Friday, January 15, 2021
The Prime Minister has thanked Marcus Rashford and others for their letter regarding children’s food provision – and will respond shortly.
On Wednesday the Prime Minister warned that our NHS is facing enormous pressures from the new variant of COVID-19.
This week, tragically we recorded the highest daily reported number of fatalities from Covid-19 in our fight against this virus since it first appeared almost a year ago. So health experts and the government are once again urging the British people to stay at home and save lives.
"Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible."
This quote is sometimes attributed to Einstein, as in the image below, and is also sometimes attributed to the graphic artist Maurice Escher. The "Quote Investigator" website argues that "The original version of the adage was written in Spanish by Miguel de Unamuno who should receive credit."
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
OVER 2.8 MILLION vaccination doses have been administered so far across the United Kingdom
Britain has vaccinated more people than any other country in Europe, and we were the first country to approve both the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Over the last seven days, we have delivered more than double the amount of vaccination doses than any other European country with the exception of Denmark.
Britain is in fourth place in the world for vaccinations per capita, behind only Israel, the UAE and Bahrain – a testament to British science.
We have carried out over 2.8 million vaccinations across the United Kingdom, and by the end of next week, hope to have set up 1,200 GP-led, pharmacy-led and hospital vaccine delivery sites, along with our 7 giant vaccination centres.
Our Vaccines Delivery Plan, the largest vaccination programme in British history, outlines how we will vaccinate tens of millions of people by spring – saving thousands of lives and providing a road map back to normal life.
"There is no time to be lost in rolling out vaccinations across Europe. Despite the impression of chaos in the United States during the twilight of the Trump administration, the Americans have vaccinated more of their population than any European country except the UK, which in turn has exceeded the entire EU.
But there is one nation that has put the whole world to shame. Israel has already vaccinated 21 per cent of its population, despite initial resistance from many people in both the ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities. Rabbis and imams were enlisted to support the campaign and, once a critical mass had been inoculated, fear of being left out kicked in."
(Daniel Johnson, from a piece on The Article site, "While Europe argues about vaccination, Israel gets it done. And the UK?" which you can read in full here.)
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
A message from Trudy Harrison MP, on her Facebook page, to parents in Copeland about the meal parcels being sent to feed children who would normally get free school meals (where the school is not sending a voucher with the cash equivalent)
"There are some shocking images of crap beige food being posted, allegedly to replace the meal a child would receive from their school if in receipt of free school meals and not getting vouchers.
If your hamper lacks the DfE’s clear requirements please contact me at Trudy.Harrison.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01229 718333 and I’ll liaise with the school.
Anything less is unacceptable to me and to DfE.
Well done Andy Pratt Ltd. that’s what is expected."
Today the government has announced the rollout of an additional 300,000 laptops and tablets, to help disadvantaged children and young people learn at home while we all play our part, staying home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.
"This weekend, and with the moral courage of Ecuador or Paraguay declaring war on Germany in February 1945, Twitter finally decided to ban Donald Trump."
(Ed West, one of many interesting or amusing points in an article on "Unherd" called "Can Twitter exist in a democracy" which asks whether social media platforms like Twitter are undermining the values essential to the democracies which spawned them.
You can read the full article here.)
Monday, January 11, 2021
The best known variation, which occurs about two thirds of the way through, is the one which was used by Lloyds Bank for their "black horse" series of TV advert.
My personal favourite one is the first one.
Obviously this performance of the full set includes both the "Not the black horse" variation, and later the "black horse" one.
"Vaccines give clear hope for the future, but for now we must all stay home, protect the NHS and save lives."
(Professor Chris Whitty, government Chief Medical Officer, speaking as part of the "Act like you have the virus" government information campaign)
Sunday, January 10, 2021
The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna has this week been given regulatory approval for supply by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
This follows a thorough and rigorous assessment by the MHRA’s teams of scientists, including advice from the independent Commission on Human Medicines, which reviewed in depth all the data to ensure this vaccine meets the required standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
MHRA Chief Executive Dr June Raine described the approval as:
Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Chair of the Expert Working Group of the Independent Commission on Human Medicines said:
“If there is one absolute iron law in politics, which has applied, does apply, and will apply in any political system created by the human race, it is this.”
“There will always be a conservative faction — and it will always be powerful. In fact, except in times of revolution and great upheaval, it will usually tend to be dominant.”
“When I say ‘conservative,’ I am not referring to any particular political philosophy. I am using the term in lower case, so to speak. I am referring to the basic attitude of most people that unless conditions are intolerable it is usually better to err on the side of caution.”
(Eric Flint - speech given to a character in his novel "1636: the Ottoman onslaught."
It may perhaps add some context to this speech to add that Eric Flint describes himself as a socialist and the character to whom he gives this speech is also on the left. The speech is made by a radical reminding her fellow radicals that there may be issues that conservatives are right about.
