Today being a Tuesday is the day when we both meet with our ‘pre-pandemic’ crowd in the Waitrose cafe and also the day, later on, when I have my weekly Pilates session. Knowing that however fine the weather, we were still going to go down by car we did not rush unduly to get going this morning but we did take the opportunity to write an email to our friends in Scarborough to enquire whether we could put some arrangements in place to meet later on in August. Then we went down into town to collect our newspaper and arrive in the cafe at at about 10.30. There, almost on cue, we met with three of our regular Waitrose friends and also Seasoned World Traveller who we now often meet in the cafe on Tuesday. We had a particularly jolly morning this morning with another round of story telling and general good humour before we all went our separate ways. On Tuesdays, I take the opportunity to buy one or two things of which we are running short before we returned home and I got ready to go down for my Pilates class. I returned a telephone call to one of my Oxfordshire friends to arrange a luncheon date some time in early August. We have both been busy in the last week, he with his daughter getting married in a marquee in the garden last Saturday and myself with our well documented comms difficulties.
After lunch which is always a bit delayed on Tuesdays, we had a restful afternoon whilst observing, open-mouthed, the wriggling and squirming that is going in No. 10 at the heart of our government today. Things did not start well for the government this morning as Lord MacDonald, the previous senior mandarin at the Foreign Office revealed that the Prime Minister had been briefed in person of the fact that Chris Pincher had been warned about his activities (probably his groping tendencies) and he had not been exonerated. This put 10 Downing Street into a quandary as ministers had hit the airwaves in the last day or so having been informed (wrongly) that no specific allegations against Chris Pincher had been made. A Cabinet Office minister was then despatched to the House of Common to admit that Boris Johnson had been informed but that he could not ‘immediately recall this’. The Tory benches in the House of Commons were practically empty to receive this news but on the Labour benches, the news that the Prime Minister had had a convenient lapse of memory met with laughter from some, gasps of disbelief from others. In all of the years that I have been following politics, I cannot remember an excuse as lame as the equivalent of ‘the dog ate my homework’ Because of all of this, I wonder what other developments may occur this evening as several Cabinet Ministers are unhappy in the extreme that some of them have been sent onto the airwaves to in effect lie for the government. The backbenchers are similarly unhappy and one suggestion that has emerged is that Tory MPs may well go ‘on strike’ i.e. refuse to turn up to vote through legislation, effectively making the business of government grind to a halt. So I am looking forward in particular to ‘Newsnight’ this evening as well as Channel 4 news that are both likely to be quite forensic in their examination of how the No. 10 machine is operating (or rather not operating) Tomorrow is going to be Prime Ministers Question time at 12.00, followed I believe, quite by coincidence, to a session where the Prime Minister submits itself to an examination of the government’s progress by senior MPs (a liaison committee which I think is composed of the chairpersons of Parliament’s Select Committees) So I think that Boris Johnson’s lapse of memory is going to come under the most intense examination, if not direct scorn, with members of the House of Commons.
Sporting events, and Wimbledon in particular, are dominating the airwaves for the next few days but toniht Meg and I are going to enjoy ‘Today at the Test’ in which we can see the summary of one of the greatest run chases in Test Match history, in which England chased down an incredibly large total (of about 380 odd runs) to win the test match, and the series, against India who are one of the finest teams in the world. We have had a dramatic end to the day today. Boris Johnson gave an interview apologising for the fact that Chris Pincher had ever been ppointed and almost implying he should have been sacked on the spot. At the conclusuon of the interview, Sajiv Javid (Health Secretary) and Rishi Sunak (Chancellor) have both resigned and at two least junior ministers have resigned as well. The big question is how many more ministers will follow the two resignations from the Cabinet tonight although a few Cabinet members have sworm undying loyalty (although their days as Cabinet Ministers must be numbered) By the time we go to bed tonight at 10.00pm there may be even more resignations.