Wednesday, 19th October, 2022

[Day 947]

This morning, we hoped that the engineer would call round to check over our BioDisk and I was mightily relieved to see that just after 9.00am he was there and working on the control panel. He seemed a nice young mn and I always offer a cup of coffee to anyone calling round to do a job either indoors or out. As it turned out, it looked as though it was a transient electical fault that had caused the alarm lights first to flash and then to turn themselves off, so it did not look as though there any serious malfunction or signs of damage. Naturally, we were relieved by all of this so then Meg and I made a trip into town to pick up our newspaper. We had a slightly artificial timetable this morning which precluded a trip to the park. Instead, we went to park near Asda so that I could make a hunt within the supermarket for cardboard boxes. I was successful in locating one of the types of fruit storage boxes in which I was interested so I secured this one and one or two more. Then it was a case of getting home and settling ourselves in front of TV to watch Prime Minister’s Questions and, in particular, to rate the performance of Liz Truss after after her recent reversals of policy. Keir Starmer made quite an effective attack with one or two jokes at the PM’s expense whilst Liz Truss herself tried one or two of the old attack lines such as Labour’s support for striking workers which is not at the forefront of voters’ minds at this very moment. However, one surprising concession wrung out of the Prime Minister was a firm commitment that next April all pensions would be uprated in line with inflation (announced this morning as 10.1%). The new Chancellor was floating the kite that if pensions were only to be uprated by the average rise in wages rather than inflation then this would save several billions. The average pensioner might have lost up to £400 if pensions had not been fully uprated so no doubt this would be highly appreciated by pensioners most of whom probably vote Tory in any case. Today is the day when our domestic help calls around so just before she left, we descended together into Mog’s Den and picked a selection of apples. Some of these were a magnificent size so we selected some apples that we believe to be eating apples and some that are almost definitely cookers and our domestic help is going to work her culinary magic on her supply. For myself, I was delighted that one of the largest eating apples was a lovely and crisp, slightly acidic flavour and I ate this in slivers with a little cheese. For lunch, I used up the leg meat from last weekend’s spatchcock chicken which I made into a type of fricassée and it made for a delicious meal.

After lunch, we decided to give ourselves a break from the surfeit of news so I idly surfed through the TV channels and on ‘Film 4’ stumbled across the 1956 film of the career of Douglas Bader named ‘Reach for the Skies‘ Bader was a wartime hero who had lost both legs in a flying accident before the war and proved to be an inspirational Wing Commander during the war itself. Ar first, I thought that the dialogue in the film was a bit of a pastiche (RAF types saying ‘Jolly good show, old chap’ and that sort of thing.) The film was made in 1956 and I probably saw it first in 1958 i.e. some 64 years ago and when I think about it, the dialogue in the film was probably quite accurate and people actually did talk like that. The film has some quite dramatic highlights (Bader was shot down but the Germans allowed another artificial leg to be flown out for him, one having been lost when he was shot down).

The breaking political news this afternoon hs been the resignation of the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman. She had apparently communicated an official document (or a draft of a document) to a ‘trusted parliamentary colleague’ using her own personal email. This is a breach of the Ministerial Code and so Braverman realised that she had no option but to resign. In her resignation letter, she admits to a ‘technical’ breach of the Ministerial Code but this wording seems designed to minimise the nature of the offence and the nature of the security breach. Also, I ask myself how an official document came to be in her own private email account before she could transmit it – this, itself, must also a breach of the Code but nobody has mentiond it yet. But the resignation letter contains stinging criticisms of the PM saying that it appeared that several manifesto commitments were not being honoured. Braverman also says in effect ‘I have made a mistake so I resign’ with an implication that perhaps Liz Truss ought to be doing the same. The word that is being used is ‘destabilising’ and having replaced both the Chancellor of the Exchequeur and the Home Secretary within days, that seems like a massive understatement. Finally, there was a vote in the House of Commons tonight on fracking which was supposed to be ‘whipped’ but a Government minister on instructions from No. 10 contradicted this and the Chief Whip promptly resigned. This is a government disintegrating before our eyes.