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During July, there were several British news items I did not have time to cover.

Without further ado, here they are …

St Swithin’s Day

July 15 was St Swithin’s Day, traditionally thought to successfully predict the weather for the next 40 days.

It was cool and cloudy.

So it is two weeks later.

The Mirror tried to debunk centuries of tradition that day by saying temps would reach 29° C that weekend. They never did, at least in the UK. We had a maximum of 24°.

Since then, it’s been cool, cloudy and rainy — with a few hours of sunshine here and there.

The Mirror was wrong. As my late grandmother-in-law always said: ‘The old ways are the best’.

This isn’t the first year I’ve tracked the weather following St Swithin’s Day.

Trust what happens on July 15 in the UK. That’s the weather for the next six weeks.

Admittedly, we might get the odd, sunny, warm day, such as today — but, that might be a rarity during the month ahead.

Friday, July 17

This was the day when temps reached a maximum of 24°.

More importantly, Princess Beatrice was married at Windsor. Her father, Prince Andrew, stayed out of the photos.

The wedding was small, in keeping with coronavirus guidelines:

Another wonderful event took place that day at Windsor. Captain Tom Moore, 100, received a socially-distanced knighthood from the Queen:

Captain Sir Tom Moore raised tens of millions of £££ for the NHS during the height of the pandemic by walking around his garden 100 times on a zimmer frame (walker). I am sure that was not easy for him, yet he persevered.

Afterward, the Second World War veteran said:

It’s been an absolutely outstanding day and you could never have believed I was never going to get such an honour as I have today. I really believed never ever would I be so privileged I could be so close to the Queen and speak to her, and that really was something absolutely outstanding.

Fantastic! May God continue to bless him abundantly.

Boris’s first anniversary as PM

Thursday, July 23 marked Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first anniversary.

This delightful video shows clips of him promoting the 2010 Olympics when he was Mayor of London:

Although it’s been a miserable year, he has achieved the impossible, as Guido Fawkes reminds us:

  • Defeated Corbyn
  • Delivered Brexit
  • Won an 80 seat Conservative Party majority

Boris listed many more achievements over the past year. He could not even list them all in two minutes:

But there was no time to rest, as Boris was busy planning for the best and the worst in the months ahead:

Conservatives are still happy with his performance:

Writing for UnHerd, Matthew Goodwin, professor of politics at the University of Kent, analysed Boris’s appeal among his supporters (emphases mine):

To find a similar degree of constant and tribal support for the Conservative brand, you have to go all the way back to the spring of 1987 when Margaret Thatcher began a similar period of total dominance in the polls that lasted for around two years. Though even that is a little misleading — Thatcher might have had a lot going on, but she never had to grapple with a global pandemic and the shutdown of the entire economy …

why have Johnson’s voters stayed so loyal?

The first thing to remember is how Boris Johnson achieved power. He pushed through what David Cameron had little interest in and Theresa May never really understood — the “realignment” of British politics. By organising around Brexit, which was itself an expression of a deeper fault line, Johnson was able to consolidate the Leave vote.

By doing so, he was able to anchor his party far more securely in a cross-class coalition of traditional “true blue” Tories and instinctively socially conservative blue-collar workers. By doing so, Johnson injected a greater degree of tribalism into his electorate and, by extension, a greater degree of “cultural polarisation” into the country. In a country where six in every ten constituencies broke for Brexit, this strategy makes sense. You might not like it but, electorally, strategically, it makes complete sense.

It also brings us to a point that many of his critics have failed to grasp. What unites Boris Johnson’s voters is not so much their economic experience, as their values. They prioritise the nation and the national community. They prefer stability over change. And they favour continuity over disruption and discontinuity. This is why they cherish Britain’s history, heritage and collective memory and are more sensitive to attempts to deconstruct them. And while they acknowledge that this history is complex, they believe that, on the whole, it was positive and that Britain has been a force for good in the world. In short, they believe in their country. They are proud of it. And they are proud of their fellow citizens …

Johnson is offering a positive and forward-looking creed that is more interested in national renewal and salvation than decline and repudiation. He is proud of the country and its people. And until his opponents figure this out and change track, then I suspect that many of those voters will continue to stand behind him while keeping their distance from his critics.

Boris’s war on fat

Boris has been on a diet since recovering from coronavirus. So far, he has lost a stone (14 pounds):

Now he wants all of us to lose weight — five pounds each — and save the NHS an estimated £100m. Hmm.

Guido Fawkes reported (emphases in the original):

Boris promises his health push will “not in an excessively bossy or nannying way, I hope” persuade Britons to lose a few pounds. Which is a curious line given the now-almost imminent, nonsensical ban on pre-watershed ‘junk food’ ads…

Agreed.

