Sunday, 1st May, 2022

[Day 776]

As predicted, it was evident that we had some showers of rain during the night. As I walked down for the newspaper early on this morning, it was gloomy and a certain amount of rain was hanging in the air but not actually drizzling. Having collected the newspaper, we viewed the ‘Sophie Rayworth‘ politics programme but I must admit it seemed a bit anodyne to me. In view of the political happenings of the week when a Tory MP resigned after admitting to watching porn on his mobile phone on two occasions and subsequently resigned, I thought there might be somewhat more in-depth questionning of the moral depths to which the current Parliament seems to be sinking. The Tory MP who has been forced by the pressure of his colleagues to resign, Neil Parish, has claimed that he was searching the web for pages concerned with tractors and in the pursuit of this, happened to stumble across the porn website. One wonders what search terms he was using because it is almost impossible to think of any natural affinities between sites showing tractors and porn sites. So even this explanation seems to be a not very convincing. Some Tory friends have rushed to his defence saying that ‘Dominator’ is the name of a popular make of tractor but I am not at all convinced. We went by car down to the park and sat on a rather soggy bench to drink our coffee (but we do have an old tea towel to dy off the park bench on occasions such as this) Then we made our way home without tarrying a great deal.

We had plenty of time to enjoy a beef dinner this lunchtime, the beef having cooked in the slow cooker during the morning. I have to prepare an onion gravy, of course, to which slices of the cooked beef are added and we accomapnied this with baked potato and some primo cabbage. Everything was much more tasty than I would have predicted and half of the cooked beef was labelled up and going into the freezer to be eaten in a few weeks time.

It really has been a ‘drip,drip’ of rain right throughout the day and so gardening was completely out of the question. Instead, we treated ourselves to an episode of ‘Morse’on ITV3 which occupied most of the afternoon. It is pretty evident in both the ‘Morse’ and the ‘Endeavour’ (= young Morse) series that the overarching themes always seem to centre around the powerful either in the police, local authorities, Oxford colleges and the like are eventually exposed for thir wrongdoings but not before various attempts of the local elites to protect themselves. One wonders if the writer, Colin Dexter, was actually on a mission. One commentator had advanced the observation that ‘Dexter’s Oxford, which is the backdrop for Morse’s adventures, is the most enduring fictional representation of a UK university – perhaps any UK educational institution. It includes depictions of town as well as gown, and balances an idyllic surface by plumbing the murky depths of elitism and corruption.’

The crisis surrounding the toxic culture in Parliament is now receiving a lot of media attention. According to the Institute for Government, the Palace of Westminster, home to the UK parliament, is a workplace as well as a cornerstone of the nation’s democracy. There are 650 MPs in the House of Commons, over 800 peers in the adjacent House of Lords, and 3,000 parliamentary staff serving both – as well as the staff employed by individual members. When you consider that the legislators themselves are greatly outnumbered by advisers, researchers, journalists, lobbyists, secretarial staff and I know not what else, then the legislators themselves seem to be outnumbered by more than two to one. Many of these will be young men and women,at the bottom of the pecking order but eager to establish a career for themselves and perhaps susceptible to advances and ‘offers’ of various kinds. Fuelling all of this are some thirty bars selling alcohol at subsidised prices. Even in the 1980s it was reckoned that some 10% MPs were alcoholics nd at least one party leader (Charles Kennedy, Liberal Democrat leader) drank himself to death. We might add to this the fact that normal ’employment laws’ do not seem to apply as MPs act as their own employers, often without the slightest idea of what is regarded as ‘normal’ relations between employer and employee. Whilst not being an apologist for all of this,one perhaps has to ask the question why there is so little sleaze and corruption in the Palace of Westminster rather than so much. Of course, there is a great feeling that we are all ‘marking time’ until the local elections have taken place on Thursday next. Being a bit of an election junkie, I am going to arm myself with several bottles of Newcastle Brown and I hope to enjoy myself when the results come rolling in early on Friday morning.