It is also the case that intelligent conservatives, whether with a upper or lower case 'c' at the beginning, should equally recognise that no political philosophy has a monopoly of wisdom and people on the left may occasionally get things right too.)
Saturday, January 09, 2021
I am warned by Cumbria police that the criminal leeches who try to latch on to so many essential facets of modern society and use them to try to rob innocent people of their money have now latched onto the COVID vaccination programme.
Apparently a very plausible looking text is circulating which starts with a text message informing the recipient that they are eligible to apply for the new vaccine and to click on the link in the text message. The user is then led to a webpage, which looks very convincing and asks them to complete some details, in order for them to be able to apply for the vaccine.
The details asked for:
Date of birth
Proof of address
Card payment details
Be warned - if you get such a text or find such a website that these are fraudsters looking to steal your money.
More details of the scam can be found on the Neighbourhood Watch website here.
Always be very careful of anyone who contacts you online and asks for this sort of information.
Friday, January 08, 2021
Nearly a million and a half people have now been vaccinated in Britain with at least the first part of a vaccine approved following extensive clinical trials.
The number of vaccinations per head of population in the UK is fourth in the world (after Bahrain, Israel and the UAE) which is a testament to British science, as we are leading the world from the front in science, research and development.So far the number of people vaccinated is
Hundreds more vaccination sites are being set up across the country in a rapid acceleration of the UK vaccination programme.
Yesterday, GP sites started rolling out the vaccine – and the Prime Minister has confirmed that, by the end of next week, there will be 1,000 GP-led sites providing vaccines, 223 hospital sites, seven giant vaccination centres and a first wave of 200 community pharmacies.
Taken together, these should have the capacity to deliver hundreds of thousands of vaccines per day by 15 January – and it is our plan that everyone should have a vaccination available within a radius of ten miles.
The aim is to have offered a vaccine to every elderly care home resident by the end of January.
The government is introducing a National Booking Service to help make the process of booking and accessing an appointment easier for those offered a vaccine in the coming days, weeks and months ahead.
"Justice must always be tempered with mercy. Trump himself has shown nobody any mercy. If he is fortunate enough to receive it, he should do the decent thing: retire to his golf course" ... "and live out his life in penitence and obscurity."
(Daniel Johnson, conclusion of an article called "A reckoning is due for the siege of the capitol. Trump deserves no mercy" about on whether Donald Trump should be prosecuted or pardoned in a few days time when he leaves or is removed from office, which you can read here.)
Thursday, January 07, 2021
Wednesday, January 06, 2021
The proposal for a new mining facility in the Whitehaven and St Bees area to produce Coking coal for the British and European steel industry, which has been approved three times by Cumbria County Council, moved a step closer to being approved today as the government confirmed that they will not try to block the application.
This is very welcome news: I spoke in favour of the application, much of which is located in the area I represent. It has overwhelming support among the public in the Whitehaven and St Bees area - the vast majority of the opposition comes from at the nearest the opposite side of the county and in many cases the opposite side of the country.
The application was approved by councillors of all parties: the first two votes were unanimous, in the most recent vote, after members of the county council's DC&R committee had been put under sustained and enormous pressure by vociferous opponents of the proposal, the West Cumbria Mining application was supported by the great majority of members of the planning committee including a majority of councillors on the committee from all three political parties, plus the independent member.
The application also has the support of the local MP and all the other Conservative MPs representing seats in Cumbria. Cumbria’s Conservative MPs described today’s announcement as ‘great day for West Cumbria’.
Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland, said:
“I have consistently fully supported the West Cumbria Mining Project which will bring considerable investment, hundreds of well-paid permanent jobs, apprenticeship opportunities, skills training for young people, opportunities for local suppliers and Woodhouse Colliery will be sited in an area which has been one of Copeland’s more deprived areas.
“I very much welcome that West Cumbria Mining have indicated that 80 per cent of jobs will be sourced locally and that is good news for Copeland.
“West Cumbria Mining will be an innovative leader in coking coal extraction. I welcome the news that the government has decided not to call in the original planning decision.
“I would now urge West Cumbria Mining and Cumbria County Council to work closely together on the remaining legal planning obligations to get this project over the line.”
When operational the mine will supply metallurgical coal to the UK and international steel industry, deliver hundreds of local jobs and support a first-class supply chain across the county.
Mark Kirkbride, chief executive of West Cumbria Mining, said: “I am delighted that the holding direction has been lifted following what has been an extremely rigorous planning process.
“My team and I are now looking forward to concluding planning sign-off and then being able to commence preparatory steps to begin site work later this year.
“WCM would like to thank all those people and organisations, both in the local community and further afield, who have supported the project over the past six years with particular thanks to Copeland MP Trudy Harrison, Workington MP Mark Jenkinson, Copeland mayor Mike Starkie and Allerdale deputy leader Mike Johnson.”
Later today the Education Secretary will set out the steps the government is taking to support students in the months ahead, as it has, very sadly and as a last resort, been necessary to ask schools and colleges to shut once more in our efforts to tackle the virus and save lives.