Thursday, 2nd May, 2024

[Day 1508]

These days I am never quite sure how the day is going to unfold. In particular, I had received a message fairly late on yesterday from the manager of the care agency to say he had been in contact with Social Services and to cut along story short, he had been informed that we now had no allocated social worker and it was incumbent upon me to phone up the duty office to indicate our needs. The carers who came this morning were allocated rather a late time and as this coincided with the Bromsgrove rush hours, they were both twenty minutes late whilst Meg, sat uncomplainingly, waiting for them. So breakfast was a little delayed and immediately this over I phoned up the Social Services office. At first the receptionist could not find Meg on the system but eventually by going through postcode rather than date of birth, Meg’s records were located. It turned out that we had in practice been allocated social worker No. 3 and almost unbelievably, she happened to be in her office and could receive my phone call. The news that emerged, however, was good. We have got funding approved for the next two weeks subject to review and, moreover, the social worker made an appointment to come out and see us in a couple of week’s time which was, again, excellent news. So I suspect that we may have a call this afternoon but, as I write, nobody has turned up. This morning, though, was devoted to a call from a couple of Admiral nurses, one of whom is our regular contact and the other a colleague who had come along in support. There was a third attendee as well, who was a student observer whom I had met once before when I attended a carer’s session in the local community hospital but whose role was confined to an observer only. But the two Admiral nurses were a fund of useful advice and support. They were as dismayed as I was that the local GP practice thought they could offer a service to a person who is in as frail a state as is Meg these days by only offering a telephone consultation service. I suspect that since COVID, GP practices all over the country have latched onto the idea of a telephone consultation as their very first option without applying any degree of discretion to the cases in front of them. But the lead Admiral nurse intended to fire off an email in the direction of the doctor, another one towards the newly allocated social worker and perhaps a third in the direction of the OT service. In short, I feel as though I have some kind of advocate acting on my behalf which is surely welcome. The hour that they had allocated to us very quickly shot by but I always feel that the fact that they can make approximately monthly visits and are always available at the end of a phone is a source of some reassurance to me.

We had our thrown together pasta type lunch and then I got Meg settled down for a doze which was only light to put it mildly. We were half expecting a visit this afternoon from another care worker but perhaps the system will kick in from tomorrow. Last night, though, when Meg was in bed and I had done some routine tasks such as processing the contents of the washing machine, I started to watch a Channel 5 program in the series of Great British Sex Scandals. Last night’s edition focussed on the issue of Cecil Parkinson, the Conservative party chairman who helped to organise Margaret Thatcher’s election victory in 1983. I remember all of the major elements of this scandal but what I failed to appreciate was the ramifications of this affair which went on for years, or more accurately decades afterwards. I knew that Parkinson had been forced eventually to resign (by a well placed contribution from Sara Keays, the made pregnant secretary) who gave her side of the story to ‘The Times’ who made it their headline and, after which, Parkinson had no alternative but to resign. But what I did not appreciate was that Parkinson’s liaison with his secretary was well known to other Tory MPs and the rest of Fleet Street at the time but the ‘old boy’s club’ which operated at the time meant that Parkinson got away with everything. In fact Andrew Neil, the editor of the Sunday Times even produced a headline saying ‘The case for Parkinson’ and all of this I must admit was news to me. What was even more jaw dropping was the injunction that Parkinson served upon Sarah Keays and her disabled child which meant that they were effectively muzzled for the best part of 18 years. Anybody who gave air Io any of their concerns about the case (such as one brave questioner upon the BBC ‘Question Time‘ was liable to immediate imprisonment) and thus the ultimate victim in the case was the wronged Sarah Keays whilst Parkinson got away with all of his transgressions and after being brought back into government was eventually given a seat in the Lords.

We have a modern day scandal in the making as I write. According to the Institute for Government then the ‘purdah’ rules state that ‘During general or local election campaign there are restrictions in place on what the government can do – both in initiating policy and in using official resources. This is to avoid inappropriate use of official resources and to ensure the impartiality of the civil service, so that public money is not used to support the campaign of the ruling party’ But this principle has just been roundly violated by the present government. Yesterday, the day before the voting day in local elections, the Home Office saw fit to release a video (with a musical soundtrack to boot) indicating how asylum seekers were being chased across the country and then locked up, prior to their deportation. This was clearly designed to appeal to those who are supporters of present government policy towards asylum seekers and is as flagrant a violation of the rules concerning civil service impartiality as it is possible to find.

Tonight, some results from the day’s local elections may start to trickle through and, as an election junkie, this gives me a certain dilemma. I think I will stay up until midnight to see the lie of the land and possibly some exit polls and then head for my bed unless anything really exciting starts to ensue.