Sunday, 11th June, 2023

[Day 1182]

This Sunday started off in a fairly predictable way in that Meg and I ensured that we were all up and ready in time for the first of the politics programs on the TV starting at 8.30. As we have come to expect, the same Tory spokesperson is always on both channels and seems to repeat word-for-word on the Lorna Kuennsberg programme what they have just uttered on the Sophie Ridge program on Sky. Having said that, I am beginnning to think that Sophie Ridge has the slight edge on her BBC counterpart who is arguably better known. Grant Shapps is well known as a ‘smooth’ talker and I thought that he manifested these skills this morning where he managed to disavow some of the wilder Boris Johnson’s accusations (a witchhunt, a campaign by the Establishment to exact revenge on Johnson for the Brexit venture) whilst using quite emollient language. After these programmes, we prepared our elevenses and then picked up our weighty Sunday newspapers, filled the car up with petrol and then made for the park. I must say that it was pretty hot there this morning and whilst I was protected with my leather bush hat, Meg was not so I made a mental note that if the fine weather persists, I need to dig out a sunhat for Meg tomorrow. When we got home, I was keen to get the inside story of Johnson throwing in the towel. Actually, there are two intertwined stories here. The most evident one is the draft report from the Committee on Privileges but even the Johnson allies are very circumspect about this because, after all, it has not even been published yet and will probably take a few days to get through the system. But another intertwined story upon which the Johnson allies are seizing is the strange case of the Johnson ‘leaving Prime Ministers’ recommendations for Honours. There were two or three nomimations on the list one of whom was Johnson’s own father, Stanley Johnson (now a French citizen, incidentally) and another of whom was Nadine Dorries, an adorer of Johnson. The Sunak team argue that the list went to HOLAC (House of Lords Appointments Commission) and it was they who made the ruling, probably following precedent, that you could not be nominated for a peerge if still a member of the Commons. One needs to have resigned some months ago for a peerage nomination to be accepted. Anyway, the Johnson camp is claiming lots of dirty work behind the scene to remove various people from the list before it went to HOLAC – for its part, the Sunak team are saying that they presented a list to HOLAC and then followed the HOLAC recommnendations. The truth behind all of this may never come out but ardent Brexiteers such as Isabel Oakeshott who was on the Lorna Kuennsberg programme this morning are crying ‘Foul’ at the top of their voices and this is being added to the complex mixture of motives that led Johnson to resign. A fascinating piece was provided in the Sunday Times by Anthony Seldon who has written the most recent account of Johnson’s life, concentrating upon his tenure at 10 Downing Street who entitled his piece ‘He has caused damage beyond measure. But his vanity will not let him see it’ This is probably as accurate and succinct judgement of the case against Johnson that one is likely to get.

This afternoon, there is going to be a slight indulgence whilst I watched ‘Paddington 2’ as a sequel to the original. I think I prefer the first film to the second but it is a marginal call. Later on this afternoon, Meg and I had a trip out to Worcester in order to pick up a keyboard bench which is height adjustable and especially designed to be used with keyboards. I thought this was going to be a shorter trip than the other day but it turned out that the address was in deepest Worcestershire although the initial seller’s contact details indicated Worcester. Nonetheless, it was a 40 minute trip with the M5 motorway providing some ‘fast miles’ and I was slightly anxious that we might caught in a torrential downpour. The house from which we were due to collect was slightly hard to find – why do people buy nice looking houses in modern developments but then not bother to put a house number on the side of their houses, I ask myself. We got home quickly enough and treated ourselves to an icecream supper and as we were finishing this the skies seemed to darken so I would not be surprised if were to have a downpour later on tonight as we did last night. Tonight, we are going to treat ourselves to ‘Cardiff Singer of the World’ which is a competition that builds up over the next few days. Altogether there will be sixteen singers over four rounds with the main final next Sunday night. These competitions are always quite fascinating to watch as sometimes one can see a real star of the future performing as they are the way up. I think that Bryn Terfel came up through this route and certainly sang in many of the regional as well as the national Eisteddfod in Wales.