Portraits : July 2021 – December 2021
30/12/21 Ghislaine Maxwell convicted of trafficking teenage girls.
22/12/21 100,000 new Covid infections, but low hospitalisation. BJ relaxed fears about restricting Christmas, though.
19/12/21 Brexit Minister, Lord Frost, resigns with immediate effect. Objects to Government decisions. Liz Truss appointed.
15/12/21 Infection rate biggest ever Just under 80,000. Hospitality industry down 40%.
9/12/21 Uncertainty over Omicron dangers. Plan ‘B’ – mandatory face masks, work from home etc. Vaccine proof for venues.
8/12/21 Partygate leaks – Allegra Stratton resigns.
7/12/21 Raphael Marshall, FO whistle blower, says Kabul evacuation was “dysfunctional and chaotic”. 150,000 requests for evacuation sent, only 5% brought out. Dominic Raab (Home Sec.) & head of FCDO both on holiday.
“J.” 06 December 2021. “J” understands what it’s like to be without a home. And he sees the excesses of the Christmas period, and the impossible pressures faced by so many at this time. But now he helps others through his position on the board @catchinglives, a Canterbury-based day centre for the homeless, as a voice of someone who has been there. Our conversation is an honest one, and a very positive and enabling one.
6/12/21 Government announce new drug strategy – much more emphasis on rehab. & recovery, rather than crime.
5/12/21 3,900 homes in North STILL with no power.
1/12/21 Mixed messaging about Omicron restrictions leads to cancellations of Christmas events & hospitality bookings.
29/11/21 Storm Arwen cuts off power to nearly 1 million people in N. England. Unprecedented.
27/11/21 Omicron variant spreads around the world, but doesn’t seem to make people too ill.
“D.P.” 26 November 2021. “D.P.” knows all about migration and losing everything from her own past. Now her work is all about engaging with refugee migrant communities in Kent. She feels their difficulties and concerns very deeply, and helps young people in our own communities to empathise and understand. A very moving story.
24/11/21 27 people die in 1 deflated boat in the Channel.
“T.T.” 23 November 2021. “T.T.” believes in inclusion, regardless of background, learning needs or disability. He runs an amazing Inclusive Sport organisation, set up for both children & adults. He oozes passion and energy, & a belief in what he does and what others can do. This was especially essential during the endless months of lockdown. Totally inspiring.
23/11/21 B.J. re-designs Social Care reform to set cap at £87,000 of OWN money. Unfair on low-income claimants.
22/11/21 3x more migrants cross Channel than last year. Action to get councils to help house child migrants.
19/11/21 N. Eastern arm of HS2 cancelled. What happened to ‘levelling up’ pledge?
17/11/21 Covid surge in Europe. Germany, Netherlands & Austria locking down. Riots.
15/11/21 Azeem Rafiq becomes whistleblower for racism at Yorkshire County Cricket.
12/11/21 COP 26 Conference overruns by 24hrs. India and China dilute the pledge to end coal use.
“J.M.” 12 November 2021. J.M. works for an organic farm in Somerset, producing meat of the highest quality. She talks about how the broader industry is so skewed away from the real values of livestock farming. She has thoughts on the current problems with industrial meat processing, the lack of local abattoirs, and supply chain difficulties. What she’s most passionate about is the concept of Regenerative Farming – so appropriate as England’s new agriculture policy, the Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme, is being drafted.
11/11/21 Over 1000 migrants cross the Channel in 1 day – a record.
9/11/21 Dreadful events on Belarus/Poland border. Lukashenko encouraging migrants to try and cross, Polish guards pushing them back.
6/11/21 Boris Johnson accused of “shaming Parliament” as he tries to change lobbying rules around Owen Paterson. Sir John Major says he has “broken laws, broken treaties and broken his word”.
2/11/21 COP 26 – big pledges to stop global deforestation by 2030. Also, pledge to cut methane emissions globally by 30% by 2030.
31/10/21 COP 26 starts. Biggest CO2 emitters (Russia & China) not represented. Prince Charles speaks “literally the last chance saloon”.
Meanwhile, the two post-Brexit rows still rage – fishing rights and N.I. border issues.
30/10/21 G20 meeting in Rome. Decision to tax huge multinationals at min. 15%. “A game changer”. Also a pledge to support the WHO to vaccinate >70% of the world’s population by 2022.
“G.C.” 29 October 2021. He was a local councillor, with big ambitions for a better world. This is a timely conversation about Big Party Politics and how it affects local decisions, or the lack of them. G.C. become very disillusioned with his perceived powerlessness, and resigned.
29/10/21 France impound a British trawler, to make a point about their requirements for greater access to British waters.
27/10/21 Budget Day. Inflation forecast <+5%. State spending at it’s highest since days of ‘austerity’.
26/10/21 Facebook quarterly profits £6.5bn -“Making hate worse”. Australia won’t stop mining coal, ahead of COP26.
19/10/21 Government offering £5,000 incentive to anyone replacing conventional gas boiler with a heat pump.
18/10/21 Ford investing £230m in Merseyside plant to build electric cars. Say that all their new cars will be electric by 2030.
17/10/21 First ‘Earth Shot’ awards announced. £1m x 5 to be awarded annually for 10 years.
15/10/21 Sir David Amess, MP for Southend, stabbed to death in constituency surgery.
13/10/21 Haulage crisis extends to container ports, combined with global shipping problems.
11/10/21 Industries like steel paper and ceramics asking for government support with rocketing gas prices.
