London: The British Prime Minister’s personal performance at the CBI in the Port of Tyne received mixed reviews, the content was overcast by Boris Johnson’s irrepressible spontaneity. Johnson reiterated that his “levelling up” program was a “moral mission” both idealistically and economically. The Port is to be home to the world’s largest windfarm at Dogger Bank, a joint venture between SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni. Atd 3.6GW, the wind farm will become the biggest in the world when fully operational in 2026, and would be capable of providing around 5% of the UK’s electricity.
The Government anticipates that by 2030 offshore wind could generate enough electricity to power every UK home. This and the Envision next generation Gigafactory, which is crucial to Nissan’s plans for their new electric crossover/SUV, will start producing in 2024 with 11GHw lithium-ion cell batteries and will ultimately produce 38GWh annually. In the past Britain’s North East has been a key player in shipbuilding, railway engineering and coal mining, now the area is set to be a key player in the Net Zero objective.
A vote was held in the House of Commons over “Adult social care charging reform”, it was passed by an unexpectedly small majority of 26, 18 Tories voted against and 69 Tories abstained. The government plans to introduce a new £86,000 cap on the amount anyone in England will need to spend on their personal care over their lifetime. Unfortunately, all anyone heard was they would have to spend £86,000 looking after themselves, most likely but not exclusively in old age. The threshold below which people will not have to pay anything from their assets for their care increases to £20,000.
The Bill is sophisticated with lots of cross referencing, it seems fair and reasonable when the small print is read, especially compared to social care in the US. It is also an improvement on what is available now, people in need of residential care can still defer payment of their care home fees so that they do not face the added stress of having to rush into selling their home. Unfairness in the social care system will be resolved, such as people who fund their own care often pay more than people who are funded through their Local Authority for equivalent care.
The many people with assets between 20,000 and £100,000 will be eligible for some means-tested support, this helps people without substantial assets. The opposition and press were quick to gripe about those with substantial assets being the beneficiary but in reality, those people are less likely to use social care. The real test of the government’s plan will be in implementation and the quality of delivery of services.
All this positive news was dwarfed by the PM’s enthusiasm for a family outing to a Peppa Pig theme park the day before, Johnson used the utopia of Peppa Pig World as a metaphor for his vision of post-Brexit Britain, full of creativity and innovation, with good schools, safe streets, new infrastructure. The popular cartoon character Peppa Pig is described as “an outgoing preschool pig, she participates in many energetic activities. She learns something new every day and has a lot of fun with her family and friends.”
The media and opposition forces went overboard with mockery, even impertinently asking if the PM was alright, and then came the “leak” allegedly from somewhere in Downing Street that the PM’s ship was less than ship-shape. Fingers immediately pointed at No11 and speculation about one of the Chancellor’s advisors. So far, the Chancellor and the PM have been complimentary there is no actual evidence that this has changed or will change; Rishi Sunak has supported Johnson’s spending and since the pandemic has had to raise taxes, for which he has taken most of the flak.
Johnson seems unphased, he knows the wiles and ways of press and politicians, and recognises there is an effort to promote an atmosphere of dysfunction between No10 and No11. The respective communications/public relations departments have some urgent damage limitation messaging to do.
The Executive from the 1922 Conservative Backbench Committee resumed routine meet with the PM on Thursday, allegedly 20 letters of no confidence have been received; the threshold for a Leadership Vote of Confidence or a Challenge to Leadership is 54 letters, it was not disclosed if this subject was part of the meeting.
The awful death of 27 migrant asylum seekers aboard a German operated people smuggling boat, has urged collaboration between France, UK and the EU; France is still smarting from the fishing row, AUKUS and Brexit, but the smuggling of desperate people is a joint problem.
Boris Johnson penned a prescriptive and public letter to President Emanuel Macron, causing the French to take offense and uninvite UK Home Minister Priti Patel to a meeting in Calais scheduled for Sunday, with French Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin, and her counterparts from Germany, Netherlands and Belgium. It is expected the meeting will focus both on the criminal smugglers and the humanitarian aspects of the crisis, which in the UK is at its worst for 20 years.