Sunday, 8th November, 2020

[Day 237]

After the ‘excitement’ of yesterday, we slept a little heavily last night so we were up a little late. I went down by car to collect the Sunday newspapers and then we watched the Andrew Marr show, dominated as you might expect by the latest news in the US presidential elections. We then engaged in our normal walk down to the park but encountered one of our closest friends who had just completed his ‘bicycle run’. We had both been following the American elections intently and swapped all kinds of interesting stories and tit-bits that emerged over the campaign, particularly in the four days waiting for the count results to be revealed. Although we all know that, in theory, the red Republican voters had voted in person on Election Day and the democrats had generally voted by mail or by drop-off ballot before the Election Day. So that we all knew that there would appear to be large Republican leads in the first count (I think in the case of Pennsylvania it was of the order of 70,000 votes) but there was a fairly nail-biting time when the postal votes – more difficult to process and therefore to count – came in slowly by county (or electoral district) much more slowly. There was always this doubt at the back of one’s mind that if Donald Trump had done it once could he possibly do it again? But, as we now know, the so-called ‘Blue Wave’ rolled in and gradually in Pennsylvania, the Trump lead was eroded and eventually the Biden lead was over 41,000 votes.

In the park, we met up again, as did last Sunday, with our Italian friend who was just returning from a sort of Remembrance Day gathering held somewhere in the town. We had our usual chat and banter and it was wonderful to know that we can carry on to support each other in these difficult times. So we then proceeded home to have a light and leisurely lunch followed by a prolonged reading of the Sunday newspapers, as is our wont at the weekend. Obviously the papers tell us the inside story of the demographics of the whole campaign and how these are gradually shifting over the years, particularly in states such as Georgia which have just gone Democrat for the first time in decades. But there were three other lines of analysis that came out of the acres of newsprint. The first of these was an analysis of the persistence of what might be termed ‘Trumpism’ and the realisation that even when Trump has gone, the fact that over 70 million Americans voted for Trump on this occasion means that there is still a massive chasm which runs deep through American society. The second point of interest was the acceptance speech given by Biden which was skilfully constructed and delivered and appealed very much for unity after the divisions and conflicts of the campaign. But the third and most interesting analysis is how the Biden victory will impact upon the British political scene. It is certainly true to say that Biden has called Boris Johnson ‘a physical and emotional clone’ of Trump which is not the best of starting points. In addition, former Obama press aide Tommy Vietor responded to Johnson’s congratulatory message last night by calling him a 'shapeshifting creep', adding: 'We will never forget your racist comments about Obama and slavish devotion to Trump.' And it is also said that Kerala Harris (Vice-President-elect) has a visceral hatred of Boris Johnson after he had insulted Obama in 2016. One source told The Sunday Times: ‘If you think Joe hates him, you should hear Kamala.’ Johnson reportedly attracted the power-pair’s ire after calling former President Obama’s decision to remove a bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office ‘a symbol of the part-Kenyan president’s ancestral dislike of the British empire.’ This has been interpreted as a direct racial slur (and, of course, Boris Johnson has a lot of form in making insulting, quasi-racist remarks over the years)

This afternoon, I devoted a certain amount of time ‘repopulating’ the new car we have just acquired with some of the clutter removed from the old one. There are certain things that are always kept in the car such as CD’s and sweets to ease the tedium of long journeys, various car wipes for when they are needed and so on. I am determined that I do not transfer all of the old clutter directly into the new one and as the distribution of space in the door pockets differs (i.e. is smaller) I am having to think carefully what I really need to have to hand when I need it and that which I can do without. For the first few weeks of acquiring a new car, I am always a little ‘new car neurotic’ i.e. one lives in fear and trembling of having a car door opened on you from an adjacent vehicle in a supermarket carpark – this feeling fades over time but I suppose it is only human to keep the new car as pristine as one can before it will acquire the inevitable little clips (nearly always at the hands of other people)