Thursday, 18th August, 2022

[Day 885]

Today is my shopping day so, as usual, it was up bright and early and to the supermarket, via an ATM, a minute or so before the supermarket opened. As we are going away next week, I have to cater for one day less in the week but on the other hand, tend to buy one or two things that will be useful as a repast during our journey. The shopping having been unpacked, it was then time for Meg and I to make our customary journey to the park. The car park seemed to be teeming with cars and, as we have come to expect, there were a fair sprinkling of scooters in variety. We did manage to have a few words with an acquaintance that we only meet every so often, and then she shot off in her motorised wheelchair which seems to go at a ferocious pace before she has a quiet read of a book under the shade of one of the park’s trees. When we got home, I resurrected the rest of the chicken carcase to make into a fricasee type meal and then we settled down to see what offerings there were in the various sporting competitions taking place at the moment. We were fairly interested in the one metre springboard synchronised diving and the female British pair were edged into a fourth place by 0.4 of a point which must be one of the cruellist place to be. On the other hand, our male gold medal holder successfully defended his title so there was fairly mixed news. Tonight, on the athletics track in Munich, there should be some interesting semi-finals with British interest as well as the final of the 1500 metres which, to a British audience, is always a ‘must watch’ event.

The latest news from the contest to lead the Conservative party is more of the same. It seems that Liz Truss has a lead of some 32 points (66 to 34) and some 57% of the constituency parties electorate have already voted. Of those who have yet to vote and have made up their minds, some 44% are committed to Truss and 29% to Sunak. The interesting thing about this campaign is that on the occasions when the two candidates have publically debated face-to-face, most famously in the Sky News debate, Rishi Sunak is nearly always adjudged to be the winner. Nonetheless, despite the very slight tightening of the polls that have taken place recently, this hardly seems to have harmed the Truss campaign at all. This reinforces, for me, a couple of points. Given the existing make up and mood the Conservative party out in the country, being ‘competent’ hardly seems to be important whereas garnering the votes of the right wing (and Brexist faction of the party) seem to be critical. Rishi Sunak is damaged, rightly or wrongly, for two things. The first is that he is blamed for using the dagger of revolt against Boris Johnson. This is despite the fact that eventually a substantial part of the Conservative party came to the view that Johnson was not fit to be their leader any more. A second factor was the non-dom status of his millionaire wife damaged him enormously – a fact that was not helped by the the fact that Sunak has admitted to holding a green card while living in Downing Street – declaring him a permanent resident of the US and part of this arrangement is a declaration that one intends to become a permanent resident o the United Statess. Also reinforced is the point that the overall ‘look and feel’ of candidates is of greater significance than either the policies that one espouses or even the generally acknowledged level of competence one exhibits. Those of long political memories may recall that one of the most brilliant Conservative policians of the 1960’s and 1970’s – Iain McCloud – was damned by getting the reputation that he was ‘too clever by half’ Finally, the same survey showed that if Boris Johnson had been a candidate in the present election, not only would he have won but he would have garnered as many votes (practically) as the other two candidates put together. This must surely mean that to many conservatives, the fact that Johnson was demonstrated to be a serial liar as well as the Prime Minister who tried to dissolve Parliament illegally is not at all important to them.