Thursday, 13th June, 2024 [Day 1550]

Last night after Meg had been put to bed, I could not resist watching the special Sky News debate organised between Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak. The ace Sky News reporter Beth Rigby was to question each deeply for 20 minutes after which they would have to answer questions from a live audience for some 25 minutes. Keir Starmer did appear more quietly confident after his last head-to-head with Rishi Sunak whereas the latter appeared much more on the defensive. A opinion poll conducted for Sky News just after the programme made Keir Starmer the winner by some 64% to 36% which was almost a knockout blow. Beth Rigby’s analysis was forensic and devastating. When Sunak tried to argue that a Tory government would cut taxes, Beth Rigby presented the evidence of Ed Conway, the Sky News data analyst that the tax take would rise if the Tories were returned to power even taking into the account the ‘tax cuts’ they are proposing. Sunak’s response from someone supposedly a ‘spreadsheet king’ illustrated the problems he is facing. His first response was to say that he did not know about the Ed Conway analysis (which is unlikely as surely his team would have ‘prepped’ him on this) but when pressed on this opined that the analysis was wrong. So our acting Prime Minister first denied having read of a report and then said that the report which he had not read was wrong. The audience was quick to take notice of fluffs like this and I think it is fair comment to say that many commentators looked at the face and body language of Rishi Sunak and concluded that he looked a beaten man. Perhaps concentrating so much on his disappearance from the D-Day celebrations last weekend had sapped his energy or attention spans but instead of delivering the knock-out below that was required to reverse the fortunes of the Tory Party, instead we got a very lack lustre performance. Keir Starmer did not give a perfect performance even responding to the observation of an audience member that he appeared ‘robotic’ replying in a way that could be considered robotic. What was especially interesting was that whereas Sky News were prepared to trump a winner and a loser after the debate, the BBC account made it appear that it was a much more even contest than was apparent to the rest of us. I suppose this is an indication of the constant emasculation of the BBC who are so frightened of appearing to be in the least bit partisan, then they appearing to be partisan by not following the consensus demonstrated by the majority of journalists reporting the contest.

Today was our shopping day so after the carers had departed this morning we received a visit form a carer who has taken on the role of rota organiser for the care company. Although being in post for only three weeks or so, she was vastly experienced in many differing social care settings and was getting to know each of her clients by visiting herself each of the clients in turn. My shopping seemed a fairly full week this week and took me a little longer than usual but I took the opportunity to add one or two extra things to our diet so what we have a bit more variety within it. Our lunch consisted of one of those collations of vegetables (onions, peppers, peas, meat remains, apple and sultana) of which I am all too fond. Not all of was dished up so I have left a bit over in case I feel the need for a bit of extra nourishment this evening. The morning was punctuated by a couple of telephone calls. The first of these was from our ex-social worker who happened to be the duty officer, responsible for pulling together bits of information before the next social services review. I needed to remind her of such basic facts that she should have had on file such as the number and timing of visits in a calendar week, the time that Meg was in hospital and so on. It now appears that we will not have a social worker visit for a week or so now, as I suspected and such is the pressure of their workload, they always to be slightly ‘behind the curve’ as they say. Then I received a phone call from one of the GPs from the GP practice who was generally friendly and informative. The important message is still to keep on ‘taking the tablets’ so that Meg’s DVT may eventually disperse itself but this period of time, I learnt today, could be measured in months rather than weeks. Whilst I was on the phone, I enlisted her help on our application to the wheelchair service which I gather is in train. It will be interesting to see whether an application from our doctor actually carries more weight than from an occupational therapist. I am fully prepared for either a rejection or a really long wait (the figure of a wait of 18 weeks has been mentioned) but we shall have to see when and if the application goes forward.

Today is the launch of the Labour manifesto which, as you might expect, is a little on the light side and in which there is pledge that there will be no changes to income tax, national insurance or VAT. As mentioned before, this is a little disingenuous because with fiscal drag (non indexation of allowances) then if politicians of any stripe do nothing, then as things stand at the moment the actual tax take goes up. Amongst all of the various quotes that are made about income tax I particularly like the one about income tax being the price we pay for living in a civilised society. Trying to track down the sentiment behind this idea as well as the exact form of words is not an easy task. But I think I will settle upon the following. On October 21, 1936 President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a speech in Worcester, Massachusetts and multiple newspapers reported excerpts the next day. Roosevelt credited Mr. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who once said: ‘Taxes are the price we pay for civilised society.’ So the origins of the expression may well be American rather than of UK extraction but it is perhaps interesting, given the prominence that tax has in all of our political discourse these days, that no politician sees fit to resurrect and to quote the expression.

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *