Monday, 25th September, 2023

[Day 1288]

So Monday morning morning has dawned again and we had several little shopping type trips planned for this morning. The day did not start off particularly well, though, as we went to collect our newspaper only to be greeted by a little note on the door that the newsagent would not be available until 11.15. So we went on our way, picking up some supplies from Waitrose and then reparking the car at the other end of the High Street to see what the AgeUk furniture shop had to offer. There I did see a type of walker technically called, I believe, a rollator with two wheels at the front and two feet at the rear and as this was only £5,I hoped it might help Meg’s mobility issues. So this I acquired and then went on to a further suburban shop run by AgeUk where I picked up a large face wall clock that I needed (also for Meg) We called in at the newsagent on the way home but he was still closed. Upon my return home, I needed to do a little clean up job on my two purchases. The clock worked out fine after a new battery was fitted but the rollator was a bit of a disaster because Meg could not quite get the knack of how to use it. Then I made a further trip to the newsagent (but to no avail) and then got on with lunch. After lunch and another fruitless visit to pick up my newspaper, which was my fourth visit of the day, I bowed to the inevitable and bought my newspaper from Waitrose. After that, we knew that our chiropodist was due to call and so our feet have been seen to for another month. She did tell me about a local yoga teacher whose classes she has been attending for years and who also has an online presence so having got the details, I may do a bit of investigation as it is getting so problematic to attend my Pilates classes these days. After lunch, I wanted to watch again the whole of the second half of the Wales vs. Australia game, if only because Wales scored a stunning victory of 40:6, effectively knocking Australia out of the World Cup and inflicting the largest defeat against a northern hemisphere club, surpassing the 53-24 loss to Scotland in 2017. The BBC website wonders whether Wales were that good as they beat the previous best 25-point margin of victory against Australia? Or were the Wallabies that woeful, with former England boss Jones left to face the music as Australia lurch towards World Cup oblivion? It was probably both of these factors but given the pre-emince of Australia in years gone by, this defeat must be very hard to bear.

The Liberal Democrats are in conference this week – and although normally ignored by much of the Main Street Media, this year it is somewhat different because in the event of a tight election, their role could be piviotal. Sir Ed Davey has hinted his party would be prepared to do a post-election deal with Labour to prevent the Conservatives from forming a government. Speaking to Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby at the Liberal Democrats annual conference, the leader categorically ruled out any agreement with the Tories, saying his party could ‘play a critical role’ in removing them from power. But pushed over whether he would consider some form of deal with Labour, Sir Ed appeared to be keeping his options more open, saying instead he would not ‘speculate what else may happen after polling day’. It could be that the Liberal Democrats pose a severe threat to the Tories in the (prosperous) South of England that would never normally consider voting Labour whilst the Labour Party may be able to recapture some of its traditional heartlands in the Midlands and the North of England. We are definitely in a pre-election mode at the moment and one feels that every move that the government makes is calibrated upon how it will play with the electorate particularly in marginal and the ‘red wall’ seats. As regards the HS2 imbroglio, it is now being argued that at the very least Manchester and Leeds (only 40 miles apart but with the Pennines in the way) would have benefitted from a really fast rail link and then HS2 should have started from the North and then pressed southwards instead of the other way around. I seem to recall that in Spain, the Socialist government in office at the time pressed ahead with a really fast rail link between Madrid and Seville and with a non standard guage as well. But most commentators have argued that at the end of the day when the financial costs and benefits are evaluated that the capital city, Madrid, benefitted far more from the high speed link than vice versa. What I suspect really ‘did for’ HS2 was the fact that opeople living in the Chilterns and other desirable places en route exacted such a heavy price in the demand for tunnelling, compensation, landscaping and goodness knows what else that the costs escalated to the extent that they have. But ex-ministers like Anna Soubry have argued that even since Victorian times there have been cost overruns on infrastructure projects but the country has always benefitted in the long run. But a high-speed link between London and Birmingham only is either a bad joke, a white elephant or the desire to make the UK the laughing stock of the world.