Saturday, 12th August, 2023

[Day 1244]

Today Meg and I woke up early and so we got going in plenty of time. After we had breakfasted, we knew that we needed to make a trip to the Post Office and to save Meg the walk, I left her in the car whilst I shot off to get my business transacted. Fortunately, I was seen straight away and there was no Post Ofice queue which is quite an experience. Then Meg and I made our way into Waitrose were we thought we might see members of 'the gang' In practice, our three regular Tuesday/Saturday ladies all showed up and we chatted away, this week on the wonderful subject of ironing. As you might imagine, we had a three way split between those of who never ironed, those who ironed a lot and those who only ironed certain items. We were anxious to get back in time to see the England vs. Colombia Women's World Cup match and we got back after they had been playing for only 5 minutes. It was certainly a very tight and 'physical' game for which the Colombians are renowed or notorious. I thought that their indiviual skill levels were just a notch ahead of the English women and the Colombians took the lead with a delightful and perfectly pitched goal, shot from outside the penalty area, which just escaped the outstretched grasp of the tall England goalkeeper. This was only a few minutes before the end of the first half but the England team pressed forward and in a goalmouth scramble, a bad error by the Colombian goalkeeper in which the ball was not gathered cleanly but was pushed forwards, allowed the English forwards to pounce and score the equaliser. In the second half, the Colombian team started brightly and, to me, looked dangerous especially when they were taking up positions just outside the penalty area. But a second defensive error not quite as evident as the first, allowed the English centre forward to score a well-deserved winning goal about a third of the way through the half. From then on, it was enough for the England team to make sporadic raids into the opposing half where a third goal would not have been impossible but with some ferocious defending at the rear. So did the best team win? I think that a draw, even after extra time, could have reflected the peformance of the two teams but in the event, I was relieved that we were not forced into a situation of a penalty shootout. England now meet Australia on their home turf and I really cannot see the England team, even 'on song' as it were, managing to get passed the Australians. But having said that, funny things can happen and the best teams do not always win.

Sky News reports the makings of a huge scandal surrounding the huge accommodation barge designed to house asylum seekers and moored off Portland. Asylum seekers on board the Bibby Stockholm were not told to stop showering or drinking water during their stay despite Legionella bacteria being discovered in the water supply. 'Stand Up to Racism', which has been in contact with asylum seekers who were moved from the barge, heard reports that they were notified about the bacteria at 4.45pm yesterday and then given a letter at 5pm. The campaign group claimed there was no one to ask questions of when they were given the news and that they have not been tested for Legionnaires disease. All the recent transferees to the barge have now been taken off and put into other accommodation, presumably the hotels from which they were extracted. Initial reports when the news first broke yesterday indicated that it was possible that the presence of the Legionnaire's disease infection of the water supply may well have been known about even before the first 'inmates' were housed there. If this proves to be the case, then surely some heads must roll. It does look, initially, as though the Home Office were so desperate to make the accommodation barge story appear to be a successful that they discounted the possibility that the barge was in a dangerous condition. I expect that there will be a massive cover-up,not to say obfuscation, that officials knew of the extent of the infection before the first migrants were located there. There is time enough for some in-depth investigation by the Sunday newspapers before publication later on tonight (ready for consumption the following day). Tomorrow, though, I shall follow the early morning politics programs with particular interest and I do hope that the interviewers do their job and do not pull their punches when they conduct the interviews tomorrow. I wonder who the government spokesperson will happen to be but I would imagine that instead of exposing an important senior minister to scrutiny, the government will put up either a junior minister or a back bencher to try the defend the government. But criticism has already come from within the ranks of the Conservative party itself. Former Brexit Secretary David Davis said he believes the bacteria should have been identified sooner. The MP told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme: 'It is really, really hard to understand how, at all layers, this could not be caught early. The primary thing that has been revealed has been the startling incompetence of the Home Office itself.' Interesting!