Tuesday is always the day of my Pilates class so this rather dictates how the morning will pan out. Meg and I have decided that whatever the weather, we will always pop down into Waitrose by car every Tuesday morning because this is the way in which we can bump into some of our pre-pandemic friends. We got down to Waitrose in plenty of time and, in truth, we were a little too early for some of our regulars. But by arriving early, we did make contact again wth a young mother who we used to see regularly in our our pre-Covid days. We have seen her once by accident in the past two years but as we used to chat about twice a week, this was one social contact that I have rather missed. The ‘baby’ she had more than two and a half years ago is now aged 3+ and consequently is at nursery school. Our friend is a teacher of politics and modern history in one of the local schools and in the past I have off-loaded a lot of my somewhat dated politics books onto her so that she could either use them herself, donate them to the school library or even let some deserving students have them if they would prove useful. Naturally, as this was the ‘morning after the night before’ we spent some time discussing last night’s vote on the leadership of the Tory party where the result was announced at about 9.00pm last night. More on this later, though. After we had been in the café for about an hour, we were joined by two of the friends that we were expecting to see in the café this morning. The four of us were soon joined by a mutual friend so we formed a jolly little table of five of the erstwhile regulars. Then Seasoned World Traveller hove into view so I split my time talking politics with him and more gentle banter with our friends on the other table.
Now for a discussion of last night’s vote. This needs to be contextualised in a way that is evading most of the commentary found on the media. When the vote was announced, it was evident that Boris Johnson was always going to win it but the margin of the scale of the rebellion against him was the subject of much speculation. Of the 359 Tory MPs, one has to be aware that some 160-170 of them are already on the government payroll. This means that if they voted against Johnson and were successful, they would be voting themselves out of a job. For this reason, we could anticipate that the vast majority of the ‘payroll’ vote would vote in favour of Johnson and their own jobs. Subtracting the ‘payroll’ faction from the electorate leaves about 199-200 ‘non-payroll’ MPs. The vote against Johnson was 148 votes which means that 3 out of even 4 ‘non-payroll’ MPs voted that they had no confidence in the PM. Although the MSM (Main Street Media) have not really undertaken this analysis, I was delighted to see that Channel 4 news were forcibly making this point and confronting a ‘Red Wall’ Tory MP with these unpalatable truths to which he had no reply or response. For this reason, most of the informed commentary who have worked out that Johnson received a lower proportion of supportive votes of either Teresa May or Margaret Thatcher and both of these resigned very shortly after a damaging vote although, like Boris Johnson, they had mathematically ‘won’ the vote. So a lot of the discussion today has been on the political rather than the mathematical implications of the vote. The conclusion is that the Tory party is very, very badly split at the moment and divided parties do not win general elections. Most of the opposition parties are silently rubbing their hands in glee, watching the Tories tear them themselves apart with ‘blue on blue’ personal attacks on each other already taking place.
My Pilates class took place as normal today. When I got home, I cooked a meal of smoked hake which we served on a bed of salad. The beauty of a meal like this, apart from its health-giving properties, is that it is incredibly quick and easy to prepare and with the minumum of washing up afterwards. In the middle of the day, I was delighted to get a phone call from one of my Hampshire friends. He had just returned from a business-cum-vacation trip to Portugal that sounded anything like restful. He had been delayed in the airport on the way out for five hours and then the hotel he was intending to stay in had an out-of-hours service by the time he arrived where the system seemed to fall over. So it seemed like quite a stressful time and makes me wonder whether things will have improved by September when we may (or may not) make a trip to Coruña in Northern Spain after an absence of some 2-3 years.