Friday, 28th July, 2023

[Day 1229]

This has been an interesting Friday, to date. Today is the day when our domestic help calls around and I was keen to show her my new purchases to adorn our ‘music room’ being the appliquéd owl cushion I bought the other day as well as the piano stool that just happened to be bought from her next door neighbour. We both agreed it was a good acquisition and I told our help (who is excellent at restoring things) what I had discovered recently about the treatment of vintage/antique items with beeswax. I wondered whether beeswax is suitable for veneered as well as original, unveneered woods and various websites have assured me that beeswax works equally well on these surfaces – but then they would, wouldn’t they? I am expecting a tin of polish/paste to arrive shortly so then I can out the claims made on the websites to a practical test.

This morning, Meg and I picked up our Friday newspaper and we made for Waitrose – but none of our regulars was there this morning. I contacted our University of Birmingham friend who, as it happened, was sitting in the local park so he made his way over and we joined together in our friendly discourse. Today we had been expecting a call around at midday expecting to receive a home visit to determine whether there was any technology that would assist Meg were she to have a fall in the house on the (rare) occasions that I leave her unattended. But we received a telephone call indicating that the person who was due to call around wondered aloud whether the technology would be suitable for us and decided to refer us on to a colleague, thus obviating the need for her to call around and make a more comprehensive assessment. I must say I am getting philosophical about referred on from person to person because this seems to be the way in which assistance services are provided by the relevant local authority so I am getting on with organising things for myself which seems to have served me in good stead so far. Nonetheless, we agreed to meet with our friend tomorrow in another location which is our favourite coffee bar in Droitwich.

There has been a very well publicised case of the person convicted of rape some seventeen years ago who has ultimately been found by more recent DNA evidence not to have committed the crime of which he was convicted. The interesting thing about this case is that the various ‘safeguarding’ mechanisms, designed to prevent miscarriages of justice, have all signally failed. Not only did the Court of Appeal not reverse the conviction but, even more shocking, is that the Criminal Cases Review Commission have twice turned down the appeal. The CCRC was supposed to prevent miscarriages of justice after infamous cases such the the ‘Birmingham Four’ and the ‘Guildford Six’ case but a fascinating interview with an expert interviewed by Sky News revealed that the CCRC has now borne the brunt of the austerity cuts imposed by the Osborne regime and its budget has been reduced from about £9 million to £6 million. Paradoxically, the cuts in the budget were started by the Labour government when Charles Clark was in charge of the Justice system and have been carried on even more savagely by successive Tory administrations. But the real scandal which is just emerging is that any claims to compensation for 17 years in gaol may well be subject to huge reductions by the state for ‘board and lodging’ charges over the past 17 years. Apoparently, this is quite a well-known scandal about which nothing has been done and all that it does is to reveal how vindictive the state can be even when it has been demonstrated that an unsafe conviction has left individuals in gail for nearly two decades. So the person wrongly convicted of rape and spending seventeen years of his life in gaol now has another massive problem in trying to claim legitimate compensation but without a counter-claim for board and lodging.

Sky News is reporting yet more potential indictments of Donald Trump which may be forthcoming. He has been accused of asking an employee to delete footage in classified documents as new charges are announced. Prosecutors accuse Mr Trump of scheming with his valet and a Mar-a-Lago manager to conceal the footage from investigators. Video from the property would play a key role in the investigation, as prosecutors said it captured boxes of documents being moved in and out of a storage room. This evidence, which may have been captured and requisitioned on CCTV, plays out in different ways in the American political system. Whereas the Democrats and the American electorate who are not die-hard Trump supporters take in the latest revelations, this adds to the picture of Trump as a serial offender. But to those Republicans who support Trump, whenever new evidence is revealed, this is always interpreted as a witchhunt against Donald Trump and his political standing always seem to increase, rather than diminish, with each new revelation. And there is still the prospect that Trump may be charged with aiding and abetting the abortive storming of the Capital building by his supporters immediately after the last presidential election.