Thursday, 16th February, 2023

[Day 1067]

Thursday is my shopping day so I was up bright and early to join the little queue of 2-3 people who wait outside the store, waiting for it to open. One or two of the things that I buy regularly were missing from the shelves this morning so I have to make a mental note of the extra things I need to top up with the next time I go to Waitrose in a day or so. The morning was a little foreshortened by the time I had got the shopping unpacked and the breakfast cooked, eaten and everything washed up. Meg and I did not bother to venture out today as the weather was a little overcast and both of us felt a bit knocked out so we just had a quiet morning in.

If an announcement is imminent from No. 10 and nobody is sure of the exact timing, then it is quite common for there to be a gaggle of reporters and photographers who have to while away the time somehow waiting for the forthcoming announcement. The comings and goings of Larry, the Downing Street cat, is then often the subject of much press attention. Incidentally, Larry in appearance looks as though he could the parent of Miggles, the cat who visits us every day, today being no exception – I think he spots the car arriving back from shopping and then makes his presence felt. It is rumoured that Larry is a bit of a bruiser and certainly has spats with Palmerston, the Foreign Office cat, with whom he is a fierce rival. But you can always tell when a journalist is sitting in front of his word-processor and wondering ‘What shall I write about today?’ and, in the absence of any breaking political news, it is always possible to put words in the mouth of Larry who comments upon the comings and goings in Downing Sreet. We had one such piece yesterday when Robert Crampton was writing in ‘The Times‘ giving us such offerings as ‘that dog Dilyn (the stray adopted by Boris and Carrie Johnson) could not control his bodily functions’ After commenting on a range of recent Prime Ministers came the observation that ‘there was that other peculiar woman (Liz Truss). I had forgotten about her. Barely moved in and then moved out again’ and so on and so forth. Putting words in the mouths of animals owned by politicians is not a new venture as Roy Hattersley, the veteran Labour politician and one time Home Secretary wrote a book called ‘Buster’ which was the political world as seen through the eyes of Roy Hattersley’s dog. ‘Buster’rather disgraced himself as he caught and killed a duck in St.James Park for which offence Roy hattersley, even though he was Home Secretary at the time, had to lead guilty by letter and then pay the ensuing fine.

In the disappearance of Nicola Bulley, the missing Lancashire dog walker, the local police seemed to have made a massive blunder. After revealing to the press that Nicola Bulley was a ‘vulnerable person’ and refusing initially to divulge further details for the sake of the family, the police seemed to be working quite professionally. But then they had a complete ‘volte-face’ and put out a statement stating that Nicola had in the past suffered with some significant issues with alcohol which were brought on by her ongoing struggles with the menopause and that these struggles had resurfaced over recent months. These medical details seemed to go way beyond that which was necessary to inform the public of the progress of the police investigation and Lancashire police are now themselves subject to quite a degree of criticism. The independent Office for Police Conduct have now got involved and, no doubt, the story will further develop from this point on – I wonder if eventually heads might roll?

There has been a ruling in the High Court today that the UK scheme to settle millions of EU citizens risks creating illegal migrants overnight is unlawful. There was the possibility that millions of EU citizens did not apply in time and they could be declared as illegal immigrants and then deported (forcibly, I wonder?) In a highly critical judgment, the court said the scheme breached the UK’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. The watchdog for EU citizens’ rights argued the scheme could strip people of rights if they did not register in time. Quite unusually, the Government have admitted that they will not appeal against the ruling and so this is yet another example of a Home Office which is completely dysfunctional and seems to run from one disaster to another. The scandal of Windrush is still fresh in the minds of many people. Descendants of the Windrush which arrived from the West Indies in 1949 bringing many West Indians to the UK to solve severe labour shortages were declared to be illegal immigrants even though they had lived and worked in the UK for decades. As children, some people might have been entered on a parent’s passport but if this had not been retained after the death of the parent, the children were assumed to be ‘illegal’ After the scandal was exposed, the Home Office was meant to be offering a compensation scheme but even this initiative has run into the rocks.