Current Affairs

Sounds odd but legally fair game

A leading Labour-run council has banned staff from smoking at their desks if they are working from home, in what campaigners say is an emerging “moral crusade” by local authorities against tobacco lovers.

Hammersmith and Fulham council, which represents one of the richest areas in London, told its staff in guidance that “any part of a private dwelling used solely for work purposes will be required to be smoke-free”.

The guidance was issued in a joint “bi-borough corporate health and safety document setting out the council’s no-smoking policy with Royal Kensington and Chelsea”.

Well, yes, employers are supposed to make sure you’re not exposed to danger while working. we can all point out that smoking is up to the individual and all that but that horse bolted a long time ago.

Silly, silly

It’s the time of year when gardeners are turning their ripe tomatoes into sauces and salsas and cucumbers into pickles. But a boom in gardening and preparing food at home during the coronavirus pandemic has led to a scarcity of supplies with which to preserve them.

From Maine and Vermont to Louisiana and West Virginia, gardeners have reported being in a pickle when it comes to finding the right size glass jars, the special lids to safely seal them, or the bands with which to screw them on. They’ve gone from store to store and some have given in to paying higher prices online.

“We have been everywhere,” said Vanessa Ware of Hurricane, West Virginia, who said she went to at least half a dozen stores after running out of supplies for her tomatoes, peppers, corn and sauerkraut canning.

The emissions from looking for the supplies being greater or lesser than those from just going shopping for the food?

Harry Harvey

A missing 80-year-old hiker has turned up at a press conference about his own disappearance, declaring: “I’ve had three grand days of wild camping.”
Harry Harvey had sparked panic among his family when he failed to return from a walk in the Yorkshire Dales on Sunday, triggering a frantic search effort.
Mountain rescue teams feared the worst for the missing walker, due to his age and the exposed environment where he was last seen, in Swaledale, North Yorkshire.
His loved ones decided to stage a desperate appeal in the hope of tracing him on Tuesday at the nearby Tann Hill Inn, one of the most remote pubs in the country.

Sadly this is not a perfect story. Not an Aye Oop in sight and true perfection would also require that the search team be formed, it look for two days, and at one point Mr Harvey, part of that team, should ask another “Well, who are we looking for then?”

But still, rather nice:

As the event began, however, a Land Rover pulled into the car park – out of which climbed Mr Harvey with the assistance of a mountain rescue team.

Quite so Rachel, quite so

Britain must learn to stand on its own two feet again, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, Rachel Reeves, has said, outlining an emerging Labour plan for building a stronger country after the pandemic.

A key theme will be fostering resilience in families, communities and public services, to protect people from shocks in their personal or national life.

Reeves is struck that, despite being the sixth richest country in the world and having a proud manufacturing history, the UK couldn’t even muster enough protective clothing for its own key people in a pandemic.

“I want us to be a more resilient country. I want us to build up our capacity to be able to stand on our own two feet, to build our manufacturing and productive capacity again so we’re not having to go cap in hand


A union claims production of some of the UK’s favourite biscuits will be halted at an Edinburgh factory as staff plan to stage a series of strikes in a pay dispute.

The GMB union has accused bosses at Burton’s Biscuits Co in Sighthill of making a “derisory” pay offer, saying it shows management “do not value” the workers.

The manufacturer makes well-known biscuit brands including Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels.

Therefore we need many unions to ensure they don’t all go on strike at the same time and thus provide us with resilience….

Of course, there is no cancel culture

A data specialist who joined the Government after answering Dominic Cummings’ job advert seeking ‘misfits and weirdos’ was sacked after saying that police should use live rounds against Black Lives Matter demonstrators.
Will O’Shea, 57, posted the comment about BLM protests on July 5, when marches were being organised across Britain following the killing of George Floyd by police officers in the US, The Guardian reported.
Responding to a social media post suggesting that Metropolitan Police officers had been chased out of a housing estate in London by demonstrators, and another post that called the police cowards, Mr O’Shea reportedly replied on Twitter: “Time to get out the live rounds.”

As a lawyerly friend who reads this blog has pointed out things that have been said here – whether in jest or not – rather rule out any such sorta employment for me.

Another fun job

The IoD is looking for a new chairman. About which an outgoing – no, an, not the – bod says:

A clash between a “very strong Thatcherite image” and the modern views of British entrepreneurs lies behind a decade-long decline in membership at the Institute of Directors, its outgoing policy chief has claimed.

Edwin Morgan, who left the lobby group yesterday, said that the institute had spent years shifting from the “really strident ultra-free market” stance for which it was once known to a more measured position.

Would be a fun job to reverse that, wouldn’t it? Given that it could be the shifting that has led to the decline.

After all, there ought to be at least one organisation representing free market headbangers out there, no?

Who has Rod Liddle pissed off now?

Sunday August 23 2020, 12.00am, The Sunday Times

In the comments there is this:

Why all these coded references to Boris’ relationship here and in yesterday’s Times, e.g. This Week article? Why the references to discord – implying Carrie has kicked Boris into the tent – and longevity – “trusting their relationship will sustain”? I don’t remember any such recent prime minister face this type of speculation about their relationships.

