Tuesday, 18th January, 2022

[Day 673]

As the day dawned, it was evidently going to be quite a raw day – and so it proved. The clear skies that we have seen in the last few days had been replaced by a sort of low-hanging cloud and it was evident that although we were not going to have any rain or snow, it was going to be a misty/foggy type of day. As we looked out of our bedroom window this morning, there was not much of evidence of a ground frost but there was a low hanging, icy looking mist rolling across the adjacent fields envelopimg the sheep in its midst. We decided to go down into town by car today as time is always of the essence on a ‘Pilates’ day. We did collect our newspaper and than made off for the park where we retreated to our normal bench, thinking to ourselves that we would just have our coffee and then make for home. We did encounter one or two of the regulars, some of whom we know by sight rather than by name and then we were glad to beat a retreat back into the car and thence homewards. Once we got home, we turned on the TV to see if there was any more breaking political news (about which more later) and then I started to get my gear together in time for my Pilates session. Down the road, we have recently made friends with a French lady, recently widowed and she invited us round to her place the other day for some afternoon tea. As we know she is on her own a fair bit and also particularly dislikes the cold, dark days of winter we thought that we would invite her round to share some fresh seabass with us (bought the day before in Waitrose). So on my way down into town, I popped a note through the door of our French friend inviting her round to have a simple meal with us. Half way through the afternoon, I got a telephone call from our friend who cannot make it to dine with us this Friday but in ten days time, a week on Friday, that would be fine. So now we have a little ‘dinner date’ to which we can look forward and, of course, the preparation is minimal. The fish as I well know by know only takes five minutes to cook (three minutes on the skin side, two minutes on the flesh side) so we can wait until our guest arrives and then cook dinner on the spot.

There are four little twists to the Boris story, each small in itself but taken collectively, perhaps they are quite significant. The first of these is the utterance from the man himself who has complained that ‘nobody came and told him that having a party/after work drinks’ was against the rules. This is one of the most pathetic of excuses possible and Beth Rigby of ITN tackled him fair and square telling him that as the PM in charge of the government who framed the rules, he hardly needed to be explicitly told what the rules were. The second bit of news is probably the most damning of all. News has leaked out that Dominic Cummings is to be interviewed as part of the Sue Gray report and this means we shall probably have a direct conflict of evidence as to who is telling the truth. Either Dominic Cummings or Boris Johnson has to be lying – and Cummings has indicated that he shall swear any oath necessary that his account is true. The third snippet is a little clip I heard from a barrister, well used to hearing accounts in court where witnesses knew that they could not commit perjury but wanted to tell less than the whole truth. This can help to explain why the Boris Johnson defence that ‘nobody told him of the illegality’ has a slight chance of being true (why tell somebody what is obvious to nearly the whole population?) whilst being completely not credible. The fourth snippet is much more impressionistic but may well turn out to be prescient. This is the observation from Beth Rigby and some MPs that after Tuesday’s broadcast interview the moment the prime minister admitted – in his body language and demeanour rather than his words – that the game could be up. Appearing for the first time in public after nearly a week, to face further accusations over Downing Street parties and exactly what he knew about when, he looked defeated. The betting at the moment is between those who believe that the Gray report will have sufficient in it for Boris Johnson to realise that the game is up even if no direct blame is attached to him. The other school of thought is that he may be able to cling on until the May elections and that will be the final death knell for him.