Friday, 28th June, 2024

[Day 1565]

Today being a Friday, we had no particular commitments or engagements in mind. Last night, after Meg had been put to bed we decided to put our little TV into position so that Meg and I could both view the last ‘Question Time‘ before the election. To make myself comfortable, instead of sitting on the chair by Meg’s bedside, I lay on the ‘Z’ bed I have besides Meg’s bed but then I promptly fell asleep whilst Meg stayed awake for the whole of the broadcast which was not quite what I had either intended or desired. Then I was up in the middle of the night making Meg comfortable but at least we got off to a proper sleep by about 12.30 I think it was. This morning, our son called around and knew of my computer problems with the laptop in our Music Lounge. Instead of looking for a non-existent WiFi switch on the externals of the machine, he decided to go down a very different diagnostic route. By going through the Settings and then the Device Manager, he determined that the WiFi had been turned off for some obscure reason – but by turning it on, the whole laptop and the WiFi was made operative and thus was restored to rude health. After breakfast, I made a quick phone call to the Wheelchair service to check whether the model being delivered next Monday will be ‘fit for the purpose’ of conveying Meg over the bumpy pavements in our locality and received a rather ambiguous response so we shall just have to be patient and wait and see what turns up after the weekend. I sent a quick text to our University of Birmingham friend to ascertain whether we might meet for coffee this morning. We decided after a quick telephone call to meet in the park so I left a few minutes early to go down the hill in order to get supplied with our copy of the daily newspaper before we turned back up the hill to occupy our normal park bench before we had a rendez-vous with our friend. Although I had judged that Meg might be warm enough with a gilet to go down to the park, a cool wind got up in the middle of the morning and Meg was getting a little cold so I had to resolve to make sure that Meg always had enough warm clothing to cope with exigencies of this kind. When we returned home, I revived Meg with some chicken soup and the carers made their late morning call. Then I set about getting the lunch prepared which was a (bought) fish pie and some spring greens to accompany it. After lunch and having consulted the television schedules, I noticed that Lawrence of Arabia was being broadcast, seemingly for hours on end. The interesting thing about the film was there seemed to a shot of Lawrence on his camel in the desert after which I dozed for a few minutes but when I made myself fully conscious again, the film was still showing Lawrence on his camel in the desert – I have a shrewd suspicion that if I were to doze even more, the scene would be absolutely the same when I woke up.

All elections campaigns have their moments and one of them arose today. Without making a politically partisan point, I think that the government rather rushed through the election arrangements and had to abandon several important pieces of legislation (one of the most important measures to be lost was the loss of the bill to prevent no-fault evictions) This meant that all the political parties had to have a massive scramble to get all of their candidates in place to fight the forthcoming election. Given this mad rush, which was quite avoidable if the whole timing of the election had been handled in a more sensible way, then it was almost inevitable that some candidates would be selected without the necessary prior checking and therefore some manifestly unsuitable candidates would find their way through onto the party lists. This happened in both the Labour and the Tory party but in the case of the Reform (ex-UKIP) party with no proper party machinery in place then the selection of candidates was anything but thorough. Nigel Farage tried to claim that the firm hired to do the vetting of prospective parliamentary candidates had not done their job with due diligence but I am not sure that this explanation will really wash. So yesterday and today, we have a videoclip emerging that shows a Reform party activist suggesting that the British army be issued with rifles who could then use any incoming asylum seekers as ‘target practice’ whilst they were coming ashore. The same activist also used a vile racist slur aimed at the Indian parentage of the prime minister who has actually responded in the strongest terms. The prime minister said he hated repeating the bigoted insult directed at him by a supporter of Nigel Farage’s party, but said as a father of two daughters it was important to challenge ‘corrosive and divisive behaviour’. The comments were so evidently racist that the Essex police are now investigating the whole episode to see if a criminal offence has been committed. On the other side of the Atlantic, we have seen the first televised debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, called at Jo Biden’s request. Jo Biden apparently performed so disastrously in this televised debate that the Democrats are in absolute despair and are wondering whether it is possible, even at this very late stage, for Jo Biden to be persuaded to withdraw. Actually, neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump have been officially endorsed as their respective party candidates and so the Democrats are urgently considering the options that they have to make sure that Joe Biden does not actually become their candidate. Because of their party rules, it may be impossible to replace Joe Biden but one pollster has argued that the Democrats have five candidates each one of whom was capable to defeating Donald Trump. This particular story will certain run and run in the days ahead.