Wednesday, 24th May, 2023

[Day 1164]

Today has been marked on our planning board for a week or so now because it is the day when I am due to go down to our local medical centre for some routine monitoring tests. We were due to be seen at 10.30 and I took Meg along with me and this stage of the proceedings went as expected because it was the practice nurse taking some blood samples and routine measurements. The real ‘moment of truth’ will happen in about a couple of weeks time when I have another appointment with the practice but on this occasion to discuss what the blood tests reveal. This part of the morning was quite satisfactory but then it all started to go downhill. After Meg and visited the eye clinic some nine days ago, some special drugs were prescribed for her and I got a text from the ‘Community Pharmacist’ that the medication was with the pharamacy. So, as it is part of the same premises, Meg and I called in at the pharmacy to collect the prescription but they could not find any trace of it. They recommended that we go back upstairs to the practice, which we did, to find out what had happened to it. In the practice, I was given a code number to show the item had been dispensed and then went down to the pharmcy again. In the pharmacy, they did not have it on the premises but thought it might be with the online delivery service and it should have been received by now. As this has not arrived, then the onus is on me to do lots of online chasing to see what has happened to this medication. As you might imagine, I am not a happy bunny in all of this as the onus is now on me to do all the chasing to see what has happened. Chasing ‘online’ providers is always a rather fraught process but I am going to try later on today to see what progress I can make.

This afternoon it was a beautiful afternoon so I thought I would seize the opportunity to get the lawns cut. I thought I was going to run short of petrol but fortunately I had enough to get this afternoon’s job done but I have to remind myself to get another gallon’s worth before I start the lawn cutting process next week. After that it was a quick consultation with my solicitor to get some of my legal work done and my ducks are almost, but not quite, in a row for me to complete my transactions quite soon. But at least things seem to be moving in the right direction and one has to be thankful for small mercies when it appears that things are going right rather than wrong.

All kinds of allegations are swirling arond Boris Johnson this afternoon. It has all started off with the Cabinet Office and the Whitehall machine getting its act together for the formal evidence to be handed to the independent enquiry into the COVID pandemic. But Boris Johnson has been battling fresh claims he broke lockdown rules after The Times reported that he had been referred to the police by the Cabinet Office after his diary revealed visits by friends to Chequers during the pandemic. The trips to the country residence were highlighted during preparations for a public inquiry into COVID, as well as new allegations about his behaviour in Downing Street, the newspaper reported. It looks as though the Prime Ministerial diary as well as a WhatsApp trail are crucial bits of evidence here. The Cabinet Office seems to think that what they have uncovered is such a ‘hot potato’ that they are immediately passing the whole thing onto the police so as not be accused of a cover-up. At the end of all this, I suspect that the police may well have their suspicions but no real evidence trail. It does look as though Boris Johnson had been inviting friends and perhaps civil servants and other politicians to Chequeurs (his grace-and-favour country residence for use primaily at weekends) But did they comply with the COVID regulations in force at the time? Unlike Downing Street that has security cameras all over the place, perhaps Chequeurs has not. So can Boris Johnson prove that his guests actually complied with the relevant COVID regulations and can the police prove that they did not? I can see this case petering out in a week or so for lack of any evidence. But another battle royal is also taking place as the COVID enquiry is demanding unredacted WhatsApp messages whilst Downing Street is refusing. Who will win this tug-of-war, it is hard to say.

Rishi Sunak is appeasing the right wing of the Tory Party by accepting the advice of his ethics advisor that Suella Braverman did not break the Ministerial Code (although it looked to many as an open and shut case) Rishi Sunak said that after receiving a letter from Ms Braverman – in which she apologised for causing ‘distraction’ – ‘my decision is that these matters do not amount to a breach of the ministerial code’. However, acknowledging the row that ensued following the reports, he added: ‘As you have recognised, a better course of action could have been taken to avoid giving rise to the perception of impropriety.’ So the mildest of slaps on the wrist, then.