Tuesday, 8th February, 2022

[Day 694]

Today felt a little like ‘the calm before the storm’ because the temperature was going to be at least 10°C potentially rising to 14° during the day. We had got up fairly early this morning which is just as well on the day I have my Pilates class and then set off for our morning walk. Once we got underway, it got incredibly windy but, thank goodness, it was not particularly cold. Meg was finding this particular stretch of walking a little beyond her this morning so I left her on a convenient bench, located on the main road half way between the park and our local Waitrose store and she remained resting there until I had both collected the newspaper and also popped into Waitrose which I tend to use just like a ‘corner shop’ these days when I run out of things. Before we walked down into town, and knowing that tomorrow we are going to make a day out for ourselves in the pretty little town of Malvern, I decided to do a little reconnnaissance before I trip. I ‘googled’ the main theatre in Malvern knowing that it would be surrounded by good parking spaces and coffee shops and therefore would be a good base from which to start. I discovered that the theatre was going to host at least three operas in the next month or so – Puccini’s ‘Madam Butterfly‘, Verdi’s ‘Aida‘ and Bizet’s ‘Carmen‘. We have to make up our mind which of these we would really like to see and perhaps tomorrow we can make a booking if any tickets are available for any of them. I would not be incredibly surprised if having coming to it this late, all of the performances were sold out – and each one is only available for one night. I am sure that in the environs of the theatre, there will be several restaurants and I am trusting that some of them will be open tomorrow lunchtime so we shall not go hungry. I then walked down to Pilates and back again for lunch. This afternoon is going to quite busy because as well as writing this blog I want to repeat my soup making success of two days ago and the vegetables will take some preparation, as they need to be diced. Then we shall have our weekly FaceTime chat with our oldest Waitrose coffee bar friends and then after the abligatory 7.0pm Channel 4 news we have three hours of good comedy programmes this evening to send us to bed happy and relaxed.

The political news today is dominated by the seqelae to the mob that surrounded Keir Starmer yesterday shouting ‘Savile’ at him and the police were forced to intervene and rescue him by surrounding him with a posse of burley policemen and then bundling him into a police car for his own safety. I quote from some of the verbatim news reports below.

There was little respite for Boris Johnson overnight as pressure mounted on him to apologise for comments about Keir Starmer and Jimmy Savile. At least six Conservatives, including a former cabinet minister, joined MPs from across the political spectrum in linking the harassment to the baseless claim the PM made while under pressure over the partygate scandal. He falsely claimed Sir Keir ‘used his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile’ while director of public prosecutions (DPP). As he faced growing condemnation, Mr Johnson tweeted the ‘behaviour directed’ at the Labour leader was ‘absolutely disgraceful’ but did not address the nature of the abuse. Julian Smith, who previously served as Mr Johnson’s Northern Ireland secretary, tweeted: ‘What happened to Keir Starmer tonight outside parliament is appalling. It is really important for our democracy and for his security that the false Savile slurs made against him are withdrawn in full.

The significance of this happening is causing ripples across the whole of the political landscape. The Speaker of the House of Commons (who has a general responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of all MPs) made a statement in the House today again suggesting that politicians should weigh their words with care as what they have to say and the manner in which it is said has consequences. Obviously, these remarks are directed almost exclusively towards Boris Johnson. I think that all MPs are conscious of the fact that when emotions are heightened in this way, there can be dire consequences as the Labour MP, Jo Cox, was murdered in full daylight by a right wing fanatic during the Referendun campaign. Many people are drawing attention to the fact that these are the tactics that Trump used with tacit approval for the fascist fringe to take matters into their own hands (as when the Capital building in Washington was invaded) and there is a horror that this poison could infect the British political scene as well.