Recognising the Nation’s most important cat: Larry of #10 


It was ‘International Cat Day’ yesterday, Did you know that? I didn’t. I learned of that important day only when I saw the photo of Johnson at his desk in No 10, Red Box and all, and Larry walking across the table.

That day was so important that Jeremy Corbyn had to have a photo of himself and his cat published on social media as well! Scroll down a bit here to see those hugely important photos! In case you wonder – ‘International Dog Day’ is on the 26th of August – yes, I had to look it up …!

The silliness of the current silly season continues, as far as Brexit is concerned, with a howl from scientists. Reports are here, and paywalled here. This is what it is about:

“Announcing an overhaul of the immigration system, the prime minister promised to make it easier for leading academics to settle in Britain when it had left the European Union. His proposal was ridiculed by the world-leading physicist Professor Sir Andre Geim, whose discovery of graphene was lauded by Mr Johnson in his announcement. Sir Andre was joined by other prominent British scientists in warning that leaving the EU — particularly without a deal — would cause long-lasting damage to the country’s status as a world leader in science.” (link, paywalled)

It’s only about turmoil, or so Sir Andre says, but looking closer we see that it’s about money. First, this:

“The government may try and reduce the barriers to entry for scientists but they cannot reduce turmoil that would be caused to science in the UK by a no-deal Brexit,” he told The Times. “Scientists are not fools. They know that turmoil is inevitable for many years.” Sir Andre revealed that his close collaborator Professor Sir Konstantin Novoselov, with whom he shared the Nobel prize for physics in 2010, had left their base in Manchester, where they discovered graphene, after the 2016 referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. “Konstantin has already left the UK to work in Singapore,” he said. “I think that tells you everything you need to know.” (link, paywalled)

That tells me all I need to know – namely that even Nobel Prize Winners are not above tweaking the truth by not mentioning that Singapore has been actively attracting scientists from all over the world with state-of-the-art facilities and huge grants. There’s more though:

“Sir Paul Nurse, director of the Francis Crick Institute, warned that British institutions would find it harder to participate in international collaborations after Brexit. “The benefits of participating in European schemes go far beyond the money,” he said. “Ninety-seven per cent of research groups at the Francis Crick Institute would prefer to stay within the EU’s Horizon Europe funding programme, as it promotes meaningful collaboration and has a reputation that no domestic scheme can hope to replicate. The UK should associate to Horizon Europe as soon as possible.” (link, paywalled)

If that’s the case, why hasn’t that Institute, why haven’t these scientists, upped sticks and moved to the blessed EU? Three years should’ve been sufficient time, no? And then we get the hoary old Remain arguments yet again:

Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist, said he had noted that Britain and the US had produced more Nobel scientists per capita than any other country, but suggested that they might no longer want to work here. “Foreseeing that our top scientists would no longer wish to work under xenophobic, illiberal, destructively chaotic regimes, I suggested precisely the policy Mr Johnson has today announced — but for New Zealand,” he said.” (link, paywalled)

Yeah right. Unlike those top scientists we have not forgotten that one of the first acts of the EU after Brexit was to deny the UK further collaboration in “Galileo” … Of course, we have to wonder why it is that all those renowned scientists seem to have no difficulties when collaborating with scientists and institutions in the USA.

The Science Editor of The Times makes some valid points in his article: which is a bit more measured than the remarks of those top scientists:

“Science is not done by the “best and brightest” who this announcement is seeking to attract. It is done by huge cross-border collaborations, involving technicians, doctoral students and early career researchers. […] One in six UK academics comes from an EU country. They come here, at the moment, because we are good at science. EU science funding has disproportionately gone to British institutions, a recognition of the quality of their output. Scientists are less concerned about the loss of this money that might result from no-deal, than the loss of collaborative networks. A third of papers are co-authored with other EU researchers. If a disorderly exit means Britain loses its EU funding, then some partnerships may stop.” (link, paywalled)

A bit contradictory, isn’t it: it’s ‘not about the money’, but about the ‘loss of EU funding’. Perhaps those worried scientists can explain that conundrum. There must be a huge difference between ‘money’ and ‘funding’ which my unscientific brain just cannot grasp.

