Wednesday, 9th November, 2022

[Day 968]

Meg and I look forward to Wednesday because it is the day when our domestic help comes round to work her magic and after a cup of tea first thing, we exchange news of each other’s week. I showed her the improvements that we had made to our little music corner and, in particular, how I had interfaced my old iphone (with about 200 tracks on it) to an external Bluetooth speaker. We knew that Prime Minister’s Questions would be especially good today after the resignation last night of Gavin Williamson (who had previously been sacked as one of the most incompetent Education Secretaries of all time) We enjoyed our coffee in the park and just got back in time, having bought some essential supplies in Waitrose, to make us all a nice cup of coffee and settled down to PMQ. In this, Keir Starmer had some excellent attack lines which he delivered in a fashion described by some as ‘brutal’. For example, Keir Starmer referred to Sir Gavin as ‘a sad middle manager getting off on intimidating those beneath him’ and a ‘cartoon bully with a pet spider’. Williamson, I think it is fair to say, was known across the House of Commons as a ‘nasty piece of work’. As an ex-Chief Whip and a record of incompetence as a defence and latterly education secretary he had practically no friends amongst fellow Conservative MPs. It could be that Sunak employed him as a type of enforcer over recalcitrant MPs but eventually the costs of keeping him far exceeded the costs of letting him go. Once the tirade of foul epithets with the Conservative chief whip became public as well as other damning remarks to a senior civil servant that he ‘should slit his own throat’ then it was only a question of time before he had to go. Indeed, Sunak did not even have to sack him because other parts of the Tory party indicated him that it was time to go and his future is bound to be oblivion (and it would not surprise me if he left politics at the next general election).

After lunch, we knew that I had to go to a routine annual monitoring after my operation of a few years ago and for this, we needed to make a trip to the local hospital some 11 miles distant. Compared with the last time I visited, I now needed to take a ticket to gain access to the car park and when we got to the outpatient clinic a wait of some 45 minutes ensured. I had taken Meg with me so that she was not left on her own for too long and when we left, having paid a £4 fee for an hour’s visit, the barriers were open so the £4 payment proved not to be necessary after all. Then it was home and a quick tea before we caught up with the news.

The Channel 4 analysis of the American election results was illuminating in the extreme. The Republicans had been predicted to do incredibly well as inflation is hitting American society hard and Trump was on the rampage. But the ‘red wave’ turned out to be a ‘red trickle’ and although the Republicans will take the House of Representatives, it should be by a much smaller margin than was predicted. This still means that the enquiry into the insurrection and invasion of the Capitol building will be called off, however, as they go after Jo Biden’s son. But the Senate race is still far too hard to call. There are three more results to be declared but one of the most critical is Georgia. In this state, there is a third candidate who will take away sufficient votes for either Republican or Democrat to cross the 50% line, so it appears that there will be a run off election between these two top candidates in the first week of December. So the ultimate result may not be known for several weeks. In the meantime. the Democrats have even taken the state of Pennsylvania from red (Republican) to blue (Democrat) But of much more significance is the fact that the especially endorsed Trump candidates seem to have fared less well than those not so endorsed- in other words, Trump’s influence has been negative. He is reportedly livid about this and is ‘throwing his toys out of his pram’ There is no great love for the Democrats but the abortion issue has harmed rather than helped the Republicans. Also the American electorate seem to have failed to have voted for the mediocrity of some of the Trump candidates. This may play into the hands of DeSantis, the Florida senator. While Republican candidates across the country met unexpectedly tight races, Mr DeSantis, 44, swept to a nearly 20-point landslide victory over Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, including a clear majority among Latino voters. Four years ago, by comparison, he won by less than half a percentage point. No doubt, there will have to much more analysis in the days ahead but it looks as though the ‘MAGA’ (Make America Great Again) brand of conservatism may just have had its day.