Monday, 3rd June, 2024

[Day 1540]

Today, Monday, the weather started off reasonably bright but it was to cloud over in the mid morning and we expected one of those rather gloomy,indeterminate sort of days. Immediately breakfast was over, I made a lightning trip down the road to get my copy of the newspaper and managed to get there and back within about 7-8 minutes which was practically a record. There was some forward planning in this strategy as once I had obtained a copy of the newspaper, I thought that Meg and I could make a trip to the park which shortens the journey down the hill and back again by about a third in each direction. So having prepared a flask of coffee and some biscuits, we set forth but by a happy chance, our Italian friend was out in her front garden as I was pushing Meg down the road. Although Meg in her wheelchair cannot be lifted over the threshold of her house, our friend brought out some chairs and a little table and we had a very enjoyable coffee and biscuits whilst catching up on the news. It seems incredible but it is now nine years since her husband died and those years seem to have absolutely flown by. So we spent a pleasant hour and then our friend was joined by her gentleman friend so we progressed a short distance back up the hill, only just getting back to the house some 3-4 minutes before the next scheduled visits of the carers. After the carers had made Meg comfortable, I then pressed ahead with making lunch for Meg and myself which consisted of searing some chicken thighs, cooking in the oven in a lasagne type sauce and serving with a baked potato and broccoli. This morning, I had tried to get through to the ‘Wheelchair, Posture and Mobility Service’ to investigate the possibilities of a wheelchair for Meg better suited to coping with the pretty terrible pavements that I have to contend with when I take Meg out for trips. This particular service requires a reference from one’s GP and I had requested some thirteen days ago that such a reference be made. However, when my telephone message from earlier this morning was returned, it was evident that the GP had not made any such referral. So the Wheelchair service suggested that I make contact with the GP (or as they quaintly said, the GP’s secretary) so I got onto the GP practice this afternoon. The admin staff at the other end requested that I supply them with the web addresses that they should contact at which I ‘blew my lid’ explaining to them that it was their responsibility to make an onward reference, they ought to be in possession of the relevant forms and it was not for me as the carer of a patient to be supplying them with contact information which it was their responsibility. They mentioned something about requesting further information from me in a text message which I do not recall having received. As I know from the days when I use to teach ‘Quality Management’, wherever there are failures in service delivery it is nearly always the case when services have to interact with other that problems occur. In other and slightly more academic terms, it is nearly always the interface between services when quality failings are manifest. Such was the case in my dealings with aspect of the health and welfare services as I have detailed above.

A fascinating political development has surfaced this afternoon. Nigel Farage, an honorary president of the ‘Reform’ party (previously ‘Brexit’ and previously ‘UKIP’) had previously announced his intention not to stand for Parliament again (what may be a seventh or even an eighth occasion) and was going to act as a roving agent to help Reform candidates who are putting forward candidates, so they say, in practically every constituency in the country. But Farage has now decided to put himself forward as a candidate for Clackton sometimes known as ‘Brexit-on-sea’ Whether this is the result of private polling which indicates a likely win or whether there is another strategy at work may get revealed in the days ahead. But the intention of the Reform party is to try their hardest to break the present Conservative party and try to ensure that whilst they themselves might not gain any seats, that they draw sufficient votes away from the Conservative vote to ensure that they lose the seat. The intention then is to effect a radical transformation of the Right in this country and for ‘Reform’ to practically take over the present Tory party. Another part of this strategy is to press with other smaller parties (Greens and so on) for a form of proportional representation which is the only way that Reform could ever actually get into government in any shape or form. In case this sounds utterly fantastical, Farage is making common cause with Trump and in the US, the Trump movement have completely taken over the Republican party which helps to explain why Trump will almost gain the Republication party nomination for president. So if Farage manages to emulate what Trump has achieved on he other side of the pond, then perhaps the Reform strategy is not as far fetched as it sounds. One wonders as well, what the impact of AI, fake news and the social media might be on the fortunes of the Reform party. At the moment, Reform are, I believe, ahead of the Liberal Democrats in the polls. An important poll is to be published on Sky News in the late afternoon and this indicates that projects a Tory wipeout in large parts of the country, a Lib Dem surge and the Scottish National Party losing over half its seats in Scotland, if the election were being held right now. The poll has Labour on 422 seats, up 221 compared to the 2019 results based on new constituency boundaries. This is the highest number of Labour seats on record, and a much bigger majority than anything else since the Second World War.