Tuesday, 22nd November, 2022

[Day 981]

We are truly into November-ish type weather this morning as the wonderful autumn spell that we have been enjoying has finally come to an end and we return to what we might term more normal autumnal weather. As it is a Tuesday, we have fallen into our normal Tuesday routine which involves having a coffee in the Waitrose coffee bar. There, as we expected, we bumped into one of our Tuesday regulars where we have our customary chat and contemplate the fact that the Christmas is almost upon us where we will be assailed on all sides to buy perfume, chocolate and goodness knows what else. Once we had our elevenses, we made for home where we caught up with some of the news of the day. Then it was a case of getting into my Pilates ‘gear’ (in other words my track suit bottoms) before I walk down for my regular class each Tuesday – our class is a small but regular group of four with myself and three ladies. Fortunately, the showers held off whilst I walked down and had my class bfore I walked back and we had a late lunch at about 3.0pm. At home, I am engaged in a a little project in which I am having some success so far. I am trying to create some open boxes/containers which hold the CDs I have relocated to populate our newly commissioned music room. This involves trying to find a narrow shoebox or any box which is just a tad over 5.5 inches wide. I then do a certain amount of covering with grey duct tape to give the CD boxes a more uniform appearance as well as strengthening any parts that have needed to be cut or adapted to shape. So far, I have successfully made three of these storage boxes and am half way through adapting a fourth – it is one of those kinds of activities which is reasonably satisfying as you can do it whilst watching TV which is showing any content that is less than riveting in the background.

There are two bits of news which are attracting attention this afternoon. The first of these is a YouGov national opinion poll of public opinion which is showing that only 32% of those polled think that Brexit was a good idea and 56% think it was wrong. This is particularly interesting as it puts both major political parties out of step with the public’s view. There is a growing realisation that Brexit ‘is not working’ and, perhaps the feeling as well, that it is not likely to work either. If a trade deal with the USA could be negotiated, then this might give the Brexit project a fighting chance of success but at the moment, most of the deals negotiated amount to pretty small beer. A trade deal has been negotiated with Australia which many commentators are predicting will be a bad deal for the UK. It is widely acknowledged that most of the trade deals negotiated by Liz Truss when she was the Foreign Secretary were really ‘cut-and-paste’ jobs for deals that were already in place but were just repackaged and had a ‘Brexit’ label stuck on them for presentational purposes but nothing all that substantial had actually been renegotiated. Why all of this matters is because of the disastrous failure of the Liz Truss ‘experiment’ to borrow out way into economic growth and where international investors refused to lend us the money. One of the most evident ways to achieve economic growth is to allow for more immigration to fill skill shortages and to establish a new trading relationship with the nearest big economic blog i.e. the European Union. But when the Sunday Times indicated that some in the UK Treasury were contemplating an arrangement with the EU such as Switzerland enjoys, there were immediate howls of protest from the Brexit press and Rishi Sunak was forced to make an instant statement to the CBI (which he happened to be addressing the next day) that anything like the rumours were remotely being considered. Nor would such measures pass through the House of Commons as presently constituted.

The second big new story is the news that in the World Cup, Saudi Arabia – a rank outsider, ranked as No. 51 in the world – has just beaten Argentina 2-1 when Argentina was one of the fancied teams to actually win the competition. The delight in Saudi Arabia, a neighbouring country to Qatar with easy access to it, has just declared a day’s public holiday in celebration. This ranks as one of the biggest shocks in the whole history of the World Cup, although every single World Cup produces one or two surprises. More disturbing news was that a female Welsh supporter was actually denied entrance to the match against the USA just because she was wearing a multistriped hat in favour of LGBT+ rights. I think that the supporter managed to smuggle herself inside the match anyway but it does tell you something about the mindset of the Qatari/FIFA footballing authorities to take action as draconian as this.