10/10/21 Research shows that UK lost 53% of its biodiversity. Worst score of G7 countries.
9/10/21 Locally – protests against Southern Water pumping raw sewage into the sea.
7/10/21 Gas prices up x7! Europe worried about overdependence on Russia for the supply.
3/10/21 First full London marathon for 2 years, with 40,000 runners!
1/10/21 Pork processors crisis. One farm has 800 piglets born/day, and none being sent for slaughter.
30/9/21 Only 2% of the 5.7billion vaccines administered globally have gone to Africa!
29/9/21 Fuel queues still everywhere. Climate activists glueing themselves to the M25.
25/9/21 We need 100,000 more HGV drivers. Offer of 5,000 temporary visas to EU drivers. Just 27 come over!
24/9/21 Petrol stations closed because of fuel shortage. No HGV drivers to deliver it.
Backlog in cancer diagnoses could take 10 years to clear.
“J.M.” 23 September 2021. A supremely modest person, who has set up invaluable support networks to help children and families through these recent times of isolation. She made sure they had access to toys, games and clothes, and emotional/practical support. I think people like J.M. will always be needed, pandemic or not.
23/9/21 Several cheaper energy supply companies go bust. Sabina Nessa, 28yrs, killed in S. London Park on 17th.
22/9/21 Government steps in to bale out fertiliser company (US owned), so as to restore CO2 supplies.
20/9/21 Gas supply issues mean 2 fertiliser plants shut down, leading to lack of CO2 for feed processing and storage.
18/9/21 No HGV drivers, no meat processors, no containers, gas & electric prices soaring, fruit & veg not being picked.
16/9/21 AUKUS formed (Australia, UK & US) as force against China.
15/9/21 N. Korea tests 2 new ballistic missiles, and 2 new cruise missiles.
12/9/21 Government U-turns on need for vaccine passports in hospitality settings in England.
9/7/21 Priti Patel wants to turn back migrants in the Channel. French won’t be ‘bullied, blackmailed or break the law’ .
7/9/21 1 1/4% to be added on to NI as ‘health and social care levy’. How much will, realistically, go on social care?
6/9/21 Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan. Last stronghold. Has it been take by Taliban?
5/9/21 Big debate about how to fund social care. Should there be a rise in National Insurance?
3/9/21 Terrible floods on E.coast of US. NY subways flooded.
30-31/8/2021 US troops leave Kabul.
27/8/21 170+ killed in double suicide attack at Kabul airport. People standing in an open sewer.
22/8/21 Total panic at Kabul airport, people being crushed to death. Time running out for evacuations before 1/9/21.
20/8/21 Taliban going door to door searching for people who helped UN and Western governments, and for prominent women.
17/8/21 Biden speech to defend withdrawal. US mission was “never supposed to have been nation building”. 2 young men clung to underside of transport plane, fell off and died.
15/8/21 Jalalabad, and then Kabul, handed over to Taliban without a fight. President Ashraf Ghani has fled.
13/8/21 Kandahar has fallen. US & UK troops going in to help evacuations.
Earthquake in Haiti – over 2,000 dead, 10,000 injured.
12/8/21 10 provincial Afghan capitals taken in 1 week. Sicily records highest ever temperature of 48.8 deg.C.
10/8/21 Wild fires in California bigger than ever – whole towns are engulfed.
9/8/21 UN (IPCC) Climate change report. “Code Red for humanity”. “Some climate systems have locked in.”
7/8/21 Home Office telling UK citizens to leave Afghanistan. Wildfires out of control in Greece & Turkey.
3/8/21 Afghanistan descending into chaos. Maj Gen Sami Sadaat says Taliban victory “devastating effect on global security”.
2/8/21 Belarusian sprinter, K. Timanovskaya, forced home from Olympics – criticised trainers. Amnesty in Polish embassy.
30/7/21 Refugees ‘holding centre’ in Dover for women/children deemed illegal and totally inadequate.
27/7/21 Request for Afghan interpreters to be allowed to settle in UK, as Afghan situation deteriorates.
24/7/21 Tokyo 2020 Olympics begin. No audience. Empty stadiums.
22/7/21 ‘Pingdemic’ causing major problems to the economy. Whole industries shut down. Last week, 1 m. children off school.
21/7/21 Zhengzhou (central China) hit by devastating floods, exacerbated by massive damming projects.
19/7/21 So called “Freedom Day” – no more social distancing, no more mandatory masks. Nightclubs & theatres open
18/7/21 All major supermarkets club together to ask for ‘Trusted Trader’ status for goods -> N. Ireland.
16/7/21 Worst floods in living memory in Germany & Belgium.
15/7/21 Twitter is 15 yrs old. After 6 months, had 5,000 tweets/day. Now 10,000 tweets/second.
13/7/21 Greece turning back migrants with force, back to Turkey12/7/21 The 3 young footballers who missed penalties are all black and receive hateful, racist abuse on social media. Mural of Marcus Rashford defaced.
11/7/21 World cup final – England v Italy. We lose 3-2 on penalties.
8/7/21 Study shows that heat bubble over USA & Canada would not have been possible without human-made global warming.
6/7/21 Vauxhall invest £100m to build electric cars at Ellesmere Port.
5/7/21 US & UK troops beginning to leave Afghanistan. Taliban surging back in. US troops deserted Bagram airbase.
1/7/21 Full furlough scheme ends today. Still 1.5m on furlough. Now paying 80%.