Sunday, 27th December, 2020

[Day 286]

After the details of the EU-UK trade agreement had been published, I read that the EHIC card would be honoured as long as it was current but then was due to be replaced (details not yet worked out) So I went to look at our EHIC cards to ascertain when they were to expire only to discover that they had actually expired last September. By rather indirect means, I got onto the website that issues new EHIC cards and put in an application for Meg and myself – they may last as long as 5 years and, of course, are provided free of charge by the government. The issuing authority may take the view that if an application has been made before the deadline of 31st December 2020 and although it indicates that the application may take 10 days for the cards to be delivered, then we might prove lucky and get new ones. On the other hand, the government could take the view that any unfilled order by 1st January 2021 is void and refuse to fulfil our order. Having said that, I suspect the latter but we will have to wait and see. I went down to collect our newspapers by car to get back in time for the Andrew Marr show at 9 am only to find that the show was not on this morning.

After breakfast, we went on our normal walk to the park where it was quite busy with children and dogs as you might expect.On the way back we met with both of our sets of friends. One of the couples informed us that their son and daughter-in-law (I think I have this the right way round) has tested positive for COVID-19, as well as their two next-door neighbours so we really do get the impression that the virus is ‘moving ever closer’ Tomorrow morning, Meg and I may well to go down to the newly opened test centre and see if we can get an ‘on-the-spot’ test. In the meantime, we are determined to be very watchful in the next few weeks until we ourselves get vaccinated, perhaps towards the end of February. The local Arts Centre has also been converted into a vaccination centre so we are just waiting for our number to be called which, of course, will reflect the priorities by age-group ( I am in the 3rd category down according to the published criteria)

This afternoon, I had intended to spend some time betting more supplied of damson gin. I attempted to contact our close friends in Spain as I have done for the last day or so but to no avail. Then we received a telephone call from one of the nieces in Harrogate, N. Yorkshire, where we exchanged a lot of information about COVID-19 and how it was impinging upon various members of the family in Yorkshire. We are resolved to have some kind of ‘open house’ party in the Spring-Summer when the grip of the virus has lessened so that we can see the newest member of the family (now about 15 months old) as well as other family members.

As might be expected, a lot of attention is being paid to how EU-UK trade agreement was arrived at and what compromises had to be made and by whom. I m not sure whether the journalists had access to the full 1,426-page document before they began their analysis. The consensus view that has emerged so far is that we have a deal but an incredibly ‘thin’ deal (e.g. no services are included) which is near to a ‘no deal’ Brexit as it is possible to get. Many of our legislators are going to try and examine the deal in great detail before the one day debate next Wednesday and it seems very likely that, just like a Budget, that which seems OK at first sight, all kinds of little ‘nasties’ will emerge in the fullness of time. The New York Times has published a very good and objective analysis under the title ‘Brexit Deal Done, Britain Now Scrambles to see How it Will Work’ and their conclusion, at the end of the day, is given by the analyst called Kibasi who has concluded that ‘But the way it’ll play out is by damaging investment in the UK, so it’s a slow puncture, not a quick crash‘ Of course, to the ardent Brexiteers, the deal was never actually going to be about trade ‘per se’ because all they ever wanted was a dis-entanglement from the EU in order to regain ‘sovereignty’ whatever the economic cost to the nation.