Sunday, 13th November, 2022

[Day 972]

Today being a Sunday I got up early and walked down into town to pick up our Sunday newspaper before returning for the Laura Kuennsberg show at 9.00am. This contained an interview with Jeremy Hunt who evidently could not speak in great detail about his forthcoming budget, due to be delivered in the House of Commons on Thursday next. Meg and I took the opportunity to visit the park and the weather turned out to be beautiful – the effect of the warm sunshine was complemented by the glowing colours that the leaves are starting to exhibit just before they fall. There seemed to be a wonderful and relaxed atmosphere in the park today – I suppose that unusually clement weather was making people feel relaxed and at peace with the world. We noticed that one mother was playing with her child (who looked about 3) by getting hold of bundles of leaves and throwing them into the air so that they fell on the child like a snowstorm. After this had been repeated a number of times the child got the idea and started trying it out on their own. We generally have in our rucksack a sponge and some spare kitchen paper which we use to wipe excess moisture off the park bench before we sit down. In the spirit of bonhomie, a lady saw us wiping the bench down and offered us her own ‘Marks and Spencer’ bag which she reckoned that she typically used if the park bench was wet. Ths was a kind gesture and I wondered why I had not thought of this solution before.

The day was not very old before the Nevada result came through in the race for the US Senate. Here the Democrats held off a challenge from the Republicans as the latter had been predicted to gain the seat. In practice, although the Republicans were hanging onto a 0.1% lead with only about 3% of the vote yet to be counted, most of the to-be-counted votes came from Las Vegas and other urban areas which seemed likely to deliver their votes disproportionately in favour of the Democrats which enabled them to retain the seat. According to CNN, the Republicans anticipated that they were heading for defeat and the mood in the Republican camp turned sullen and hostile as the recriminations started. This result, together with the Arkansas result yesterday meant that the Democrats had gained control of the Senate as in the event of a tie, the (Democratic) vice president always has a casting note. If Georgia goes Democrat when they have their run-off election in early December, then the Democrats will have a 2 seat majority in the Senate which means that they may be able to block Republican generated measures. But the Republicans are currently 7 seats ahead and are inching towards a very small majority in the House of Representatives and even a majority of 1 means that they will be in a position to block any further investigation into the insurrection and invasion of the Capitol Building on January 6th, 2021. Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden will have important decisions to make in the days ahead. Donald Trump had pencilled in next Tuesday as a day for a ‘great announcement’ but whether he will decide to pull this in the face of many of his endorsed candidates performing badly is a moot point. The Democrats have equally severe problems as Joe Biden is very unpopular and many are arguing too old for a further attempt on the White House. One informed American commentator was suggesting that Joe Biden’s wife may well be a critical influence upon his decision making and she may urge him to ‘quit whilst he was ahead’ This decision would be easier if a clear successor was apparent but at this stage, the Democrats appear in some disarray. But there are two years left for a candidate to emerge and build some support, not to mention to garner the enormous amounts of money involved in a presidential bid.

Today, the English men’s cricket team were in the T20 final with Pakistan. I think that the game was due to start at about 8.00am but as this game would take several hours to complete, I did not attempt to watch it as I had the Women’s Rugby yesterday morning. England eventually won by 5 wickets and although the match in Melbourne looked set for a tight finish, Stokes hit a flurry of late boundaries, including a six, to break Pakistan’s hearts and to win the match. I assumed that some of the highlights would be shown in at least some of the news bulletins. However, the news items did eventually show a five second clip of Ben Stokes scoring some of the winning runs but most of the report was on exuberant fans both before and after the match. I suppose that there must have been TV rights involved which prohibited any showing of the match even as a news item but given that this was England’s first victory since 2010, you would have thought that we have been given more than just a snatch of it.