I had a really disconcerting experience just after I filed yesterday’s edition. I went to Bat & Ball Sainsbury’s (which likes to style itself as Sevenoaks Sainsbury’s but really isn’t) and headed, as usual, jauntily away from the door in order to find and join the end of the queue. Except there wasn’t one. Albeit circuitously I walked straight up to the door and was ushered in. What kind of strange practice unknown to modern man was this? And why has demand for supermarket food in the Sevenoaks projects seemingly collapsed overnight? Is this the economic collapse we all fear personified? And then I noticed the snaking line of cars, stretching back maybe a mile and coming from several directions causing some contretemps at the point where it narrowed into one lane. Yes, Bat & Ball McDonalds re-opened yesterday. Who needs JS when you can have McDs?
Credit is due
The government has confirmed its previous announcement that it will provide a reinsurance back stop for trade credit. The scheme will provide £10bn in guarantees and will run (back dated) from 1st April to 31st December – with an option to extend if necessary. This solution has been designed with “extensive consultation with the insurance industry” including LIIBA. Precise details on how the scheme will work are not covered in the press statement so we will continue to monitor developments. But first impressions are that this will be an effective solution.
Two differing but complementary accounts of yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday – here and here. I think we need to face two truths for the remainder of this Parliament. Firstly, Keir “don’t call me Sir” Starmer will dissect the Prime Minister with a steely focus on stuff like facts pretty much every week – and Johnson won’t like it since, as the Guardian article observes, he really can’t cope with criticism. Secondly, this will make not one iota of difference in the wider electorate as PMQs is something basically only members of the Westminster lobby watch. Still, it does make for interesting television. And it led to Henry Deedes making the following observation: “[i]t is clear he (Bozzer) regards Starmer as a shameless opportunist”. And never in the history of all hitherto existing society can one man have been so peculiarly well qualified to make such a judgement.
It ill beGoves us
Attached is a summary of the evidence given to the House of Lords EU Select Committee by Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Govey Govey Govey and Chief UK Brexit negotiator David “not that one” Frost. It included a section on financial services helpfully highlighted by Isabelle BIPAR to draw out the key points for brokers. This includes the rather refreshing evidence that Frost at least has cottoned on to the fact there are EU financial services directives that do not have equivalence provisions. Finally! And also it records the amazing-even-for-him gambit of Gove attempting to get out of a tricky question to which he clearly did not know the answer by essentially saying “don’t ask me mate, I don’t know what I am talking about”. Taking his anti-expert philosophy to new depths.
Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind
Unsurprisingly, British zoos are in peril as they are being forced to remain closed. And if it is bad here one can only surmise what may be going on in some countries where animals are held in captivity is less luxurious circumstances than tends to be the case here. I am sure we will soon be faced with news footage of a depressed polar bear wandering round and round its cage in some godforsaken zoo probably in Belarus (you will know if it is wearing slippers).
But it is not just caged animals that are not coping well with the current lockdown. Large ships have started going round and round in circles as well. Now it is claimed that the cause of this is a mystery but I am not so sure. As for the polar bear so for the vessel. I mean if you kept getting turned away every time you tried to dock anywhere; if you had to carry the same manky cargo on you for months because you couldn’t find anywhere to offload it; if half your crew had seemingly abandoned you, it might start to get to you a bit. Ship depression. It’s a thing.
Premium Return 2 – The Return
The sequel to yesterday’s feature on FCA’s call for insurers to review the value of products. Where they do decide to provide a return of premium you should be aware of the possible or not IPT implications of this.
Nacho not libre
To continue our irregular series of articles that you would presume were April Fools in any other circumstances, we bring you the story of Spanish porn actor Nacho Libre and the venomous toad. Nacho stands accused of having presided as a Shaman at a ceremony where a fashion photographer died as a result of inhaling the vapours of a Sonoran desert toad. Could happen to anyone, surely? But more interestingly, the vapour “contains a psychedelic substance known as 5-MEO-DMT which medical researchers have studied as a possible treatment for depression and anxiety”. So give some to the ships!
And this just in on Twitter. “GAMECHANGER! WH scientists, not that loser Fauci, have cracked the Rona! 5-MEO-DMT is a great, great drug. Totally cures the Covid! The only way it could be better is if it was 5-MEO-DJT. They should really do that. Name it after me. Hydroxychloroquine is so, so sad. I always said it was no good. Get me some Sonoran toads. Winning!”
Presumably once the test result is in, most of Parliament will be on Alokdown?