Sunday, 30th June, 2024 [Day 1567]

Today being a Sunday, we enter into ‘Sunday’ routines which means watching the politics programmes from about 8.30 onwards. In theory, today being the last Sunday before the election, Laura Kuenssberg was interviewing the Prime Minister and although she kept pressing him about the hurt felt after years of falling living standards, we got the familiar litany of dire warnings about what would happen were a Labour government to be elected. I really do feel that the Tories whole mindset seems to be that they have a God-given right to be elected and anything else is regarded as an abomination of nature rather than a normal ‘cycle’ of politics. When I was first employed o the scientific civil service, my then boss seemed to have the most ‘non-politically’ partisan view of politics because he seemed to regard each ‘side’ as though they were football teams. I can now almost hear him now saying ‘Well that lot have had a go for a number of years so let the other lot have a go for a change’ Having said that, I do feel that the British populace as a whole is less knowledgable about the political process than many of our continental neighbours. In one of the community studies which was required reading when I was a student, there was a sign in a pub mentioned with great approbation declaiming ‘No Politics, No Religion – no good friends all!’ Although this is a gross generalisation, I do have impression that with a more developed cafe culture, our continental neighbours can and do have more sophisticated political discussion without falling out with each other. I think that part of the problem is that the British electorate are kept quite ill-informed about the political process and are quite frankly bored with the very mention of politics. In days gone by, there used to be an element of the school curriculum called ‘Civics’ but this has long since disappeared. I think that successive governments have strongly discouraged any kind of political education in schools and colleges whatsoever fearing that the young might be subject to ‘political indoctrination’ by idealistic young teachers. As part of the Business Studies curriculum in my academic career, we often had a subject called something like ‘British Political Landscape’ in which we would teach subjects like how Parliament works in passing legislation, what is meant by the ‘separation of powers’ and so on. I found the reaction of my students to be interesting. At first, they argued that they knew hardly anything and cared even less and they were not looking forward to this part of he curriculum. But once exposed to some elementary facets of the British Constitution, their eyes were opened (at least a little) and they did start to tell me that they quite enjoyed the subject if only because something that was a totally closed book to them was gradually opened and they used to tell me that the more they knew, the more they felt that they wanted to know. But of course, we have the best part of four more days to live through before voting starts next Thursday. The critical moment in the forthcoming week is going to be a few seconds after 10.00pm next Thursday night when voting is officially closed and, by tradition, the very first exit polls about the forthcoming result can be published. These exit polls are pretty accurate as a whole because the sample is large and the question asked is not how do you intend to vote but rather how did you actually vote (or not vote) in today’s election.

Tomorrow, I am looking forward to the delivery of a wheelchair for Meg and naturally I am hoping that it may make the journey down into town somewhat smoother for Meg. Of course, it is always possible that whatever is delivered is less suited for this purpose than the very basic wheelchair that we purchased months ago and have been using ever since. We have to make ourselves stay in all morning until it is delivered some time in the morning between 9.30 and 12.30. I have also been thinking about what a potential solution might be to the absence of a pavement linking the road where we live to the main Kidderminster Road. Nothing is going to happen for quite some time because the relevant County Counsellor is on holiday for the next two weeks and even if she were to take action immediately upon her return (which I doubt) then she would probably request that the equivalent of the Borough Engineer’s department make an assessment of the situation. In the meantime, though, I think I may have come up with a solution to the problem which would not involve narrowing the road or taking land from neighbour’s fronting the roadway, each of which is not practicable. In the carpark adjacent to our local Waitrose, there are dedicated ‘walking zones’ in which once one has parked one’s car one can walk to the store presumably in relevant safety. Borrowing from this idea, I wonder whether a pedestrian or cycle ‘pathway’ could be marked out on the road so that we could walk in this area when necessary and passing motorists could intuit that they were meant to give us a wide berth. As a kind of thought experiment, I wondered that if we had brought the problem of a lack of safe walking space to the relevant authorities and we were injured by a passing motorist, whether the local authority could be fined a massive amount for failing to ensure our safety – particularly as Meg is a wheelchair user. We will have to see what happens and I do not intend to bring this solution to the attention of the pavement/road authorities immediately as I want to see what their solution might happen to be.

For lunch today, we had a slightly experimental meal which turned out fine. I had bought some chicken breast pieces and these I seared off and then immersed in a korma sauce before serving with a baked potato and some broccoli. This made for a very nice meal but it would have been improved if I had not left the korma sauce on a little too long and it was in danger of burning and sticking onto the pan.

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