Sunday, 4th September, 2022

[Day 902]

This morning was a gloomy morning which threatened rain later on in the day. As it was, I walked down on my own to collect our copy of the Sunday Times and then it was time in home for what is now the Laura Kuennsberg show, now that Andrew Marr has retired. The show was memorable for an interview with Liz Truss who will surely get the news at 12.30 tomorrow that she has been elected as the leader of the Conservative Party and therefore Prime Minister. For me, the whole show (apart from the antics of the comedian Joe Lycett who practically derailed the show) was a graph shown to Liz Truss showing how reducing the National Insurance contributions was amazingly regressive – the higher one moved up the income scale, the greater the benefit). Laura Kuennsberg’s question to Liz Truss was ‘that was not fair’ to which Liz Truss replied that it was absolutely fair. This is a jaw-dropping admission – that the richer one is, it is more fair to give them bigger tax reductions than it is to help the poorest who are are hardly helped at all by the reduction in National Insurance. Practically no politician has dared to day this in the last forty years (but I suppose Tories feel it to be true). Liz Truss went on to say that we should not be arguing about redistributing the wealth of the nation but stimulating economic growth by making the rich richer. This is part of a wider theory called ‘trickle down economics’ in which it is assumed (with very little evidence) that making the rich richer makes wealth ‘trickle down’ to reach the poower sections of our society. The renowned economist, John Kenneth Galbraith, described trickle-down theory as ‘the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.’ This pretty much summarises what has happened in practice over the past forty years as the theory has been rigorously applied by giving tax cuts to rich people and powerful corporations. But the rich have become very much richer, the corporations have become very much more powerful, and the sparrows are getting a whole lot thinner as fewer oats make it through the system. The Twitter-sphere is full of comments about this gaffe (if it was a gaffe) and are arguing that the Labour Party must be rubbing their hands in glee at this statement of philosophy before Truss is even elected. Others have commented that as we have had several years of trickle down economics, why do we have 200+ food banks across the country? I hope that Keir Starmer uses it to good effect at Question Time next Wednesday. The amazing thing is that even some Tories are even now, before she is even confirmed as having been elected, thinking of ways in which she can be removed – after all, only 30% Conservative MPs actually voted for her in the final ballot. If Liz Truss appoints an incredibly right wing cabinet, then this will spell masses of trouble on the back benches who feel that the Tory party is anything but united. On the other hand, if she appoints people who disagree with her, she must hate having them in the cabinet voicing their opinions and eventually being sacked in a blaze of publicity. It is no wonder that Boris Johnson is going to lurk around in the wings, assuming that a Liz Truss premiership will implode as right wing ideology has to meet with the reality of mass hardship and deaths amnongst the elderly. Of course, having appealed to right wing constituency party members with ‘no handouts’ she may have to ditch this ‘promise’ within hours when faced with the depth of the economic crisis coming down the road.

Meg and I took the car to the park as we often do on a Sunday mornimg. We had just drunk our coffee and were preparing to leave when our two friends, University of Birmingham friend and Seasoned World Traveller strode into view, probably seeking us out. We had quite a jolly time joshing with each other about this and that. I had discovered a little child’s toy – a ball that illuminates when it is bounced – so they volunteered to hand it in at the cafe so that it can be donated by them (and not by me)to any passing toddler who can make use of it.

Today, we had a conventional beef dinner and teated ourselves to some Yorkshire puddings to go with it. After lunch, we were delighted to see that we had a really good old-fashioned downpour which did not last very long but is a sight to which we have not been treated for several weeks now. Later. on this afternoon, I am going to prepare some apples which my daughter-in-law picked for me and we can have a good old-fashioned nursery tea of stewed apple with custard. We are also looking forward to a BBC4 presentation later on this evening of the life of Beethoven on the one hand, to be followed by a rendition of the 9th Symphony (Choral Symphony) on the other.