Wednesday, 3rd July, 2024

[Day 1570]

Today we woke up to a gloomy day, it having rained during the night which ought to please all of us gardeners. We knew we would have a rather truncated this morning as our hairdresser was due to call around mid morning so we did not have any concrete plans for the morning. Knowing that the hairdresser was scheduled to call around, we utilised one of those ‘dry’ hair washing products that you can utilise when a normal washing is difficult. After the hairdresser called, we had to come to an assessment whether this product had actually worked or not but were only about 50% satisfied with the result. So we resolved to consult with our band of care workers to see if a more normal wash is possible on the days when the hairdresser is scheduled to call. We watched the Politics Today programme on BBC2 where at least one senior Tory, Mel Stride, is conceding that the Tories have probably lost the election and the Tory party needs to reconcile itself to a period of time in opposition. If the Labour party wins by a landslide, which some polls are predicting, then it takes a landslide to get rid of a landslide so it may well be that The Labour party may be able to enjoy two terms in power (and therefore the Conservatives, the similar amount of time in opposition) As over the decades, the Tories have been so often the governing party and the Labour party in opposition, it is an interesting question how far the Tory party can be an effective opposition – it is a role that hardly any of the Tory MPs that remain will have experienced and I suspect that to be cut off from the levers of power and all of the perks that go with it, Opposition might prove to be psychologically very difficult for the modern Tory party. Of course, there will be a change of leader and it will be interesting to see how many of the ‘hard right’ and ‘red wall’ seats survive the election. As most of the more liberal Tories were thrown out of the party by Boris Johnson when they refused to toe the line over Brexit, then what ‘flavour’ of Tory MP remains after the election is a very open question. The care workers were scheduled for a late call tis morning, so Meg and I squeezed in a meal of quiche followed by delicious yogurt before the care workers made their mid-morning call. Then because of scheduling which is all a bit bizarre, they were due to call back within the hour which would have been ridiculous. So after the care workers phoned in to their base, this was re-timed for one hour later which is a bit better for us. Meg and I decided that we would go down into the park for a little afternoon breath of fresh air and so this we did, although at the hour that we went, the park was pretty deserted and we had a fairly quick trip, a drink of cordial and some crunchy bars and then made for home.

Of course, we are very much in ‘the day before voting’ mode all today and the party leaders traditionally call upon their core voters to turn out and vote as well as trying to persuade last minute undecideds. It has emerged this after that ‘The Sun‘ has come out to endorse Labour which is the first since since 2005 i.e. 19 years ago so this is a turn up for the book. Even the ‘Sunday Times‘ was forced to admit, grudgingly at the bottom of the third paragraph of their Leader, that the Labour party ‘deserves to be given its chance’ so this was their endorsement. An election I remember very vividly was the election of October, 1964 which Harold Wilson eventually won with a majority of three. As I was then the office junior and one of my duties was to distribute newspapers around the offices of the Reference Division of the Central Office of Information which was the ministry in which I then worked,I could glance at all of the newspaper headlines and I remember what ‘The Times‘ had to say after 14 years of continuous Tory rule. The feeling then was very much what is the feeling is now i.e. after 14 years it was time for a change. ‘The Times‘ opinion for that crucial election was that the ‘Labour Party’ might be ‘the better but the riskier choice’ Tomorrow, no doubt, I will be able to read what ‘The Times‘ thinks of a similar situation some sixty years later. As it happens, I remember Election Day which I think was on about October 3rd, 1964, very vividly. This is because I had just started work at the Central Office of Information in London a week or so earlier and I was working in the Reference Library (which today would be called the ‘Information Centre’) Our boss actually had a portable radio on a strategically placed desk and we were all theoretically at work but in practice we were avidly listening to the results as they rolled in from the Tory shires all on that Friday afternoon. Immediately after the election of the Labour government, there was immediate speculation against the pound and a massive flight of capital as the government and the Bank of England desperately tried to save the currency with the necessity to undertake a devaluation. I remember that every night as I walked to the Tube Stations the news placards would read ‘Fight to save the £ – Latest’ and they were tense days indeed. The final YouGov projection has just been published by Sky News with the news that the Labour party may have a majority of 212 seats and have the greatest proportion of seats since 1832! I think this is probably an overstatement of the actual result but as I write there are less than 29 hours to go before the exit poll is announced a few seconds after 10.00pm tomorrow night.