Today was going to be the crunch day for the election of a new party leader for the Conservative party but more of that later. It did not look as though there were any imminent showers forecast for the morning so after breakfast, we set off to collect our newspapers. Unfortunately, there was a sign on the newsagent’s window to indicate that he was closed for the moment to deal with a crisis of some sort so Meg and I went to the park and had our elevenses, admiring the beautiful autumn colours as we went. We always have a cloth buried deep within the rucksack to wipe the park bench clear of any rain water, after which we thought we would circulate back to the newsagent to see if he had opened by then. As it happened, it was but he was still unsupplied with newspapers as his distributor has once again let him down. It appears that a crucial employee has gone sick and that leaves all of the regular clients of local newsagents in the lurch. So we popped around to Waitrose where we knew that we could pick up our copy of The Times and took the opportunity to buy some extras. We got back home just after the Politics programme had started on BBC2 because it was interesting to see what Penny Mordaunt was going to do, now that Boris Johnson has withdrawn from the race. We knew that an announcement was to be made by the Chairman of the 1922 Committee at 2.00pm and at one minute before the appointed hour, it seemed that Penny Mordaunt had withdrawn, having failed to make the minimum of 100 nominations. What was interesting about all of this was that one of her most loyal supporters on the Politics programme was adamant that Penny Mordaunt had definitely reached the required minimum of 100 so she was obviously either lying to us or lying to herself. Evidently, her credibility is now in tatters but that is what happens when you are over-enthusiastic in your support.
After lunch, the news media was dominated by the news of the ‘election’ of Rishi Sunak as his was the only valid nomination received by the 2.00pm deadline. Although Boris Johnson and even the Mordaunt camp claimed that they had met the 100 threshhold, one of the Channel 4 reporters revealed that the number of pledges exceeded the number of MPs by about 30. In other words, the figures had been inflated by the various camps and given that politicians of all stripes are constantly manipulating figures to tell favourable stories (and dare I say Tory politicians more than most) it was hardly a surprise that the figures did not add up. But now we have the first Hindu PM elected and also the youngest for two centuries which was quite a surprise. All the formalities will occur tomorrow when Liz Truss formally attends the Palace to tender her resignation to the King, shortly followed by Rishi Sunak who will be asked to form the next administration. All of the talk at the moment is one of ‘unity’ and bringing the Tory party together but I dare say that this will least for about a week before the factionalism and infighting will start again. Rishi Sunak will avoid the self-evident error of not appointing people of talent across the party (both Boris Johnson and Liz Truss only appointed people they thought were ‘one of theirs’ and this was particularly evident in the appointments made by Liz Truss) Nonetheless, there is a deep well of hatred not to say resentment amongst erstwhile Boris Johnson supporters who feel that Rishi Sunak was the person who dealt Johnson the fatal blow by resigning from the Johnson cabinet when he did.
This afternoon, I received a telephone call from my friend in South Oxfordshire and we are going to arrange a ‘dinner date’ in his house, probably in about a month’s time. This we will look forward to but like other things we have to agree mutually convenient dates. In this morning’s emails, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from one of my Hampshire colleagues who is going to attend a family event in Liverpool in late November. We are in the proceess of arranging a date in Novenber when we might meet and my friend hasn’t quite decided whether to make the journey by car or by train. If he decides to travel by train, then I can arrange to meet him at Birmingham International which is quite an easy journey for me to make by car (M42 permitting). There is also the possibility that he might have the time available to make an overnight stop with us as well. In the second week of November, we are due to have an ‘Old Fogies‘ lunch in Winchester so I am pleased that the social diary is filling up quite nicely for November. November is one of those months without the charms of October on the one hand yet Christmas is still some way off in December so it just a month to be lived through. Nonetheless, it looks as though Meg and I will have quite a few social engagements to which we can look forward.