Sunday, 7th August, 2022

[Day 874]

Another fine day dawned with the promise of a sunny day ahead. Being a Sunday, I walked down to get the newspaper first thing in the morning and the only people on the road at this time are joggers and dog-walkers. Meg and I breakfasted watching a bit of Sunday morning TV – normally, it would have been a politics programme but they are all off having their summer break at the moment. Meg and I took the car down to the park where we encountered Seasoned World Traveller as we have expected that we might. After a while, some other park acquaintances turned up, a couple who we had not seen for a couple of weeks but they like a lot of the nation had been taking some holiday (in England) and taking the opportunity to meet with relatives as well. As well as the congestion at the airports, the Mediterranean style of weather we are enjoying at the moment lessens the incentive to go off to foreign climes in search of the sun. We had a Sunday lunch of a ham joint which, these days, we tend to cook and then save half for another week to ensure that our consumption of red meat is kept within reasonable bounds. After lunch, we indulged in a lazy afternoon reading the Sunday newspaper whilst keep an eye open on the film of ‘Around the World in 80 days’ which is one of those spectaculars where you can watch the more interesting bits if you want to and ignore some of the rest. In the Commonwealth games, we watched the end of the men’s cycling road race, some boxing finals and finally some diving. The athletics finals tend to be broadcast in the evenings and this is a bit more to our taste, particularly when there are relay races and the potential for things to go wrong disastrously if the baton changes are anything less than perfect.

As one might expect, there is quite a sustained analysis of the contest to be the next Conservative party leader and therefore, Prime Minister. Some analysts have attempted a more in depth analysis of why Liz Truss is enjoying her current 30 point lead over Rishi Sunak and is coming to conclusions which are not really earth shattering. The ‘finding’ which some will find disturbing is that the actual policies and performances of the two candidates is relatively unimportant, whatever the rival camps might say. Much more significant is the appeal to the two ‘tribes’ within the modern Conservative party. Rishi Sunak enjoys a lead over the erstwhile ‘Remainers’ whilst Liz Truss has an overwhelming lead amomgs the ‘Leave’ group. As the latter group is so much larger than the former, this explains the huge lead that Liz Truss is enjoying. But there is a certain dramatic irony in all of this as Rishi Sunak has always been a ‘Leave’ campaigner whereas Liz Truss voted ‘Remain’ but very rapidly converted as soon as she saw which way the wind was blowing. One is tempted to remind oneself of the remark by Groucho Marx that ‘Those are my principles, and if you do not like them… well, I have others’. The other thing which is all too self evident is that many of the current crop of ambitious Conservative politicians have seen which way the wind is blowing and thrown in their support behind the likely winner (Liz Truss), evidently hoping for a ministerial job and all of the perks that follows. So we have seen many of the defeated candidates (Tugendhat, Mordant, Javid) all pledging their support for Truss despite having previously disagreed with many of her policies.

I rather like quotations, particularly political ones, and whilst they can sometimes be very trite, sometimes they do give pause for thought. Quite by accident, I came across this one recently which, whilst an oversimplication, is witty. The author was Desmond Tutu, the esteemed Soth African Archbishop: ‘When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land’. Tonight, after we had had some tea, I thoght I had better throw some water over some of our plants in pots. Some have suffered tremendously. in the extreme temperatures that we have been experiencing and the diffuclty is being able to discern whether a plant is now too far gone (and therefore not needing watering) and those that might survive from a good soaking. I shall just have to be empirical about this but when we are all trying conserve water in this drought I don’t wish to appear wasteful. Perhaps in future, all houses will be designed so that water that runs off a roof can be diverted into a waterbutt for gardening or for car washing which will be a minimal addition to the overall cost of a house after all.