Friday, 2nd September, 2022

[Day 900]

We didn’t have anything much planned for today apart from a realisation that a period of wet and windy weather might be upon us over the weekend and so therefore today was a good day to apply the mower to the lawns (I hesitate to say ‘cut’ the lawns because they are still largely yellowy brown but they certainly need some tidying up as some tall weeds seem to be growing along their margins) We set off in the car this morning as we needed to make several calls along the road.The first was Asda because there are some things in that store that I cannot find anywhere else. We were successful in buying two of the three things we needed but could not find any of the brown paper bags designated for composting food waste which we use to store vegetables such as carrots in the fridge. To stop a lot of fruitless chasing around in the future, I have ordered some over the web which should take a few days to arrive. Then we went on to collect our newspaper and make our way to the park. The park’s car park seemed unusually full this morning but we occupied a space only when another visitor vacated it and enjoyed our coffee and biscuits when we were finally occupied our favourite bench. Finally, it was off to a petrol station to collect a gallon of petrol for the lawn mower – ideally, I wanted some ‘super’ petrol as I only buy two gallons of this a year for the lawn mower and I suspect it is ethanol-free. To cut a long story short, I concluded that the supermarket did not stock a ‘Super’ grade but filled up with regular petrol. When I enquired at the pay point, I was told they stock ‘Super’ grades of petrol but I had not found it because all of the pumps supplying it were busy with other customers. I have a special Briggs and Stratton additive (‘Fuel Fit’)which I can add to my petrol and according to the website, it prevents stale fuel, stabilizes fuel up to 3 years, cleans the fuel system and is the perfect stabiliser for lawn mowers and other equipment. Finally, we got home and had a quick lunch of sea bass on a bed of lettuce. This is our Friday ‘treat’ and as well as being very tasty, it is incredibly quick to prepare and gets our lunch (and the subsequent washing up) over and done with quite quickly. Finally, I got out fairly early in the afternoon to get the lawns cut. The mower started (eventually – I suspect that the really hot weather has caused the fuel in the fuel line to vaporise) and the lawns then got cut in the normal time (40 minutes for the front, 20 minutes for the back).

The campaign to be the next leader of the Conservative party, and therefore Prime Minister, thankfully ended at 5.00pm this afternoon. The result, practically a foregone conclusion, will be announced about midday on Monday morning. There is an almost universal acceptance that the election process, consulting as it does with the ‘grass roots’, has gone on far too long. The MP’s whittled their choice of candidates down to the top two in about 10 days but this consultation with the constituency parties seem to have gone off for weeks, right during the summer. The MP’s had to make their decisions quickly before the Parliamentary session ended, but even so most people are now of the view that MP’s should have been given a little more time and the constituency parties considerably less. A figure of two weeks for the latter has, I think, been mentioned. The last time the Tories activated this procedure, Angela Leadsom quickly withdrew from the contest with Theresa May and hence the whole process of choosing a new leader was considerably shortened. It was unfortunate for the Tories that this period of consultation coincided with the war in Ukraine and one of the worst economic crises to hit us in decades. It may well be that once this election is well and truly over that the Tories learn the lesson and perhaps have different procedures for when the party is in government (which is practically all the time) and when they are in opposition (which is correspondingly quite rare). The Labour party could do well to draw lessons from all of this as well. After the ‘coronation’ of Liz Truss is confirmed next Monday, political attention will turn to the Committee of Privileges of the House of Commons and whether Boris Johnson, in his uttterances, misled the House. The critical phrase is whether this was an ‘intentional’ misleading or not. Boris Johnson has received un an anticipated boost as in a published legal opinion commissioned by the government, Lord Pannick – a crossbench peer who sits in the House of Lords – described the Privileges Committee’s approach to its investigation into whether the PM misled MPs as ‘unfair’ and ‘flawed’. Boris Johnson will always argue that he ‘unintentionally’ misled the House – but was he really totally ignorant of all the partying going on around him, not least in his own flat when Dominic Cummings resigned?