Sunday, 27th June, 2021

[Day 468]

Today being a Sunday, I got into my usual routine of walking down early for the newspapers which promised to be a particularly good read this Sunday, after the resignation of Matt Hancock (the Health Secretary). As usual, I treated myself to a selection of Bach on my little iPhone player and it was particularly gratifying to hear again this morning the organ cantata ‘Wachet Auf‘ (Sleepers awake) which I think used to accompany a Lloyds Bank advert years ago. This was the aria that was played as Meg walked down the aisle of the church (or more technically, the knave) on our wedding day. Later on my little morning ‘concert’ I got the Bach ‘Toccata and Fugue ‘ which of, course, is a glorious and riotous expression of joy which is, of course, why Meg and I chose it to walk down through the church all those years ago (1967 to be accurate). On my way down into town this morning, the only thing that I really noticed were the bikers (i.e. motorcyclists) who often seem to come out in force on a Sunday morning. When I did spent my few weeks in Jakarta (Indonesia) whilst working on the De Montfort University MBA program, I was always amazed to see that on a Sunday morning the streets were often bereft of cars but in their stead one got swarms of cyclists (well, they seem to number anything from 20-50). Then it was home to watch the Andrew Marr Show as per normal but given the gravity of yesterday’s resignation, I felt they ought to have a much more in depth examination of the rampant hypocrisy which led to the resignation of the Health Secretary yesterday. Instead, we had a Tory Minister, Brandon Lewis, who seemed to be defending Boris Johnson for not sacking Matt Hancock immediately. The general type of argument I have heard is something along the lines of ‘Well, because Boris Johnson has hardly lived the life of a monk, has had a plethora of relationships and will not even admit to the number of children he has actually fathered‘ then this might help to explain why Boris Johnson has not received much more explicit criticism himself. The extraordinary aspect of this whole affair hads been the way in the infamouus ‘passionate clinch’ was captured on a camera, apparently installed (and disguised) with a smoke detector. Two questions stand out. First of all, who installed the device? Was it MI5, MI6, The Chinese or who? The of course the video clip had to be transmitted to someone and released to all of the media. Is it normal for all minster’s offices to be bugged in this way? Whether we shall ever know any of the answers to these questions is a moot point.

In the park, we were delighted to be joined by our University of Birmingham friend who we have not seen for days- we exchanged some texts and telephone calls to make sure we actually coincided this morning. Meg started to feel a little wobbly even whilst we were sitting on the park bench so my friend and I walked Meg home slowly between us to make sure she didn’t do a sudden collapse on us. Once we got her walking, she seemed to recover some of her composure but her balance mechanisms are not very good these days. We used to joke that Meg’s mother was probably a mass murderer because she used to stagger and knock people over (once in a shop in Wigston, Leicestershire and one in the residential home in which she eventually lived). We suspect that either one or both of the people sent flying may well have suffered broken hips or other life-threatening consequences as a result of being sent flying. Of course, we shall never know for certain.

This afternoon, we watched Holland v. Czech Republic, in which the Dutch were beaten 2-0 (probably quite deservedly) Tonight is going to be a clash of the titans as Belgium take on Portugal and th rest of this is completely too close to call.

An interesting little story tonight on Sky News is a report on the numbers of police officers who have broken the COVID lockdown rules but not been sanctioned. At least 167 officers were found to have breached coronavirus restrictions since March 2020 – but the actual number is likely to be much higher as nearly half of UK police forces failed to say how many had flouted the measures . This raises the old question ‘Quis custodet custodes‘ or ‘Who guards the guards?’ and no doubt adds to the general air of cynicism when the vast majority of the population agree to abide by the rules but they are flouted by those in authority. What is a little under-reported, I feel (and for good reason) are the numbers attending the demonstrations in London. One in the last few days attracted several thousands of protestors, some of whom threw tennis balls with messages written on them into the garden of 10 Downing Street (apparently)