Monday, 22nd May, 2023

[Day 1162]

Today turned out to be one of those ‘chasing around to catch your own tail’ kind of days. After we had breakfasted, Meg and I made our usual trip into town were we picked up our newspaper and then began our round of things that we needed to do. The first of these was to call into our bank to ask for some advice about how to arrange for the transfer of some funds and the advice we were were given was fairly helpful but we will have to wait until later in the week to effect what we want to do. The next thing along was to call in at a photographers on the High Street to arrange that Meg has an up-to-date photo of herself that we found out we needed by a piece of mail that arrived in this morning’s post. Since our neighbour from across our communal green area died, her house has subsequently been sold together with the interest that our neighbour had in the ownership of the communal green area. This is now now working its way, late, through the legal process and we had a request from a firm of solicitors that we confirm our identities but also we update the form for regularising the records of ownership with the Land Registry. This is now so much more complicated than was the case a few years ago but also requires confirmation of identity plus up-to-date photos which all to be verified by a solicitor before the document is returned to the originating solicitor. So this explains why Meg and I have need to do a certain amount of running around to get a photo organised and to have forms signed for us verifying our signatures via a helpful friend who has to witness the document. This happens to parallel some similar runnings around in which my son is engaged also. It appears that solicitors have to go through these legal checks to comply with Money Laundering Regulations but I do ask myself whether all of these checks are incredibly burdensome for the law-abiding majority of the population but probably do not deter the organised money launderers of this world. What is particularly galling is that London is practically the money laundering capital of the world. London has long been an appealing destination for global elites with deep pockets. Since the 1980s, the United Kingdom’s relaxed regulations, world-renowned capital markets and thriving real estate market have created a welcoming environment for foreign investors. While many elites want to invest their wealth legitimately, others have historically leveraged London’s financial ecosystem to conceal dirty money. Following the Soviet Union’s collapse, for example, Russian kleptocrats used ‘professional enablers’ in the U.K. to avoid taxes and acquire assets, according to the Chatham House. This is known as money laundering or making illegally gained funds appear legitimate or ‘clean’.

To cap this little tale, our kettle sprang a leak this morning and as boiling water and elecrics do not form a good combination, I thought I had better get it replaced straight away. So in the late morning, I made a lightning visit to our local Asda store which in the past has had a fair choice of kettles. I chose a mid-priced one which seemed to be reasonable enough and am just in the process of bringing it into use. The makers recommend that you boil two kettle fulls of water and then dispose of it before you start to use the kettle in earnest. I decided to pour the kettle fulls of boiling water along the edge of one of our lawns where I know that in the past ants have made their home and thought that might be an ecologically sound way of disposing of the boiled water. Meg and I settled down to watch Suella Braverman defend herself in the Commons this morning from the accusations that she asked civil servants to organise a one-on-one ‘driver awareness course’ after her admitted speeding offence. Suella Braverman evaded all attacks on her, which were not many, by simply refusing to answer the question she was asked and repeating the facts that are not in dispute that she was caught speeding and accepted the penalty of the fines plus the points on her licence. The Prime Minister discussed the case of the Home sectretary with his ethics adviser this morning but it is unclear whether further investigations are to take place. But this whole case comes from a politician who has broken the Ministerial code before and has even been sacked for it but was still reappointed to appease the right wing of the Conservative party. Indeed, it is said that the PM may not want to sack her because she is more of a danger to him outside the government rather than inside so political considerations, rather than ethical ones, will be the most important considerations in this case.

On our way back from town, we have a fairly horrendous crossroads which is a five-way junction with slopes on two of the approach roads – but Worcestershire County Council refuse to put traffic lights there. We witnessed the results of the latest crash where two cars with their front ends stoved in had been pushed onto the verge. This poor junction has been like that for decades but nothing seems to persuade the authorities to have traffic lights installed.