Friday, 18th June, 2021

[Day 459]

Today was one of those days that I describe as ‘chewy’ i.e. we felt a bit out of sorts with the world. Matters were not helped when Meg woke up this morning with a very bad neck – it might have been that she had slept in a somewhat awkward position but from the word go her neck has been troubling her. More of this later. Our domestic help texted as she was without a car today so after breakfast I had a quick shower and went to pick up by car (never a chore!) She was chattering excitedly about her job as an activities assistant in a residential home and from what she tells me about it I am sure she will prove to be excellent and a real asset to the home. Having got her into the house and had our normal chat, Meg and I decided to go down into car as it was drizzling quite heavily – and it has been all day. I am sure that the gardens need all of this rain and we are not massively disappointed but it does come as a bit of a shock over the last few days. Having picked up our newspapers, Meg and I went to reestablish our customary relationships with the Waitrose cafe – but we have to say it was incredibly quiet and I hope that trade picks up or the powers that be may decide to devote the floor space to something else, which would be a great shame. After we had had our comestibles, we decided to go to the park to see if anyone we knew was foolhardy enough to be taking a turn in the park. We parked in the car-park and did a circular tour (in the rain) to give us ourselves a breath of fresh air as much as anything. The park was practically deserted and, needless to say, we met none of the usual crowd so we made for home. Then I cooked lunch for Meg and I but she was quite a bit of distress with her neck. So we got prepared by downing some paracetamol and organising some heat in our living room, the electric blanket bing switched on in the bedroom, a specialised ‘neck warmer’ warmed up in the microwave and finally a tube of ibuprofen gel that had been presided for my ‘trigger finger’ but which could be pressed into service. Meg had a good sleep in the early part of the afternoon so a lot of our remedies did not need to be used but we might have try some of these if things do not improve.

The political news is interesting this evening as overnight and, almost out of the blue, the Liberal Democrats have scored a stunning victory in a true-blue Tory seat of Chesham and Amersham, replacing a Tory majority of 16,000 with a Liberal Democrat of 8,000. Of course, it is often said that people vote differently in bye-elections compared with the General Election i.e. prepared to cock-a-snook at the government in a bye-election but returning to the file at the time of the next General Election. There two particular factors that riles the good voters of Chesham with Amersham. Probably the most significant is the whole issue of HS2 which, as they see it, destroys some of the beautiful countryside surrounding them (and not benefitting them but only people from the Midlands the North with whom they share no fellow feeling!) A second factor about which the Tories have been repeatedly warned is the provision new housing. The Tory Party needs people who are house owners (they feel) before people vote Conservative but this is difficult when prices are so unaffordable so the solution is to build a lot more houses- but where? The present government policy is to encourage housebuilders to build houses almost wherever they want to but this means that the Tories who are sitting in good housing in beautiful countryside do not want this ‘ruining’ by lots of new housing all over the place, even including areas that were formerly protected by the so-called ‘Green Belt’ Yet a third factor is that fact that the voters felt they were ‘taken for granted’ as the Tories poured resources,and promises of investment, into the former Labour-held ‘red wall’ seats in the Midlands and the North. But of course, the feelings in the minds of suburban Tory voters, is that ‘more money for them means less money for us‘ and Tories in the South have never shown themselves to be over-keen to share their own good fortune with less fortunate areas. Yet a further factor is that the more educated the population, the less likely they are to have voted Brexit or even regarded it as a good idea. Boris Johnson himself, on the quiet, is not well regarded by well educated (and well-heeled) Tory voters. So this while cluster of factors have come together in a perfect storm to help the Liberal Democrats to claim a famous bye-election victory.