Wednesday, 8th March, 2023

[Day 1087]

You never quite know what a day is going to bring. This morning it looked as though there were flurries of snow and that these might intensify. What a good day to have a good bowl of porridge with which to start the day, I thought to myself, and looked in the cupboard for my supplies of oats. To my dismay we were quite out of them so I decided that I would leave Meg in bed whilst I threw some clothes on and hurried down in the car both to collect the newspaper and also to avail myself of a goodly supply of oats. Waitrose had a special offer on oats which is just as well because I do not want to be without them when the weather is cold. By the time we had had some breakfast and got ourselves ready, we had a look outside and although we intended to pop down into town to pick up a purchase, we decided to abandon that particular activity at least for the morning. By the time we had some delayed elevenses in the comfort of our own home, it was not too far off 12.00 and Questions to the Prime Minister which was the usual knockabout stuff. The impression is quite strong abroad that Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman (Home Secretary) are actually relishing a fight over the Illegal Migration Bill. The Tories are arguing they are in touch with popular public opinion, not to mention thir own right wing, and whilst they privately may think that none of their provisions will actually work (and hence the absence of detail),nonetheless thay are more than happy to electioneer on a populist stance. I often think that when the Tories are up against it, they always fall back on the outright xenophobic dog whistles to act as a vote winner for them. Hence there were jibes against ‘Lefty lawyers’ and Suella Braverman even went as far as to argue that the opposition was assisted not only by lefty lawyers but the civil service as well. Naturally, this has incensed some of the civil service unions and when challenged, there was a certain amount of backing off. The Labour party for its part is arguing about the sheer unworkability of the new proposals and the track record that shows that ‘illegal’ migration has soared whilst more and more restrictive legislation is proposed. A loophole has already been spotted in the published Bill because although migrants should be returned to their country of origin or Rwanda, the provision of ‘habeas corpus’ still applies. This is a tremendously old and well established legal principal as Habeas Corpus – which means ‘you may have the body’ – is the right not to be unlawfully detained. This principle is regarded as so important that the High Court will hear an application of ‘habeas corpus’ immediately and the idea that the state can just detain people without charge is regarded as abhorrent, and rightly so. So this particular argument will run and run as the Tories will milk it for all it is worth whilst practically everybody else protests againsts its immorality, illegality and impractability.

In the late morning, I read my emails and was particularly interested in news from one of my University of Winchester friends whose wife was having an operation last Monday. I was relieved to be sent a photo of his wife smiling and waving once she had come round from the operation. On the spur of the moment, I decided to give him a phone call because it looked as though the hospital were quite keen to discharge his wife as soon as they could after the operation and would have done so except for a phyiotherapist who considered it was too early to consider a discharge. I communicated with my friend some of the experiences that I had had after a spell in hospital nearly five years ago by now. In particular, I stressed the importance of communicating with his doctor as all of the support services that he would need to assist in his wife’s recuperation are actually under the control of the doctor. But primary care services are under strain in all parts of the country and the patient, and the carers for whom the services are intended, have to be active in making sure that the intended services and care packages are actually delivered.

As the weather improved somewhat after lunch, Meg and I made a lightning visit into Bromsgrove town in order to pick up my purchase of a suite of three nesting tables, purchased recently at the Age Concern furniture shop on the High Street. These proved to be a more difficult to transport to the car than I anticipated as they are glass-topped tables which, of course, adds to the weight. I did the first stage of the restoration process including a little touching up of worn elements with a cotton wool bud soaked in scratch cover stain. I think I have effected quite an improvement as the furniture itself is a pleasant shade manufactured in yew. However, it will need a good examination in tomorrow’s daylight to ascertain whether I need to undertake a few finishing touches and, at the end of the day, I can live with a few blemishes so long as the furniture seems restored.