Monday, 13th November, 2023

[Day 1337]

Today after we got up we were contemplating our (normal for us) Monday morning routines when I turned on Sky News so that we could get the day’s news as we ate our breakfasts in the Music Room. No sooner had we turned on the TV that we learnt that Suella Braverman had been sacked about 5 minutes previously and as the morning wore on, it was pretty clear that quite a wide ranging cabinet and government reshuffle was underway. There had been an expectation that Braverman might be despatched this week, perhaps on Wednesday when the High Court hands down its judgement on the Rwanda scheme and there was the slightest hint that things might be happening politically as early as this morning. But No. 10 had disguised its hand quite cleverly because nobody really expected what was to unfold in front of them. Many commentators thought that Braverman’s attack on the impartiality of the Metropolitan police was the last straw for No. 10. But another political source was of the view that Braverman’s latest indiscretion was not what actually ‘did’ for her as the preparations for her departure have been made for some days now. This source thought that the breaking point may have been Braverman attacking the homeless in their tents declaiming that this was their ‘life style choice’ If the Braverman rhetoric had been played out in full, we would have witenessed the police dragging people out of their tents in order to confiscate and destroy them. How the visuals of all of this would have played out acoss the media and endlessly repeated in a future election campaign might have been the point at which ‘enough is enough’ But later in the morning, the most jaw dropping shot of the day was to unfold – this was the sight of a car delivering David Cameron, the ex-Prime Minister, to the doors of No. 10 in order to emerge eventually as the new Foreign Secretary, the existing incumbent of that office, James Cleverley, having been given the brief of the recently vacated Home Office. The hiring of an ex-Prime Minister and giving them a seat in the Lords (as Lord Cameron) is unusual but it has been done before. Opinion, both in the Lords and the Commons, is divided over the wisdom of David Cameron being offered the post of Foreign Secretary. On the ‘con’ side, there is the fact that David Cameron has the misjudgement of Brexit hanging over him as well as the smell of the Greensill scandal(and which is still under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office) But on the ‘pro’ side, we now have a Foreign Secretary who is probably universally known and who can help to restore a degree of credibility to the view of Britain overseas when there are a lot of current crises such as Ukraine not to mention Gaza. I can well remember the American Foreign Secretary being informed about the appointment of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary and he was caught, on camera, suppressing his mirth at the appointment. But more of the reshuffle later.

Meg and I made our way to Droitwich and were fortunate to secure a parking place immediately outside the shop of Worcestershire Association of Carers. I called in at the branch of Santander to deposit a cheque which turned out to be useful for us and then made our way to the cafe. We were experiencing some difficulty with the wheelchair as a motorist had parked and blocked off a nearby dropped kerb. But I was amazed, and then gratified, when a gentleman in a mobility scooter stopped to give us a hand. He explained that he was due to have a knee operated on later on that afternoon but in the morning was pleased to give us a hand., I never cease to be astonished at the kindness of strangers. Meg and I were rather looking forward to a treat of a bacon butty but the cafe was having a mini crisis becaue they were short of a chef for the day and hence all hot food was ‘off’. We treated ourselves to cappuchinos and a large rock cake which we shared and then onto the Worcestershire Association of Carers. Here we bought a necklace for Meg which would match the rest of her ‘blue’ gear, another suitable cushion and a rather fine bijou flower holder which I am sure we can utilise extensively in the summer months.

We return to reshuffle news. Our son has informed us that he keeps a spreadsheet of the Secretaries of State for Health since he has worked in the NHS and the total is now of the order of 17 (with a question whether a politician reappointed to the role can count as one or two). The current Steve Barclay is being moved on to the Environment and interviews with him in the street seem to indicate that he is none too happy with the appointment. Meanwhile, our son is getting Victoria Atkinss, an ex-Treasury minister, as his new political overlord and you might interpret this as a desperate desire to contain the costs of the NHS. The wider analysis seems to indicate that Rishi Sunak is moving the Cabinet and the government more onto the centre ground, which may well be an attempt to protect the ‘Blue wall’ (traditional Tory seats in the South of England) otherwise vulnerable to a Liberal Democrat challenge.