Sunday, 21st August, 2022

[Day 888]

Today was not quite our normal Sunday routine as my normal newsagent is still on holiday in Vienna until Tuesday. So Meg and I had a ‘normal’ Sunday morning breakfast and then set out for Asda so that I could obtain a copy of the Sunday Times and one or two other bits and pieces of things that I know I can only buy in Asda. Well, Sod’s Law kicked in and the only newspaper of which they were sold out was the Sunday Times so whilst we were in the car we made for a local garage. Here we were at last successful in getting the last copy of the Sunday Times that they had and so we made for the park. It was quite a pleasant day today and sitting waiting for us on our usual bench we met up with Seasoned World Traveller. Somehow we got onto Hippocrates theory of personality and although Hippocrates is generally known in the West as the ‘father of modern medicine’ (and hence the Hippocratic oath – ‘do no harm’) his theory of personality found expression in the Middle Ages as the various ‘humours’ in the human body. Whilst our level of knowledge has moved on and we no longer believe in the predominance of ‘humours’ the theory of Hippocrates is not without modern interest. This is because it was claimed to be based upon a lifetime’s observations of people i,.e. not theorising purely as a cerebral exercise and also modern psychologists have come up with schemas of personality types that are not a million miles away from the Hippocratic notions. We parted with a brief discussion of ‘Emotional intelligence’ (labelled EQ) to distinguish it from the generally accepted measure of intelligence or IQ (=intelligence quotient). When we got home, we had a Sunday lunch of cooked gammon, baked potato and mange tout, made a bit more enjoyable for us by not making a lunch that was too overwhelming. Like yesterday afternoon, we soon quite absorbed into some of the men’s gymnastics individual champioships for each individual piece of apparatus and the British team are so far doing their bit by bringing in a fair haul of medals. But tonight, on the athletics track, it is going to be the finals of a lot of track and field events including some of the relay races which are always incredibly exciting because all kinds of things can go wrong, not least in the handovers of the baton which can make or break a victory. The contest of the Tory party leadership trundles on, for an apparently ridiculous amount of time, as there is still a couple of weeks to go before the final result is announced. Even some Tory party ‘grandees’ are saying this is all a bit ridiculous as a couple of well publicised video debates followed by voting meant that the whole context could have been concluded with a week or so. I happened to hear at lunchtime (in the Radio 4 ‘World at One’) a bit of ‘vox pop’ from a conservative association in I think Sussex. Airtime was given to one view by an elderly white female that they were voting for Liz Truss because she wanted to have a tax cut (most economists conclude this is ridiculous when inflation is over 10%), that Liz Truss would cut a lot of bureaucracy out of the NHS (the NHS is actually one of the most under-managed of all western healthcare systems) and that the civil service needed slimming down (was she not aware of the staff cuts and restrictions on salary that the public sector have experienced, with public sctor pay rises lagging well behind the private sector as of now) Of course, all of these opinions could have been taken straight out of the columns of the Daily Mail (about which the best that can said is they are ‘evidence light’ but ‘prejudice heavy’) The thought that the next Prime Minister of the country is being chosen for us by people as uninformed as this is truly depressing. The interesting thing about the Liz Truss campaign is that in the early stages and until very recently, she has campaigning on a slogan of ‘no handouts’ However, the fact that three out of four Tory voters support the Starmer policy of keeping the cap on energy prices in October not to mention that this is a very popular policy in the country as a whole means, that Liz Truss is already starting to hint that some extra support ‘might be available’ In the meantime, there are a team of officials and ministers-in-waiting busy assembling a package of measures for any ‘incoming Prime Minister’. So we may shortly have the spectacle of a Toy politician elected on a policy of no handouts which is abandoned within minutes or hours of being elected when the reality principle kicks in (quite neatly expressed by the Americanism ‘when the rubber hits the road’)