This was first posted on Facebook on 29th January 2021, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
The 2021 news is going to be about vaccine supply.
All governments want as many of their people as possible to get vaccinated, as fast as reasonably possible. The UK got vaccine approval pushed through early, before we lost the emergency provisions available to us through the EU: the EU countries were able to move at more leisure, but without any delay.
The total population of the EU is about 450 million. In August, the EU signed a deal with AstraZeneca for 300 million doses, with an option for 100 million more – that is, enough vaccine to fully-immunise almost half of the EU population. This vaccine would be produced at the UK-Swedish multinational’s plants in the Netherlands and Belgium. Those plants have reported production delays: their CEO says production at those plants is “basically two months behind where we wanted to be” and a EU official is quoted as saying that instead of receiving 100 million doses in the next two months, the EU is now expecting only 25 million by the end of March.
This was first posted on Facebook on 7th November 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
Mid-afternoon UK time, so morning EST, Donald Trump announced by tweet that his fixer Rudy Giuilani would be holding a press conference at Four Seasons in Philadelphia at 11:30am EST.
It seems Trump tweeted the announcement before his team had got the agreement of the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at the Comcast Center, because shortly afterwards, he deleted that tweet and tweeted that the press conference would be happening at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, which is a small garden centre in Philadelphia. Next to an adult bookstore. With a crematorium across the street. I am not kidding you about any of this.
This was first posted on Facebook on 19th September 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
I assume Oliver Wright, Francis Elliott, and Matt Chorley genuinely thought they were writing an article at the request of Dominic Cummings (I assume it was Big Dom) for three purposes: to make people feel sympathetic towards poor Boris Johnson, who has such a hard life, and also to frame the very slight concession to Tory rebels over the Internal Market Bill as a much bigger U turn than in fact it is, and finally to assure everyone that Boris Johnson is really, truly, a dedicated public servant and a man who intends to fight the 2024 general election.
This was first posted on Facebook on 17th September 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
Just as a squib to start with:
Chris Grayling has been quietly replaced on the Security Committee, chaired by formerly-Tory MP Julian Lewis, and has taken on a part-time job, 7 hours a week “advising” Hutchison Ports Europe, for which he is to be paid £100,000 a year. Given Grayling’s track record it is just as well it’s only 7 hours a week, or it could cost Hutchison Ports Europe a lot more than a hundred grand.
And Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, has chosen to inform the nation of a regional lockdown via the Peston show on ITV, not via the House of Commons or even the daily coronacvirus briefing. (And Chris Whitty says it needs to be a national full lockdown for at least two weeks, but that of course that wouldn’t suit Johnson’s donors.) Lindsay Hoyle scolded the government for that breach last time it’s happened: now it’s happened again.
But this is politics as usual: it’s deadly, during a global pandemic, but it’s normal Tory stuff.
This was first posted on Facebook on 8th September 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
Today’s PMQs were less of a fiasco for Boris Johnson than last week’s, despite his Secretary of State for Northern Ireland admitting in the Commons yesterday that yes, the proposed changes to the Withdrawal Agreement did break international law in a “limited and specific way”.
This was first posted on Facebook on 19th July 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
I’ve seen several people sharing an article by Nick Cohen on Boris Johnson. Nick Cohen is someone whose politics I pretty much entirely disagree with, except on Brexit.
Let me pull out this paragraph:
“Conservative politicians talk about Johnson with a venom few socialists can match. It’s not that he’s a criminal like Putin, they say. He doesn’t have the balls to be truly evil. Rather, he is a pathetically insecure narcissist who turns on you if you don’t feed his craving for applause. “He’s an abject, hectoring, incompetent show-off,” said one. “If you don’t love him or can’t fake a love for him, he will go for you.””
The first reported case of coronavirus outside China was on 13th January. It was in Thailand, and the patient had come to Thailand from Wuhan Province, in China.
Coronavirus is a virus that originated in an animal – almost certainly one sold live to be killed at home for food – that mutated so that it didn’t just transmit animal-to-human, it could also transmit human-to-human. Its proper name is 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease: coronavirus is a name for a type of virus to which this belongs.