Last summer, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan banned what he termed ‘junk food’ adverts across the capital. Last June, when Wimbledon was in full swing, Guido reported:

London’s blanket ban on ‘junk food’ advertising is not only ineffective, inconsistent and impractical, it’s going to cost a fortune too! Estimated at a whopping £35 million, it will deprive dilapidated public services of desperately needed investment. Who’s decided that chicken burgers are not junk food but olive oil is? And no mince pies allowed at Xmas? No strawberries and cream for Wimbledon?

The simple truth is ad bans don’t work – there’s no proof they reduce childhood obesity. However, there is clear evidence that wide-ranging, collaborative and positive approaches are an effective solution. In Amsterdam, childhood obesity rates fell by 12% between 2012-15, through investment in positive lifestyle and education campaigns.

Telling people what they can do is much more effective than hectoring them about what they can’t. Evidence-based solutions are more effective than political ones.

One year later, Boris thinks this is a great idea for television:

British artist David Hockney, who opposed the UK’s smoking ban in 2007, was less than impressed:

I said to my far better half on Monday that they will probably target all the good foods, e.g. butter and meat.

The next day, I drank my morning coffee while waking up to this:

I love hummus! It’s good for you, too.

Guido posted an extensive list of what falls under the category of junk food, based on UK government guidelines.

In addition to hummus and raisins we find butter (as I predicted), more than half of all meats (mm-hmm, also as predicted), margarine, pesto, tomato soup, nearly all cheese, most yoghurts and, strangely, the driest, blandest thing on the planet: cream crackers, which have no cream in them, by the way. Hell is a cream cracker.

Something’s gone very wrong with this Conservative government. Most of us thought Boris was a libertarian.

Whatever the case, there must be a better way than another ban:

Maybe Boris is still frightened from his serious illness. I suspect it took him a long time to recuperate, judging from his appearance in the weeks that followed.

Cat contracts coronavirus

On Monday, July 27, Reuters reported:

The British environment ministry said “all available evidence” suggested the cat had contracted the coronavirus from its owners, who had both tested positive for COVID-19.

Both the cat and the humans made a full recovery and there was no transmission to any other animals or people in the household, the ministry said without identifying the individuals involved.

“This is the first case of a domestic cat testing positive for COVID-19 in the UK but should not be a cause for alarm,” said Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England.

“The investigation into this case suggests that the infection was spread from humans to animal, and not the other way round,” Doyle added.

The government said the infection was confirmed in lab tests on Wednesday, adding there was no evidence that cats could transmit the virus to humans.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said cats are the most susceptible animal species to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and are able to transmit it to other cats.

Delays in getting stranded Britons home explained

When the pandemic broke, the Foreign Office pulled out all the stops to get stranded Britons back to the UK.

Arranging flights for some tourists overseas took longer than for others because hundreds were in remote places of the world.

Now it emerges there were other factors involved:

NHS relaxes self-isolation for patients entering hospital for treatment

Not so long ago, the NHS wanted all patients attending hospital for treatment or operations to self-isolate for 14 days beforehand.

Thankfully, as of Tuesday, July 28, that is no longer the case. The Daily Mail reported:

Updated guidance says strict social distancing and hand washing is enough to cut the risk of patients taking the virus into hospitals in England.

NHS patients will only need to self-isolate for a few days after taking a test in the run-up to them entering hospital, health bosses now say.  

Surgeons hope the relaxation of rules will help them to tackle the huge waiting lists that have built up during the Covid-19 crisis.

But they called for all patients to be given tests for the coronavirus before and after their operation to keep a lid on any potential outbreak.  

The change in advice was made because the virus is circulating at much lower levels than it was during the peak of the crisis in March and April.

Lewis Hamilton opines on a COVID-19 vaccine

Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton had to walk back a video and post he made on social media regarding a COVID-19 vaccine:

On Monday, July 27, The Guardian reported:

Hamilton has since deleted the video and published a statement saying he hadn’t seen the comment attached to the clip, but wanted to show there is “uncertainty around side effects” of vaccines.

“I’ve noticed some comments on my earlier post about the coronavirus vaccine, and want to clarify my thoughts on it, as I understand why they might have been misinterpreted,” he said.

“Firstly I hadn’t actually seen the comment attached so that is totally my fault and I have a lot of respect for the charity work Bill Gates does.

“I also want to be clear that I am not against a vaccine and no doubt it will be important in the fight against coronavirus, and I’m hopeful for its development to save lives.

“However after watching the video, I felt it showed that there is still a lot of uncertainty about the side effects most importantly and how it is going to be funded. I may not always get my posting right. I’m only human but I’m learning as we go.”

I agree with the highlighted bit 100%.

Holidays abroad

Whether it’s a good idea or not right now, Britons want to enjoy a summer holiday in Europe.

