Thursday, 10th February, 2022

[Day 696]

Thursday is my shopping day so like last week with Morrisons, I was resolved to renew my acquaintance with the Aldi store I used to frequent years ago. On a purely intellectual level, I thought I rather liked the Aldi approach which was not to offer five varieties of everything but to concentrate on having one of what-have-you and organising a deal with the manufacturer to devote their exclusive output to one outlet i.e. Aldi. This is one of the ways that Aldi managed to keep their prices low and I must say that at the end of my morning’s shopping I had spent just over a half of what I spent in Morrison’s last week. Needless to say, the ‘baskets’ of goods were not completely comparable but sufficient in terms of quantity to make a comparison interesting. So this morning I had to accomodate to the twists and turns of what was effectively a brand new supermarket and I had to recognise that some esoteric items had better wait until I could make a quick call into Waitrose perhaps tomorrow. Nonetheless, the overall shopping experience was such that I felt it was a worthwhile venture so for the next few weeks I will persist in a ‘bigger’ shop up at Morrisons once a fortnight for more choice and more specialised items but then alternate these with a ‘smaller’ shop at Aldi. In a few weeks time, I should be in a position to determine whether all of this turns out to be a sensible shopping pattern or not. When I got home, I took some time to unpack the shopping and to chat with our domestic help who had swapped her normal day this week as a one off. Tomorrow is going to be a ‘chewy’ day because we have an electrician call round round to assess a little job for us and he has indicated that he will be along some time ‘in mid morning’ which can mean anything. So Meg and I will stay in until he calls and then may well go down to town in the car if we are pressed for time. As it turned out to be a beautiful day, Meg and I walked down to collect our newspaper and then go off to the park. This walk, whilst we are attempting to do it on each ‘normal’ day is just getting a little to the limit of Meg’s capacities so we may have to judge it quite carefully. But we have a ray of hope opening up to us in about ten days time because by then our local Waitrose should be reopening their cafe and this alleviates the pressure on us a little because Meg can wait in the cafe whilst I go off and collect the newspaper from around the corner.

The political news this afternoon is the attack that John Major has made upon the Boris Johnson style of government and its consequences – which he feels is damaging Britain not only nationally but internationally. I think there are two interesting things that can be said about the John Major attack. One of these is the commentary that I have heard on Sky News (in the background) that whilst this kind of attack might have seem exceptionally wounding in the Conservative party as in John Major’s time, the Conservative party as a whole has been remoulded in the Johnson image. For a start, all of the heavyweight ‘remainers’ and non-Johnson aficionados have been thrown out of the Conservative party which is now a Brexit party (almost a UKIP party) in all but name. So many of the current crop of Tory MPs in the current House of Commons who owe their election to Johnson may well shrug off whatever John Major has to say, arguing that it just the view of an ex and embittered Prime Minister.

My second observation is as follows. I have noticed a kind of thread between external events in recent days. If you have overt aggression (Russia and the Ukraine), internally (mobs attacked the Leader of the Opposition) or more personally (e.g. a robbery) then it is easy for this PM and government to utter imprecations about the force of law and so on. But if the threat is more insidious and less visible (Russian oligarchs laundering money through London, the power of the social media to allow space to far-right political ideologies and threats, the PM to argue that crime is actually decreasing by choosing to ignore fraud and online frauds which, when included in the official statistics show that crime is actually increasing) So the argument here is the government only acts against the overt and the visible and the televisual whilst ignoring, minimising or even condoning more insidious forms of transgression. I may be guilty of over connecting events in this way (to which I plead guilty) but at least there are evident parallels in the governmental reaction to different types of law breaking and infraction.