Sunday, 18th April, 2021

[Day 398]

Today being a Sunday, I walk down to the newsagents on my own first thing in the morning, treating myself to a little concert of my trusty old iPhone as I go. Then it’s a case of having some breakfast on our knees whilst we watch the Andrew Marr (politics) show at 9.00am. At least we seem to have the overkill coverage of the royal funeral out of our system and, perhaps, nowadays we are starting to see the resumption of ‘normal’ news items and political discourse. Meg and I enjoyed a pleasant walk down to the park this morning where, after a little wait, we made our contact with some of our regular friends and we chatted about what we are all going to do in the week ahead. Compared with past weeks, this is going to quite a busy week for Meg and I but, no doubt, we will treat each day as it comes. On returning home, there was a Sunday lunch to prepare and although we had some beef cooking in our slow cooker, there always seems quite a lot to prepare such as onion gravy as well as the heavy cooking vessel to clean out. Eventually all was done and we started to look forward to a lazy afternoon, reading the Sunday newspapers which, as you might expect, were quite full of details and analysis of the funeral of Prince Philip in St. Georges’s Chapel, Windsor, yesterday afternoon. In the eary part of the afternoon, my daughter-in-law was busy planting out some seeds and, in particular, some sunflower seeds on the one hand and sweet peas on the other. Sometimes, these get sown a little too late but we trust with the fine spell of weather we have just had, the timing is just about right. However, I think we are all starting to feel the absence of a proper rain-shower by now. It seems to be weeks now since we have had a really proper downpour and the gardens, whilst looking very colourful at the moment, are surely in a state when a sky-full of rain would be appreciated. Tomorrow our gardeners who come about once a month are coming by for a special attack on a large privet hedge we have surrounding our BioDisk. This has grown enormous over the years and its width as well as its height is making it difficult for us to keep it under control.So we are going to reduce its height and girth by about between a third or a half and I am sure that were will be quite a volume of material to dispose of. We are resigned to the fact that our hedge might look pretty ravaged for a while but then we can rely upon some new growth to give us a green top once again.

There is a news story on the Sky news channel tonight which indicates that we may be on the brink of a European super league in football. This would ‘cream off’ the biggest and the most successful football clubs but it is said that it would have a ‘seismic’ effect upon the rest of the game. It means that our national leagues would be decimated and the whole financial edifice of football thrown into disarray. Wether is is going to happen or not and whether it would have the dire consequences proposed is a moot point. But I suppose one can be pretty certain that if the money, players, TV rights and the rest of the footballing paraphernalia is siphoned off to follow a ‘super league’ then this is going to have a massively destabilising effect on the rest of the game.

The ‘Greensill’ scandal as I suppose we now have to learn to call it continues to evolve. Perhaps the root cause of all of this was when governments did not trust the impartiality of the civil service any more when they their favoured policies were found to be over ideological and/or impractical. There was then a move to make sure that senior civil servants could be ‘seconded’ to private industry (presumably follows the mantra ‘public sector bad, private sector good‘) in order to better ‘appreciate’ the world view of those in private industry. This has led to a revolving door between the civil service and private industry (senior civil servants retiring and immediately taking up lucrative jobs in the sectors they were meant to be regulating whilst senior figures in the private sector are jetted into positions of responsibility within Whitehall) The culmination of this was the revelation tat the senior civil servant in charge of the Government procurement programmes, presumably with a budget of billions of pounds, was simultaneously allowed to held a position in a private firm whilst also being still within the civil service. Perhaps it is not at all surprising that words like ‘sleaze’, and ‘cronyism’ are increasingly bandied about but the Main Street Media does not seem too concerned about it (assuming that politicians of both major political parties are equally culpable) and this only lowers the confidence of the general public with the body politic even further.