Last night, as I lay abed in the wee small hours of the morning, I heard the rumbles of thunder and the sound of heavy rain falling (which was, incidentally) a wonderful sound to hear. There is an app you can get which I have on an iPad which is just the sound of tropical rain falling steadily and indeed it is quite hypnotic and soothing, provided of course, one is not in a small 6’x.4′ tent which I had as a boy. I consulted the weather app on my phone and saw that it was not due for the band of rain sweeping up the country to hit us until about 4.00pm in the afternoon so we could walk to the park without the benefit of outerwear. We made our trips by car today which is becoming the norm and after we had picked up a copy of The Times, we made our way to the park not expecting to see many people as Monday is generally quite a light day. In the park, we met with a couple who had a very young and not-as-yet well trained Alsatian puppy who had a tendency to bark at other dogs that it encountered. However, its ‘owners’ indicated that they had only had the dog for about 15 hours as it was a ‘rescue’ dog and they were acting as sort of foster-carers for it. Presumably thy were ‘doggy’ people and were well used to getting dogs and licking them into shape, as it were, but it struck us us rather a bold and altruistic thing to take on as the dog’s eventual full time owner would be the ones who would eventually benefit. However, we had quite a foreshortened morning because we wanted to get home in time for the announcement of the next leader of the Conservative party at 12.30. There was quite a lot of self-congratulaory announcements about how well the election process had been run, what a depth of talent from which they had to draw and so on all of which delayed the actual announcement of the result by Sir Graham Brady, the Chair of the 1922 Committee. When the result was announced, it showed that Liz Truss had secured 57% of the vote and Rishi Sunak 43% – a margin of difference of only 14%. The victory of Liz Truss was quite significant in its own way because well before the event, it was said that Liz Truss had a lead of 30% plus. In the event, Rishi Sunak performed better than many had predicted and Liz Truss worse – in particular, the 57% of the vote that she secured was less than the 60% that many of her supporters were hoping for and significantly less than the 66% secured by Boris Johnson. The impact of all of this is almost immediate as to the informed political cognoscenti, it look as though Liz Truss might have to ditch plans to fill her cabinet with ‘trusted’ right wingers and instead appoint a cabinet (as most Prime Ministers until Johnson did) which is more representative of the party as a whole and make sure that potential enemies who might seek to undermine her are not given a lot of ammunition at the start. Of course, the really big policy announcement might have to wait until about Thursday with the overriding question being what to do about sky rocketing fuel bills. There is a suggestion abroad, even now, that the new prime Minister might do a complete volte-face and order a freeze of all energy bills, effectively stealing the Labour Party policy which seems to have a lot of public support.
This afternoon our calendar had two principal engagements. First of all, we had a visit from our chiropodist who helps to keep us mobile. I remember a cartoon in which a postman’s feet were being examined with the slogan ‘Good for another 3,000 miles’ After that, we had a video link with a health service professional who was helping us manage some of the conditions that are afflicting Meg at the moment. This consultation was three quarters of an hour long and whilst the health service worker was friendly and informative, at the end of our allotted time span we had not learnt a great deal, if anything. However, I think it is true to say that the little group of us who meet in Waitrose each Tuesday morning probably gives us the kind of mutual support that is as good as anything.
Late on this afternoon, the news broke that Priti Patel had resigned as Home Secretary – this largely bcause it had been intimated that she would not retain the position of Home Secretary in a Liz Truss administration so she jumped before she was pushed. I must say I could not resist a quick look at the Twitter-sphere who, as you might expect, was full of undisguised glee at what most contributors thought was the worst, and most duplicitous, Home Secretary we had ever had. In particular, her claim to have ‘added’ 20,000 police officers was regarded with astonishment when her own policing minister admitted that 45,000 officers were required just to back-fill retirements and that the police have also seen an 18% reduction in real terms pay under the Conservative Government.