothing is going to happen.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: In stage two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.

Sir Richard Wharton: In stage three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there’s nothing we can do.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: In stage four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it’s too late now ...

Nigella Lawson's Recipe of the Day



https://twitter.com/Nigella_Lawson/status/1351838041573351428

Nigella Lawson
@Nigella_Lawson

Well, yes, Bitter Orange Tart just happens to be #RecipeOfTheDay. Apart from anything else, there are more things to make with Seville oranges than marmalade! This is not complicated: the base is bashed ginger nuts https://t.co/ZXSbk7uMX8

Pennsylvania woman accused of laptop theft from Pelosi's office during Capitol riot taken into custo

Source: 6ABC Action News

Pennsylvania woman accused of laptop theft from Pelosi's office during Capitol riot taken into custody

A woman accused of storming the US Capitol and stealing a laptop or hard drive from the office of Speaker Pelosi with the intention of selling it to Russia's intel service has been taken into custody.

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania -- A woman accused of storming the US Capitol and stealing a laptop or hard drive from the office of Speaker Pelosi with the intention of selling it to Russia's intel service has been taken into custody, according to the Justice Department.

Riley June Williams was taken into custody in the Middle District of Pennsylvania on Monday.

Williams is facing charges of Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority; Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct on Capitol Grounds


Read more: https://6abc.com/pa-woman-accused-of-laptop-theft-from-pelosis-office-in-custody/9780340/



Mugshot:



Arrest record:



Note: This is a breaking story, so the content on the page at the link may have changed to add more details since the OP was posted.

Welsh Government to take legal action over Westminster 'power grab' act

The Welsh Government is set to press ahead with a legal challenge over Boris Johnson’s controversial “power grab” legislation, with the backing of Scottish ministers.

Jeremy Miles, Welsh European transition minister, wrote to UK ministers last month notifying of the intent to take action over the “outrageous attack on legislative competence” through the UK Internal Market Bill.

A response has now been received from the UK Government, but Miles has told members of the Senedd the questions which had been posed “haven’t been answered”.

He is expected to make a statement this coming week which will confirm the intention to proceed with the legal action.

https://www.thenational.scot/news/19017340.welsh-government-take-legal-action-westminster-power-grab-act/


It's good to see the Welsh Government taking the lead on this.
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