Some made their reservations early in the year, before the pandemic arrived. Understandably, they want to get what they paid for.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and his family managed to arrive in Spain hours before the UK declared a quarantine for British travellers returning from that country. Shapps flew back to the UK on Wednesday, July 29:

He is returning early to get through a 10-day quarantine and, in the meantime, from home, to ‘handle this situation’. The Foreign Office has advised against all non-essential travel to Spain.

Presumably, Europeans are travelling all across the continent.

The result is that coronavirus cases are rising again:

On July 28, RMC’s Les Grandes Gueules (The Big Mouths) interviewed Dr Robert Sebbag, a specialist in infections who works at La Pitié Salpêtrière hospital in Paris. He said that, although the COVID-19 ward is seeing a small uptick in hospitalisations, no one is on a ventilator and most cases are ‘mild’ compared to what they were only a few months ago. If I understood correctly, the hospital has 24 patients in that particular ward. He said that the uptick in non-hospitalised cases points to those that can be treated safely whilst self-isolating at home.

Dr Sebbag wasn’t too concerned and said that it was the normal progression of the cycle of a virus. The question remains, he said, whether or how COVID-19 will mutate.

For now, we will have to find ways of learning to live with the virus. Dr Sebbag does not see that herd immunity will become widespread. He estimates that only 6% to 10% of the French are immune.

Lockdown in the north west of England

As of Thursday, June 30, a lockdown is now in place in parts of the north west of England.

Matt Hancock should have announced it via a formal press conference. Instead, he did so via a pooled television interview, leaving it to Boris to do a coronavirus briefing from Downing Street on Friday to further explain the new measures.

Because of this new lockdown and rises in cases elsewhere, the proposed measures for reopening more facilities and close-contact beauty services are on hold for the foreseeable future.

Masks must now be worn in nearly all enclosed public spaces, not only in shops, but also in museums and houses of worship.

Boris also encouraged Britons to enjoy a staycation in the UK rather than abroad.

Brexit

Meanwhile, in Brexit news, the international trade secretary, Liz Truss, announced that she would like to get haggis with meat into the US as part of a trade deal:

Earlier this year, exports of Macsween’s vegetarian haggis — branded as Scottish Veggie Crumble — were allowed into the US just in time for Burns Night on January 25. That was the first time in 49 years that any type of Scottish haggis was allowed in America.

And that concludes my roundup of the second half of July 2020.

Roll on August, come what may.

James O’Keefe, the founder and head of Project Veritas (past videos at the link), has once again produced a sterling undercover video.

This time, he sent an undercover reporter of his to CNN to investigate the Russian collusion accusations against President Donald Trump.

On Monday, June 26, 2017, Laura Loomer of Canada’s Rebel Media tweeted:

Within hours, the Project Veritas video appeared on YouTube.

I highly recommend this subtitled, 8+-minute video (mild language alert), not only to anti-Trump readers but also to those of similar mindset who live outside of the United States, particularly in Europe:

The following synopsis comes from Project Veritas (emphases mine below):

In the recent video footage obtained by Project Veritas, John Bonifield a Sr. Producer at CNN, admits to several beliefs that are in direct conflict with the official CNN narrative that Trump has colluded with Russia, and that Russia has interfered with the 2016 election. Bonifield expresses clear doubts that there is a fire behind the Russia smoke, stating, “I haven’t seen any good enough evidence to show that the President committed a crime.” He also confirms suspicions that CNN staff is ideologically biased against Trump, stating, “I know a lot of people don’t like him and they’d like to see him get kicked out of office…”

Bonifield even further confirms CNN’s bias against the President, stating, “I think the President is probably right to say, like, look you are witch hunting me…you have no real proof.”

Bonifield exposes that Russia has been great for CNN’s ratings, and that orders from CEO Jeff Zucker himself have directed CNN to pursue Russia leads at the expense of other stories. Bonifield states “And the CEO of CNN said in our internal meeting, he said ‘good job everybody covering the Climate Accords, but we’re done with it let’s get back to Russia.’

He further comments on Russia, “it’s mostly bullshit right now. Like, we don’t have any giant proof…if it was something really good, it’d leak.”

This is not fabricated. John Bonifield does indeed work for CNN, his employer for several years.

Quite rightly, O’Keefe channelled his late friend and mentor, Andrew Breitbart, who encouraged more people to make honest and hard-hitting exposés:

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has seen the video:

Freedom of speech is one thing, but when a news organisation purporting to be trustworthy keeps pushing damaging falsehoods for ratings, that’s something else:

Yep.

I know a lot of people offline who believe what CNN says. They, like most of CNN’s viewers, are highly educated. One man told me recently, ‘It’s not a matter of if, but when, Trump’s Russian collusion comes out.’

