Thursday, 18th April, 2024

[Day 1494]

We were almost in danger of oversleeping this morning but fortunately, when I looked at the schedule sheet provided by Meg’s care providers, I saw that the two carers were not due for some time, giving me time to shower before they arrived. In the event, they arrived a quarter of an hour late, one being the carer from Peru we know well and other one new to us. So we got ourselves up and breakfasted and then the pattern for the morning changed. The carer from Peru had been detailed to stay on when Meg was ready in order that I could go out and do the weekly shopping. This actually worked out fairly well and I left the carer reading stories and listening to some classical music whilst I ploughed my way through various sets of traffic lights (which all seemed to be at red) on my way to the supermarket and back again. As I know this supermarket pretty well, then almost all that I felt that I wanted or needed I managed to find complete with one or two extras. When I got home, I joined Meg and the carer in conversation, mainly about her forthcoming trip to Peru in July, before it was time for her to leave. Then it was time for me to prepare the lunchtime meal which today consisted of cooking some onions, peppers, peas and fragments of chicken which I serve on pasta (for Meg) and some cream crackers for myself. The idea of the cream crackers is to keep my carbohydrate count as low as practicable. We had just about finished lunch when the doorbell rang and it was our chiropodist, with whom I had just reestablished our patterns of appointments since Meg had been in hospital. When I described to her the various travails that we had with Meg in hospital and the fact that we were waiting for days for the ReAblement team to swing into action, our chiropodist explained that an almost parallel experience had happened to her mother-in-law. She had an episode quite similar to Meg’s and had been taken to the huge Queen Elizabeth hospital in the centre of Birmingham where she appeared to be stuck in the system until the NHS ReAblement bureaucracy had done its work. I do not know if this little story made me feel better or worse but it does illustrate that the experience that Meg and I have was far from being unique. I then popped Meg on the settee for an after dinner doze but it was not to be but I had the rest of the shopping to put away as well as getting the washing up all done. At this point, I realised that I had not had the time to get my daily newspaper but, as Meg did not relish the prospect of being left on her own, she was trundled into the car and we then made our way down to Waitrose to get a newspaper. You would have thought that this was quite a simple transaction but I got stuck in a queue behind a lady who could not get the system in the supermarket to recognise the vouchers on her mobile phone. After all of her packed shopping had been unpacked and rescanned, the app vouchers would still not be credited whilst the young assistant and her supervisor struggled to get things to work. Eventually I was allowed to get through the system quickly as all I wanted to do was to present my voucher and to get out of the store quickly.

Something rather strange is happening on the political front with consequences that be hard to predict. Normally when one party is extremely unpopular in the opinion polls, then the corresponding chief Opposition party hits a corresponding high. But today a polling firm has revealed that the Tories are on 19%, the lowest level of support it has ever recorded for the party – and Sir Keir Starmer also registers his lowest net satisfaction rating in his four years as Labour leader. So if the two major political leaders are unpopular, does this mean that third parties or nationalist parties will receive a boost? I suspect that one of the consequences might be a low turnout in the general election whenever it comes and this is never good for the democratic process. I suspect that part of Keir Starmer’s low poll results might be a combination of disillusionment with Starmer’s stance over the Gaza conflict where Starmer appears to throw his weight unequivocally behind Israel, thus alienating many Muslim voters. At the same time, some of Starmer’s policies seem to mirror those of the Tories and even the Tories themselves ‘stole’ the taxation of non-doms policy from the Labour Party. It does not bother me a great deal that Starmer does not appear to have instant political sex appeal as it were because I feel that modern political developments have been far too presidential for my taste. One of the most successful Labour Prime Ministers was Clement Atlee whose style was headmasterly rather than presidential. Today came the news that yet another Tory MP has had the whip withdrawn (the equivalent of being suspended from the party) for mis-allocating funds apparently for his own personal use. The Tory party at the moment does give the appearance of party that knows it is beaten, that its days in power are numbered and one is hoping against hope that ‘something might turn up’ This feeling is not completely irrational because it is not well known that Margaret Thatcher was regarded as one of the post unpopular Prime Ministers of all time immediately before the Falklands war but one of the most popular immediately afterwards. So ‘the something that might turn up’ certainly did in the case of the Falklands war and, of course, immediately the war was won it quite easy for her advisers to suggest that she call a general election so that she could immediately benefit from her new found popularity. And, of course, as Harold Wilson used to say ‘a week can be a long time in politics’

The latest news from across the pond, as they say, is the story that campaign for Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential bid has come up with a new way to raise cash — which involves calling on down-ballot candidates who use his name and likeness in fundraising pushes to give him a cut of the money they raise.’Beginning tomorrow, we ask that all candidates and committees who choose to use President Trump’s name, image, and likeness split a minimum of 5% of all fundraising solicitations to Trump National Committee JFC. This includes, but is not limited to, sending to the house file, prospecting vendors, and advertising’ Trump co-campaign managers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita wrote in a letter reported on by Politico.