Sunday, 25th October, 2020

[Day 223]

Today in the wee small hours of the morning is when the clocks were turned back one hour so this morning we were engaged in making sure that our various clocks and timers were all pointing in the right direction. Fortunately, our computers and clock radios which receive a signal automatically will update themselves without human intervention whilst everything gets our manual attention. I always find that the clock provided in the car always takes some thought but fortunately I remembered how to do this as well. I ‘cheated’ a little by going down to collect the newspapers by car instead of walking down and back as I normally do. Then, after the Andrew Marr show, which is a regular feature of Sunday mornings, Meg and I walked down to the park and got into an interesting conversation with a cyclist who was out taking the park air together with her father. We found that we both had solved a common problem i.e. at the age when children were old to acquire something like a juvenile or adult size bike but were not safe enough to be let out on the roads on their own, then one or both parents would buy an adult bike and accompany their youngsters on the open roads. We do have a few cycle lanes, of course, but they are actually few and far between an then one has to take a decision whether to risk the main roads (legal but not very safe) or ride along the footpath (safer, but of dubious legality). We then had a rather thrown-together type of Sunday lunch before we settled down to a really good long read of the Sunday newspapers. The Sunday Times had done a massive exposure on the ways in which in the early days of the epidemic (approx April) when admissions to hospital were rising at an alarming rate, then the government introduced a type of rationing system. In this the over 80’s, particularly if they had other contributing conditions such as heart disease, obesity or diabetes, were routinely denied admission to hospital or else were decanted into residential homes (often infected with virus) where they subsequently died. Some of the most severe rationing was eased somewhat when it was evident that the peak had passed but in the meantime, there were probably thousands of people throughout the country who lost loved ones early by them not getting the treatment that they needed. Of course, the government has denied the impact of these reports but the depth of the investigative reporting by the Sunday Times is impressive and it hardly likely that the journalists and investigators would have lied (whereas governments of all political persuasions have often taken the easy way out be being ‘canonical with the truth’ i.e. lying to their electorate)

The American elections, as you might expect, are extensively analysed and discussed by the British media. It is now becoming apparent that as a Biden victory looks more likely than not then the British government is finding itself badly wrong footed. Normally, a British government would make sure that it had constructive links with both sides of the electoral divide in the USA on the grounds that you wanted to establish good relations with whoever won. However, the Boris Johnson government has made practically no efforts to establish any links with the Democrats, preferring to see themselves as a natural ally of Donald Trump. According to Andrew Rawnsley in ‘The Observer‘ then ‘Being Britain’s Trump goes down almost as poisonously being Trump himself among many in Team Biden. They are bracketed together in the minds of the Democrats …because both are rule-breaking populists who have polarised their countries and trashed historic alliances.’ It looks as though this is impacting upon the Brexit negotiations – in the (now very unlikely) prospect of a Trump win then a deal with the USA may be on the cards and therefore a ‘no-deal’ Brexit more likely. But in the absence of any kind of sympathetic deal with the US, then the UK may be ‘forced’ by economic logic to accept some kind of minimal deal with the EU, even though they would ideally like to walk away. COVID-19 and Brexit are related,of course – many on the Tory right (i.e. the majority of the current Tory party) are salivating at the prospect of ‘no- deal’ with the EU because the undoubtedly economic cost would not be identifiable when the COVID-10 induced recession bites really hard.