This might make sense to the hacks involved or may be some wry in-joke.

He’s not making cracks about Boris chasing – well, in No 10, who could he be chasing?

Where’s Johnson? Not in the tent, not on our TV screens and not in charge


Did the column make it into print? And now it’s back. Very vicious about Boris but what did they excise?

It’s an interesting definition

And this brings us back to “My hero is Roosevelt” Johnson and his chancellor. Having known all his predecessors since Reginald Maudling in the early 1960s – with the exception of Sajid Javid, who was sacked by the ruthless Johnson even before he had familiarised himself with the corridors of power

Being familiar with the corridors of power is defined as being personally known to William Keegan. Not wholly sure that’s the definition I would use myself.

Woodrow Wilson, eh?

So Princeton is getting rid of his name from buildings ‘n’ stuff because of his racist views.

Hmm, well. That’s rather a cat out of the bag, isn’t it? “Racist views” would include near all of the Democratic Party pre- about 1950, wouldn’t it?

Well he’s right, but not the wisest thing to say right now

The top editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer has resigned following an uproar over a headline bemoaning property damage incurred during the protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

The newspaper announced on Saturday that Stan Wischnowski, 58, was stepping down as senior vice-president and executive editor, after apologizing on Wednesday for the “horribly wrong” decision to use the headline “Buildings Matter, Too” on a column Tuesday. suggesting an equivalence between the loss of buildings and the lives of black Americans.

Lives matter, buildings matter, everything matters. The trick is to find the right balance. But current times and all that….

How long do you think it’ll take?

Far-right activists are posing as journalists in a “deplorable” bid to spread fake news about Muslims breaking lockdown, the government’s Islamophobia advisor has warned.

How long before anyone saying anything even vaguely possible to describe as islamophobia is outed as being on of these poseurs? After all, it’s a pretty easy logical switch to make, isn’t it……get everyone to believe the NF are doing this, then insist that anyone doing it is NF.

Most amusing

A group of would-be holidaymakers who flew in a private jet from London to the Côte d’Azur in France has been turned back by police.

Seven men and three women arrived on the chartered aircraft to Marseille-Provence airport, where helicopters were waiting to fly them on to Cannes, where they had rented a luxury villa.

No Zil lanes here, the law applies to thee too.

Now, for points, because points make prizes, guess the answer using this information:

The men, aged 40-50, and women, aged 23-25, were refused permission to enter France and ordered by police to fly back to the UK.
Once the Embraer Legacy jet had landed at Marseille-Provence, the group, made up of several nationalities including Croatian, German, French, Romanian and Ukrainian,

We’d allocate the younger women to which nationalities, the older men to which?

Gee, ya think?

Some ministers believe the ‘draconian’ measures have gone far enough and risk harming the economy

Of course these are politicians so they’ve still not grasped it. Of course the restrictions harm the economy. That’s not even the issue. What should be – but so far isn’t – is that allowing the disease to rip through will be damaging, harming the economy is damaging, what we need is the right balance between the two.

Lockdowns can only ever be temporary things

Britain’s coronavirus lockdown began to fray on Wednesday night as official figures showed an “uptick” in the number of people using transport.

The number of those using their cars and public transport, which had been consistently dropping since strict social distancing measures were introduced, rose for the first time at the beginning of this week.

It is feared that the sunny forecast for the weekend, which could see temperatures of 20C in London, will prompt more people to go break the rules and go outside and socialise as the Easter holidays begin.

Mervyn King, the former Governor of the Bank of England, warned that there could be a “rebellion” if the measures are enforced for too long.

No, not could be, will be. Only a change on emphasis there though, for Our Merv* is generally right.

*Papists of a certain age from areas of the West Country will have a memory of “Our Merv”. The Bishop of Clifton** was Mervyn, an oddish name for a priest but there we go, there must have been a St Mervyn at some time. During the services there is a “We pray for…..” and that includes the sick of the parish, maybe those recently deceased etc, but also “Our Bishop….” and in this case this would be “Our Bishop Mervyn”. Just part of the ritual. And of course given West Country practices he became “Our Merv”.

Mervyn King is not a Catholic bishop but I’ve always thought of him as “Our Merv”.

**Think that was the Papist see of the time


Among the various considerations over the coronavirus one we really do need to add to the mix.


Decisions about what to do are being made by small groups of people. And it’s easy enough for small groups to get caught up in a spiral of ever more extreme words and actions. This being one of the manifestations of groupthink.

No, I do not say this is the explanation for all. But I do say that it explains at least the appearance of some of what is going on.

The cure for groupthink is opening up the decision making group to others. From outside the previously exclusive group.

A coronavirus oddity

Supermarkets here are just fine. Near everything in stock – including toilet paper – and no rush, hassle or panic. Brother’s in next country over, same thing. The UK, chaos.

What the hell happened that excitable Latins are now more phlegmatic than the British?