It’s another case of eminent people talking down and dissing our country, the country they work and live in. I wonder why any of those scientists ‘not worried about money’ don’t simply leave and go to work in EU institutions? There must be a reason, surely? And have they actually talked to the relevant ministers in Whitehall?

Speaking of Mandarins, the great Labour Leader has done it again, winning the prize in the ‘taking the proverbial’ race, see e.g. hereHe wrote a letter to Sir Mark Sedwill, the top Mandarin:

“The Labour leader tried to drag Whitehall’s top mandarin into political clashes over whether Boris Johnson could stick to the October 31 departure date if he is forced to go to the polls. In a letter to Sir Mark Sedwill, Mr Corbyn said it would be “unprecedented” and “unconstitutional”. […] In the letter to Sir Mark, Mr Corbyn asked him to confirm that if the UK is due to leave the EU without a deal while an election is under way, the Government should seek another time-limited extension to Article 50 to allow the voters to decide.” (link)

Now that makes sense: an extension is what Corbyn really wants, rather than a coup according to McDonnell. Andrew Lilico in the DT explains the reason:

“But the more fundamental reason is that Corbyn really sees no deal as an opportunity, not a threat. He doesn’t actually care whether the UK remains in the EU or not, provided he is not seen as responsible for either outcome. What he cares about is the overthrow of the current economic and political system and the introduction of a True Socialist state. Brexit is intrinsically a distraction, but in practical terms an opportunity.” (paywalled link)

Lilico next paints a gruesome picture, using all those Project Fear scenarios we’ve been told about by the MSM, these scenarios being the fuel for Corbyn’s dream:

“The best outcome, from the point of view of promoting Corbyn’s vision, is a general election held at the maximum point of disruption post-no deal. He wants an election to be held, if possible, with strikes crippling public services, food shelves empty in the shops, medicine shortages at the pharmacies, chaos in Northern Ireland, and lorries backed up at the Channel. Then he can say: Capitalism has failed; give Socialism a chance. […] But in truth, he doesn’t want no deal to be avoided. He wants it to happen, and to be as disruptive as he can possibly make it.” (paywalled link)

That interpretation puts the McDonnell ‘coup’ proposal into a different perspective: Corbyn lets his lieutenants blow hot air, watches all and sundry fill the pages with ‘constitutional’ ponderings while pursuing his real aim.

According to a former Labour spin doctor, Labour moderates have given up the fight against the McDonnells, paywalled, here – check the link, you might be able to see the marvellous cartoon on top of that piece!

And finally – while Johnson is asking the EU to show some common sense and work on a ‘new Brexit Deal’ (link), our friends from across the Channel are threatening us:

“French fishermen have warned Boris Johnson that they will bring cross-channel traffic to a halt by blockading Calais if they are not allowed to fish in British waters after a no-deal Brexit. Olivier Leprêtre, chairman of the regional fisheries committee in northern France, said: “If there is a hard Brexit, I can assure you that not a single kilo of seafood or fish from Britain will get into France. We would set up barricades. All the fishermen along the northern French coast will tell you the same thing.”  (link, paywalled)

We’ll eat that fish ourselves then, won’t we! There’s more, and it shows why M Leprêtre is so upset:

“Mr Leprêtre said that if EU trawlers were banned from British waters after Brexit “we will find Belgian, Dutch and Spanish boats all crammed into French waters”. At the same time British scallop fishermen would be barred from French territory. “But we mustn’t get into a situation where we are killing each other,” he said.” (link, paywalled)

While that’s certainly reassuring, we notice that in reality it’s about the French fearing a loss of easy income. Now that’s novel …

Note that it won’t be our non-preparedness which means we’ll all starve but a blockade by French and other fishermen of French ports. It’s easier to blame Brexit, though, and not the EU. I wonder how long it’ll take for EU meteorologists to blame the coming autumnal storms on Brexit as well.

Let the silly season continue with more silliness. I look forward to that ‘International Dog Day’ in expectation of nice dog photos but meanwhile I celebrate my daily ‘dog day’ by paying attention to my resident collie.




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