Wednesday, 27th May, 2020

[Day 72]

Today was the day that we decided to ‘liberate’ some of the wildflowers we have seen growing on a central verge. But first, we had our customary walk to the park which really did seem a lot busier than usual. For the first time in weeks, I did feel a little unsafe on occasions. Those of a certain age (65+) make every effort to avoid you, providing an almost ritualised arc-shape as you walk past each other. But we did notice that as we were sitting on our park bench, young couples with a 3-4-year-old on tow (or a little bike) made no effort at all to avoid you as we were sitting on the park bench, walking, in my estimation, within about a metre of you. not to mention two metres . The same was equally true of some of the residents of residential homes whom I presume were being pushed in a wheelchair by their carers who trundled along the path making no effort to avoid anyone. Given that residential homes may be the lurking-place for virus (more deaths were recorded in residential homes yesterday than in the whole of the hospital sector) then perhaps the trepidation that I felt had a degree of substance to it.

On our way home, I took out a sharp knife I had brought with me and liberated some small clumps of ox-eye daisies, cat’s-ear (similar to but not to be confused with dandelions) and a common poppy. These are, in effect, weeds but I wondered if I get them going in a few small plant pots and use them to brighten up a dark corner. I may not have much success in this particular venture as the specimens I obtained all seemed to have exceptionally shallow root systems but at least it was only about 10 minutes after lifting them before I got them into pots and watered.

After lunch, I busied myself with tidying up the steps that lead down into Mog’s Den but in truth, I didn’t spend a lot of time doing this as, apart from being assisted by the cat, I knew that Boris Johnson was due to appear before the Select Committee chairmen at 4.00 and I particularly wanted to evaluate his performance. A few little things stood out (i) despite referring to evident ‘falsehoods’ in the press treatment of Dominic Cummings, he couldn’t name any (ii) although he indicated that he did check on the evidence supplied by Dominic Cummings he was not going to refer any of it to the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service as he was ‘already far too busy to be troubled with things like that’ (iii) he hadn’t read any of the scientific papers but only relied on summaries of them provided for him (iv) he seemed not to know at all that there were thousands of migrants to the UK who because of their ambiguous citizenship status had no recourse to any public funds (and could be destitute for all he knew or cared) (v) he must have mentioned 5-6 times that it was time to ‘move on’ because that was the great British public wanted(!)

After reflecting upon the day’s events and some of the comments on late night TV, I suspect that three factors will stand out. The first of these is that the rebellion of 40+ Tory MP’s is showing some signs of fizzling out which means that Cummings may survive and hang on. However, Cummings may well be a ‘busted flush’ and will have lost whatever authority/respect he used to muster. But the second thing to emerge is that in the lockdown, the great British public invested a lot of trust in the government and helped to prevent the direst of tragedies (whilst still having the highest number of deaths/related deaths in the world) but this has largely evaporated and government messages may not be heeded (as there is ‘one law for the powerful and another law for the rest of us‘) Thirdly, and this point follows from the second, the ‘Test and Trace‘ system (due to be announced on Monday, 1st June but brought forward two working days in an attempt to ‘move the agenda on’) may well be fatally flawed as it is by no means certain that when contacted by a ‘tracer’ and told to isolate for 14 days the request will be followed as no sanctions are to be deployed in the short term. It is also evident that the fabled tracing app is not ready, that turn-around of test results is far too slow, and that we have failed to learn how to do things properly (as in South Korea, Germany for example)