Today turned out to be one those frustrating days which will be familiar to most of us. In getting my broadband upgraded to ‘Super Fast Fibre’ for the same price that I am paying at the moment, BT OpenReach came to survey the roadways from our property to the BT junction box near the distributor road which our own (private) residential road joins. The OpenReach team had found a problem which was not uncommon that they could pass a cable so far and no further so they reckoned that their ducting near to a neighbour’s fence was blocked. The BT staff reckoned that this was happening all the time and was quite a common problem. When a concrete fence post is driven in, then the BT ducting is often damaged and when concrete is poured in for the fence post, some enters the ducting, solidifies and a blockage ensues. BT sent out a civil engineering team some days later and they managed to clear the blockages and put a piece of rope through the ducting all the way from the BT junction area to the access point at the side of my house. Today, we were expecting an OpenSource engineer to call and install the fibre optic cable into the house attaching to a new router in the process. According to our calendar, we were expecting the engineer at any time betweem 8.00am and 1.00am but as nobody had turned up by about 11.00am, I started to get suspicious. So I phoned up my internet supplier who could find no record of today as an installation date even though I had been told of today’s date over the phone and had written it onto my calendar. After hurried consultations a date in about 9 days time was specified as the ‘correct’ date so we will just have to sit tight until that happens. I am sure I am not the first person, or the last, to have waited in all morning for somebody not to turn up. I had made the best of a bad job by getting my accounts up-to-date and ordering a big new ledger book for myself as my existing one is practically full. When I knew that no one was now calling at the house, I made a quick visit into town by car and picked up the newspaper and then into Waitrose for some vital things (such as milk) of which we had completely run out. This afternoon, the weather was set fair so I toddled around the garden getting some things tidied up before our visitor stays with us for a few days arriving on Wednesday.
Another Boris scandal is in the offing today. Downing Street has confirmed it was in conversation with The Times around the time the newspaper dropped a report claiming Boris Johnson tried to appoint his now wife to a government role when he was foreign secretary. In a story published in the first edition on Friday night, the paper reported that Mr Johnson attempted to hire Carrie Johnson, then Carrie Symonds, as his chief of staff at the Foreign Office in 2018. But after a telephone call to The Times, it appears that the story was pulled. So it seems that Boris Johnson when he was foreign secretary attempted to have his then girlfriend made into his own ‘Chief of Staff’ which does reek of nepotism. It is reported that the post would have attracted a salary of £100,000 but Boris Johnson was given advice to the effect that this kind of appoitment should not go ahead. To compound this story, than any adverse criticism of this manouvre was then stifled by getting the story pulled from ‘The Times‘. I suppose these dodgy dealings are par from the course and may be common place in the vista of politics today but it does make the action of government ministers appear decidedly sleazy if not outright corrupt.
The media this evening is full of the speculation that after the RMT strike actions later on this week, there is quite a large queue of public seector workers who will also shortly be pressing claims for substantial pay increases. At the moment, the list included teachers, nurses and other NHS staff. In case this sounds like a uniquely UK problem, nothing could be further from the truth. In Eire and many other EU countries, public sector workers who have had their wages held down throughout the days of the pandemic and are now faced with rising rates of inflation which means that their real wages are, in effect, being cut and they are on the march. There is some talk of conditions approaching a general strike but certainly the discontent is very widespread.
If you thought that Brish politics was fractured, then it is even more so the case in France. In the French Parliamentary elections, Macron needed to to get 289 votes for a majority but only secured 245. A coalition on the left secured 131 votes whilst the combined right is 89. In other words, Macron has almost as many deputies ranged against him as his own deputies but that they are split between left and right who will not collaborate. So France will be entering a very unstable period for the months ahead.