Wednesday, 19th January, 2022

[Day 674]

Today seemed quite a gloomy day and because of the political news likely to emerge during the day, we decided to re-orient our routine somewhat. In particular, as today is a Wednesday there will be a session of PMQ (Prime Minister’s Questions) at 12.00pm. So I decided to walk down to the paper shop on my own (which I did). When I was on the point of setting off, a shower was passing overhead which necessitated the use of a waterproof. Having collected my newspaper and some comestibles from Waitrose, the sky cleared somewhat and it was quite a fine day. I got back and consumed my elevenses in plenty of time to observe PMQ which always starts promptly at 12 noon. I think today’s PMQ was very much anticipated because Sky’s Beth Rigby performed a complete evisceration of Boris Johnson yesterday and many commentators observed that Boris Johnson in his body language looked a completely broken figure. Just before noon, though, there was news of a direct defection from Conservative to Labour, by the MP Christian Wakeford, the MP for Bury South. If my researches are correct, the last time there was a direct defection from Tory to Labour was in 2007 which is 14-15 years ago. This was announced just before PMQ and the MP was in his place on the Labour benches. Keir Starmer put in an impressive performance, poking fun at the Prime Minister’s constant change of story regarding the ‘parties’ in Downing Street and in particular the latest excuse which was ‘nobody told me this was against the rules’ Boris Johnson, though, seemed to have regained some of his usual composure and blustering style since yesterday and put in a typical bravura performance in which none of the questions asked was even remotely answered and the focus of the reply was to praise the Conservative party’s record in rolling out the vaccines and to denigrate any of the positions taken by the Labour Party. This more typical performance by Boris Johnson might buy him a few days respite until, of course, the Gray report is published, perhaps at the end of next week. Right at end of the PMQ, though, David Davis (an ex-Brexit minister) invoked a past parliamentary attack on Neville Chamberlain with the imprecation‘You have sat there too long for all the good you’ve done. In the name of God, go.’ However, the first person to have uttered these words was Oliver Cromwell addressing the Long Parliament in 1653 and the exact words used were ‘You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God go.' I think it is too early to assess the impact of David Davis’s call for a resignation but Boris Johnson’s reaction was to reply that he did not understand what David Davis was saying. Earlier in the day (well, in the middle of last night, actually) I saw a most incredible ‘spoof’ video in which Boris Johnson was interviewed by the Line of Duty (television series) team. This has apparently ‘gone viral’ as they say and Boris Johnson’s own words were interpolated with questions from the Line of Duty officers. Some wags have pointed out that whilst the Met have not and will not interview Boris Johnson, at least he has been interviewed by some police officers (albeit fictional ones)

The other political news today is the announcement of the end of Plan B restrictions by Sajid Javid. Whilst it is true to say that the Omicron variant of the pandemic seems to be past its peak, I suspect there is a danger that we are relaxing too soon. There is always the impression that this announcement (on the end of Plan B) has been advanced by several days to help Boris Johnson out of his current difficulties. When a Prime Minister has his back against the wall, there is no lengths to which he/she will go, even though the the country as a whole may the loser. If a successor to Omicron rears its ugly head, without more vaccines and lockdowns, what strategies are we going to deply as a country to cope with a newly emerging threat?

The latest episode in the saga of the attempt to satisfy the safeguarding procedures of the bank which looks after our residents’ association bak account continues apace. Today, I managed to wait for only about three minutes (the maximum has been 50) and sailed through the security procedures – at which I have been denied access before. Then I was asked some bizarre questions such as had I or any members of my fanily been part of a UK diplomatic mission. When asked for proof of my address, I pointed out that I had previously shown ny driving licence in branch, which satisfied them. Then they gave me a code to update the safeguarding form – but it didn’t work. The voice at the other end said they would process the form for me – all I have to do is to wait for email – in 5-10 working days! We shall see…