Thursday, 14th July, 2022

[Day 850]

Thursday is the day when I do my weekly shopping and today was a ‘heavy’ week as last week’s proved to be quite a light one and these things balance out. I was first in the queue to get into the supermarket and shopping is quite a stress-free experience this early in the morning. On my way home, I collected our newspaper and then it was off to home for a tiny breakfast (a poached egg on a rice cracker, following the slogan coined, I think, by Salmin Rushdie to ‘go to work on an egg’) Then it was a case of getting all of the washing hung out on the line as it was such an excellent drying day, fed Miggles the cat and finally prepared our elevenses for our trip to the park. We went into town by car this morning as time was marching on and we were delighted to have a conversation with Intrepid Octogenerian Hiker who we see practically every day that we go to the park and who is always busy completing his 9-10 kilometres for the day. We then made contact with our our recently established Lickey friends who follow this blog and told me things about myself I had long forgotten. We had some interesting discussions about the ways in which, when we teach ourselves languages, it is quite possible to make terrible mistakes. There are what linguists call ‘false friends’ where you are pretty sure you know the meaning of a word but it can land you in some trouble. The best example of this genre that I know of is the Spanish adjective ’embarasada’ which sounds to English ears to mean ’embarrassed’ but actually means ‘pregnant’ so you can see how this is likely to end up wih gales of laughter. So we had a pleasant chat and no doubt there will be many more in the days ahead. After we lunched (and dozed for a litle) I got onto BT to see if there was any news about the four phones and the router that we have on order with them and that we need if we are going to get our landline and fibre-based broadband up and running next Monday. Time is rapidly running out for these items of equipment to arrive so having got through to the relevant department within BT, I found out that the required kit had been despatched today by BT and was now in the hands of Royal Mail itself and I was informed that the gear should arrive with me on Saturday. This sounds like ‘just in time’ with a vengeance but I suppose there is always Monday morning but things might be a little frantic by then.

The results of the second round of voting for the Conservative party leader were announced at 3.00pm. As widely predicted, the Attorney General Suella Braverman who had only just crept into the the current round actually lost votes and was then eliminated. Now the total list is down to five and this has to be whittled down to two. Of course, when candidates are eliminated, there is a frantic lobbying to try to secure their erstwhile supporters for the next round. Sometimes, this is easy to predict as the ‘wings’ of the party tend to be very loyal to each other – but not always. So the 28 or so Braverman voters will almost certainly go to the most convinced of the remaining right winger/Brexit inclined candidates which in the current context means Liz Truss (and this is what happened) But this is where the politics gets really Machiavellian because if it can be demonstrated that you spotted the eventual winner at an earlier stage and publically pledged your support, then there is always the prospect that you will be rewarded with a Cabinet position. This sometimes means that MPs such as Gavin Williamson, one of the least competent Ministers of Education in the modern era, owe their appointment to the fact that they led the campaigns for the winning candidate. So this is politics – promises are made and then not redeemed, a certain amount of black propaganda and ‘dirt’ is hurled backwards and forwards. There are some stories that some of the candidates have been leaking ‘unsavoury’ details of other candidates that might be damaging to them to the Labour Party so that the ammunition is fired by the official opposition rather than one’s own side. It brings to mind the oft repeated aphorism in politics, with particular reference to the House of Commons that one’s opponents are to the front of you (i.e. the opposition) but one’s enemies are behind you)i.e. members of your own party). Although Rishi Sunak is the candidate in the lead as of this evening and Penny Mordaunt is not too far behind, getting into the last two is not the end of the game. It seems that Penny Mordaunt is much more popular with the Tory rank and file in the constituency parties out in the country so that it could be that even if Sunak + Mordaunt come out as the two preferred candidates of the parliamentary party, the real election may well depend upon the wider votes of Tory members in the constituencies so Mordaunt may well romp ahead and win the entire contest.