Wednesday, 17th August, 2022

[Day 884]

It has been rather a strange day today, but so it goes. It had been raining quite a lot yesterday evening and during the night so it was refreshing to wake up to quite a drippy morning. Our domestic help called round this morning but after a chat and some consultation, we felt that we needed to pop to a pharmacy to pick up some medication to cope with some problems caused by the excessive heat of the last few days. We went to our local Morrison’s store, if only because parking is so easy outside, and requested a consultation with the pharmacist. Normally, I have quite a regard for pharmacists and trust their advice but the service we got today was quite perfunctory. Eventually, though, we took the advice of other pharmacy assistants who seemed a lot more helpful than the actual pharmacist so once we had supplied ourselves with medications we made for home. I have quite a lot of my financial ‘book-keeping’ that I needed to do to keep my records up-to-date so this took the rest of the morning and some of the afternoon as well. I change to a different sheet of my financial spreadsheet once a month and this helps me keep track of my monthly receipts and outgoings.

Some of the recent projections about the cost-of-living and inflations crisis that is threatening to overwhelm us are mind boggling. Today, inflation has jumped to more than 10% – the highest for 40 years. One in four people won’t be able to afford to pay their energy bills in October, based on current forecasts. The figure could jump to one in three (34%) people in January when prices are predicted to soar above £4,200. Citizens Advice says more than 13 million people could be left in the red, as spiralling costs rapidly outstrip the support on offer. Of those who won’t be able to pay in October, the majority (68%) have a household income of less than £30,000. Some 3.2 million disabled people and 4.4 million families with children are set to be unable to afford October’s hikes. The political reaction to all of this is interesting, if only because in about three week’s time, we will have a new prime minister, probably Liz Truss, who is committed to providing ‘no handouts’ If and when Liz Truss is elected, this particular commitment of ‘no handouts’ will surely bite the dust, so we we will have the fascinating scenario of a politician elected on the slogan of ‘no handouts’ reversing the slogan upon which they have been elected within hours. Nobody is talking yet of a mass uprising on the streets but this must remain a possibility. I remember very vividly the story about the bankruptcy of Uper Clyde Shipbuilders in 1971/72. The then Prime Minister, Edward Heath, receive a phone call from the Provost (equivalent of Lord Mayor) of Glasgow indicating that was the very real possibility of a violent uprising on the streets of Glasgow which the police and military would not be able to contain – therefore the Provost could not guarantee there wuld not be the equivalent of an insurrection in Glasgow, not to mention other parts of Scotland. Ted Heath apparently went white with fright after receiving the phone call and ordered an imediate ‘U-turn’ in whih Upper Clyde Shipbuilders was to be nationalised, even though the right wing members of his government wanted it to go bust and to tough out the consequences. I am not sure whether his story has ever been fully documented but that there was a very sudden U-turn which is well documented in all of the political histories.

Some politicl news from the other side of ‘the pond’ is disturbing. Liz Cheney has been one of her party’s most outspoken Trump critics, and was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach the former president after the Capitol riots on 6 January 2021. She has had to concede defeat to Harriet Hageman on Tuesday, whose candidacy was endorsed by Mr Trump in the Republican primary. Observers say Ms Cheney’s loss indicates that Mr Trump still has a grip on the Republican Party, as his critics fear he is considering running for president again in 2024. Speaking to Sky News’ US partner NBC News on the morning after her election defeat, Ms Cheney said she will do ‘whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office’. Dick Cheney was a former Vice-President of the United States and to British observers, it is a little jaw-dropping that the daughter of such a prominent ‘neo-con’ as Dick Cheney could come out so strongly against Trump. Her defeat in the State of Wyoming against Donald Trump’s preferred candidate for Congress, was massive – and Donald Trump’s reaction was that Republicans like Liz Cheney who is called a ‘RINO’ (Republican in Name Only) has evidently thrown in her lot with the radical left. But Liz Cheeney is convinced that Donald Trump is a truly dangerous actor but he seems to receive the adoration of much of the Republican party (who believe, like Trump, that the election was actually ‘stolen’ from them)