Saturday, 5th February, 2022

[Day 691]

Today was a fairly conventional Saturday morning but with the prospect of the ‘Six Nations’ rugby matches on the TV this afternoon and again this evening as we watch the England-Scotland match on ‘catchup’. I had a certain amount of shopping to do this morning so I took the car down into town to do my little bits of food shopping at Waitrose before collecting the newspaper and heading for home. It was a fairly fine morning with a bit of chill in the air but not the icy blast that greeted us yesterday in the park. So we set off, complete with our flask of coffee and comestibles (biscuits for Meg, oranges for me) before we bumped into two of our more elderly Irish friends who has just returned from holiday in Tenerife. By all accounts, they had had a lovely sunny time and were now back to the cold of an English winter. As we were finishing our coffee, then our companion Seasoned World Traveller came to join us and we had another of our interesting chats, on issues medical, political and cultural. We none of us wanted to stay chatting for too long because the cold does tend to strike at your bones a little which is not the case when you are walking along, even at a gentle pace. Then we walked home knowing that we would have to crack on and prepare a lunch fairly rapidly so that we could sit down and watch the first of our scheduled 6-Nations rugby (Wales v. Ireland) We then go to church leaving the house at 5.30 so will watch the Scotland-England match on catch-up when we return.

Through the ‘ether’, as it were, I have been sort of following what Nadine Dorries has been saying recently – she is the Minister of the Departmentment of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and as such is the minister who may have the ultimate decision on the future of the BBC as well as being responsible for publishing and piloting the ‘Online Safety’ bill through Parliament. This latter is important as it is the first attempt of the UK Parliament to attempt any kind of regulation over social media and the tech giants that have come to dominate our lives in recent years. What makes Nadine Dorries a particularly interesting figure is that she appears to absolutely idolise Boris Johnson – indeed, there are several images that have been captured of her in Parliament looking adoringly at Boris Johnson whenever (and whatever) he declaims from the dispatch box. There are two particular video clips which have seen the light of day, both of which have, I believe, had the label of ‘Car Crash’ attached to them. The first of these is Dorries appearing before the DCMS committee in which she was challenged to explain why she has used the obscenity ‘F***wit’ about another TV presenter. At first she denied this, then claimed that she had been victimised and was actually the object of online abuse herself before she finally admitted it and then changed the subject. The impression she did (not) make on the members of the DCMS committee can only be imagined. The second clip is of Dorries trying to defend Boris Johnson making a slanderous allegation against Keir Starmer – known to everybody (and even Boris Johnson himself) as being untrue. Eventually she is led to look the interviewer in the face and to declaim ‘Boris Johnson always tells the truth’ This is so manifestly untrue and known to everybody in political circles that the interviewer was left open-mouthed at her adoring loyalty. The latest manifestation of all this is her claim that 97% MPs support Boris which given the known schisms within the present Tory party seems a ridiculous claim to make. A final suggestion that is made is that most of the opposition to Johnson comes from ‘Remain’ voters who are trying to get back at the PM to get their revenge for Brexit having been implemented. However this is easily refuted: out of the 15 Tory MPs who have so far publicly called on Boris Johnson to go, just seven of those backed remaining in the EU in the 2016 referendum.

Having got back from church, I was looking forward to looking at the England v. Scotland Six nations match on iPlayer. Having got to the point where this can be viewed, all I get was a message that ‘England v Scotland is not available on iPlayer‘. Tomorrow night, it looks as though I can view one half of an hour of a summarised highlights programme. When I turn to the web, I cannot find an explanation why iPlayer does not make this match available. I realise that this is a rights issue but it would be nice if the potential viewer can be informed of the fact. But given that Scotland beat England in a tight match, perhaps I am not too interested in watching the match after all.