Thursday, 13th October, 2022

[Day 941]

Thursday is my shopping day so as is usual I get up early, get some money out of an ATM and then get lined up outside my supermarket of choice at 8.00am promptly. The shopping having been done, I collected our newspaper on the way home and then had a leisurely breakfast. I then made a couple of routine telephone calls booking services of varying types before Meg and I made our way belatedly to the park. In the park, we met one of our Catholic friends from down the road and we exchanged news about our comings and goings – I have some spare damson compôte saved from the last bottling of last year’s damson gin and I am hoping my friend can turn it all to good use. We also bumped into one of our regular dog walkers who we know well by sight – she is the spitting image of one of my Hampshire friends so it is always a bit of a surprise when we see her in the park. When I worked at De Montfort University in Leicester, one of my colleagues swore that I had a doppelganger which was a milkman in Worcester. If you research this term on the web, you will find the observation that statistically there are six other people in the world who look exactly like us. All of this sounds extremely fanciful but Meg and I once had an uncanny experience at work. De Montfort University appointed a new manager of student housing and the first time Meg met him in a meeting, she practically fainted as the new manager appeared to be an exact image of her own (dead) father. I also met him in a meeting and had a similar experience but the minute he spoke, one knew at once that he was indeed a radically different individual so you knew you were not seeing a ghost.

Today is one of those days when you know that a lot is going on politically but the actual chages have not broken surface as yet. The Chancellor is in the USA meeting with members of the IMF and, according to all accounts, they are telling him that the UK economic policy needs ‘recalibrating’ (a polite way of saying a ‘U’ turn). Back in Downing Street, they are apparently working frantically on some kind of policy which is both a ‘U’ turn and not a ‘U’ turn at the same time, but news is yet to emerge. The cruel dilemma for the government is this – if the revisions to the policy are minimal, then the markets will not be satisfied. If, on the other hand, the reversals are quite major, then the Prime Minister and the Chancellor will lose all credibility – and their own survival is threatened. One solution is for the Prime Minister, Liz Truss, to ‘ditch’ her Chancellor and to blame all of the government woes upon his head. But this is very difficult as the two politicians are soul mates and ‘bound at the hip’as they say. This friendship is forged in the fact that they both contributed to an extreme right-wing manifesto a few years ago entitled ‘Britannia Unchained‘. Some of the flavour of this polemic can be gleaned from the opinions broadcast in the book which asserts that the UK has a ‘bloated state, high taxes and excessive regulation’. It then goes on to say that ‘the British are among the worst idlers in the world. We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor. Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music’. It also says the UK should stop indulging in irrelevant debates about sharing the pie between manufacturing and services, the north and the south, women and men. I found the following article last night which was entitled ‘It’s now more likely than not that the mini-Budget will be withdrawn and that the Chancellor may have to go’ You would think that this article would be on website of the Labour Party or in ‘The Guardian‘s opinion pages. But it is actually the lead article in the website dedicated to the fortunes of the Conservative party called ‘ConservativeHome‘ We cannot know when any decisions are to be announced but tonight,I shall probably watch Question Time to get some of the views of ‘Middle England’. I stopped watching this program during the pandemic and still believe its radio cousin of ‘Any Questions‘ is a more interesting program to follow. Nonetheless seeing government minister squirm when under pressure from a live audience is always pleasant to behold.

Tonight, our visiting cat Miggles was in attendance outside our door, to which he/she responds when the sound of the back door being opened is heard. The cat tends to pop inside and get over-familiar with my slippers whenever the opportunity presents itself. I gather from a cursory consultation with the web that this behaviour is not uncommon with our feline friends. They are evidently responding to whatever ‘scent’ is left behind in one’s slippers but I must say that when we had family cats in the 1950’s and 1960’s we never witnessed behaviour of this kind.