Wednesday, 10th July, 2024 [Day 1577]

Wednesday is the day when our domestic help calls around but we were particularly pleased to see her this week as she had been off on holiday to Valencia. This holiday started off being anything but restful as the flight was diverted because of bad weather to Alicante some two hours down the coast by coach when it eventually arrived two and a half hours late. So it seems to have been a nightmare journey to get there and not particularly restful either. But before our domestic help arrived, I polished up our captains’s chairs with orange oil which removes dirt and dust and gives a lovely sheen. Our domestic help had not actually seen our latest acquisition which arrived two weeks ago but just after she had left us for the day so I explained how I had got it renovated and it now forms an almost matching pair with the one we bought as students in 1967, as far as I remember. This latest chair was actually intended for our lounge to pair with the desk where I have a laptop but the delivery time took so long that I espied the tub chair in the meantime. Now, though, I am quite happy for the newest chair to form a pair in the Music Longe and they actually do complement each other. After the carers had come and then gone, we had our normal chat with our domestic help and then I was ‘released’ so that I could spend a certain amount of time buying some non-food items I cannot get from my normal supermarket. But whilst on the High Street in Bromsgrove, I did acquire two more cushions, one being small and functional whereas the other has a squirrel motif, complete with a squirrel tail as an attachment if you can see what I mean. Whilst in the same same charity shop, I also acquired two more soft toys, one being a little teddy who has already the name of ‘Henry’ whilst the other is a little bunnikins upon whose name Meg has not as yet, decided. After I had got our lunch out of the way (the last of the cottage pie enhanced with other vegetables) we wondered how the afternoon was going to shape out. An ominous black cloud seemed to threaten and if we were to go anywhere, it would not be very far. In the event, I felt that the back lawn badly needed a cut and although the rain threatened, I got Meg in her wheelchair round to the back and thus I managed to het the back lawns cut after nearly a fortnight which was just as well. In the meanwhile, we seem to have acquired a goodly crop of purple leaved clover, so this, too, is crying out for attention as soon as the weather is fine and I feel I have the energy to do it.

The media today has been dominated by the brutal murder with a crossbow of the wife and two daughters of a racing commentator (who I shall not name) The commentator worked for both the BBC and also for Sky News so perhaps this helps to explain why the story has received so much prominence. But we are not talking about inner city violence here but murders in the suburban streets of Bushey, Hertfordshire which is not too far distant from whence my daughter-in-law was born and raised. The police have taken the unusual step of naming and publishing a photograph of their chief suspect and I suspect that this story is actually going to run and run.

The runners and riders for the expected contest for the next leader of the Tory party has begun in earnest. It appears that Kemi Badenoch has twice the support amongst members of Suella Braverman and naturally comes from the right of the Tory party. It is said that Kemi Badenoch, who is reputed to be hyper aggressive, would start a fight even if there was no one else in the room. But the more interesting story is the method of electing a new leader. There is quite a structural dilemma when political parties ask the membership to endorse or to vote upon the choice of party leader. The Tory constituency parties are always well to the right of the parliamentary party in the same way that the constituency parties of the Labour party are well to the left. So we have the situation, epitomised by the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn where most of the parliamentary party do not support the leadership imposed upon them by the membership. The same situation might be mirrored in the Conservative party where many on the right, particularly in the ‘red wall’ seats lost their seats leaving a more centrist inclined parliamentary behind. So the question becomes whether the Tory party will try to amend their own rules before their next leader is selected as otherwise they may be saddled with a right winger (such as Badenoch) who although popular in the party as a whole does not command the support or indeed loyalty of members of the parliamentary party. Meanwhile, in Parliament, the task continues of the ‘swearing in’ of new members who can choose one of a range of religious texts upon which to swear including the New Testament or bible for Christians, the Tanakh for Jews, the Quran for Muslims and the Guru Granth Sahib for Sikhs. Jeremy Corbyn was caught on a Commons microphone giving his opinion ‘this is a load of nonsense’ whilst he was awaiting his turn to affirm or to take the oath. I feel that Corbyn diminished himself in my eyes by this statement, particularly when the new government is trying to develop higher standards of integrity than that exhibited in recent Parliaments. It will be interesting for us to observe in view of what Starmer may well have said to his newly appointed cabinet what the Labour party view is to be when one of their number fails to maintain the requisite standards of integrity that we would hope would become the new norm.

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