But, wait, didn’t Obama laugh at the notion that an American election could be rigged? He ridiculed Trump’s claims last year of voter fraud and more. Since then, the fake Russian narrative that somehow they helped Trump win the White House has been front and centre, especially from CNN.

Yesterday, Trump tweeted:

Lou Dobbs of Fox News analysed the web of deceit surrounding the Democrats’ claims about Trump and Russia. Dobbs doesn’t say, but some Republicans also believe this fakery:

Trump had more to say on the topic. Sundance of The Conservative Treehouse put the president’s tweets together:

Over the past week or so, CNN’s obnoxious and belligerent Jim Acosta has been complaining about the White House press briefings and gaggles. Some changes have been made; filming, for example, is no longer guaranteed.

I call Acosta obnoxious because he was particularly rude to Trump last winter when the then president-elect gave a press conference at Trump Tower. Acosta interrupted him several times. Trump got his own back on Acosta weeks later in his first press conference as president.

Those who watch these briefings say that whilst Acosta himself might be ignored, others from CNN are not:

That was nothing compared to what happened next.

CNN discovered it was in hot water for its fake news.

On Friday, June 24, the network had to withdraw a story, one that involved the Russia narrative.

Newsweek has a summary of what happened:

CNN’s announcement of new publishing restrictions on articles about President Donald Trump and Russia, as reported by Buzzfeed, has delighted right-wing media.

Populist website Breitbart reported that the “very fake news scandal” was consuming the network, while Fox News host Sean Hannity taunted CNN’s Jeff Zucker on Twitter …

CNN’s retracted story, which alleged that the Senate Intelligence Committee was probing claims that the chief of a $10 billion Russian investment fund had met with a member of Trump’s transition team days before the president’s inauguration, was based on a single unnamed source …

BuzzFeed reported (language alert):

The now-deleted story was published Thursday and cited a single, unnamed source who claimed that the Senate Intelligence Committee was looking into a “$10-billion Russian investment fund whose chief executive met with a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team four days before Trump’s inauguration.”

A source close to the network, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter, told BuzzFeed News earlier that the story was a “massive, massive fuck up and people will be disciplined.” The person said CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker and the head of the company’s human resources department are “directly involved” in an internal investigation examining how the story was handled.

BuzzFeed included this tweet:

On Monday, June 26, three CNN employees resigned (Jeff Zucker, the network’s CEO, is pictured giving the announcement):

That particular BuzzFeed article said, in part:

Three CNN employees have resigned in the wake of the news outlet’s retracted Russia story.

Thomas Frank, the reporter who wrote the story; Eric Lichtblau, who recently joined CNN from the New York Times; and CNN Investigates executive editor Lex Haris have left the news outlet. The Washington Post first reported the resignations, which a CNN source confirmed to BuzzFeed News …

The story, written by investigative reporter Frank, was posted on Thursday and deleted late Friday. More than an hour after BuzzFeed News contacted CNN about the deletion, an editor’s note appeared on CNN website saying that the story “did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted.”

The note also apologized to Anthony Scaramucci, a member of Trump’s orbit who had been named in the story (and who later tweeted that the apology was accepted).

The retraction sent CNN scrambling to deal with the fallout over the weekend, even within parts of the news operation that weren’t involved in the retracted report …

Historian and author Thomas Wictor had an interesting exchange with another Twitter user about Eric Lichtblau’s reporting history at the New York Times, including:

And, with further implications for CNN:

Trump tweeted:

This is not the end of the story for CNN — or for other media outlets. Investigative journalist and New York Times best selling author Sharyl Attkisson has just come out with a new book, The Smear, which is all about fake news. She could not have timed it better. I wish her all the best with book sales:

It might well answer the president’s queries:

Monday, June 26, was also notable for the Supreme Court’s temporary approval of Trump’s partial travel ban from earlier this year. The Supreme Court justices will look at the ban formally as a case later this year, probably October.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at that day’s press briefing:

Good afternoon. I want to say at the top that with respect to the Supreme Court decision on the President’s executive order, the President was honored by the 9-0 decision that allows him to use an important tool to protect our nation’s homeland.

His number-one responsibility as Commander-in-Chief is to keep the American people safe, and that’s exactly what this executive order does.

Nationally syndicated talk show host John Cardillo tweeted:

In a statement from the Department of Justice, Attorney General Jeff Sessions explains why this partial travel ban is necessary for the safety and security of the United States:

I know some people still find this executive order discriminatory, however, it covers only six countries, those which lack adequate security detail and procedures to vet their own citizens, some of whom could be potential terror risks.

With these two significant items of good news, perhaps White House Anon is legit, after all. On June 22, he predicted good things would happen this week.

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