June 11-17, 2022
SATURDAY 11 Made my peace with the eco zealot down on our allotments by explaining carefully but passionately the difference between urban biodiversity and rewilding. I added a slight dig about the Buddhist approach to the natural environment, which probably irritated her, but I don’t care. She got the message that biodiversity projects need to be managed.
📌 In the Guardian’s latest update of the war in Ukraine is a short paragraph stating that… “Thirty-seven thousand women are in the Ukrainian army and more than 1,000 women have become commanders.”
📌 My wife grew increasingly irritated as I repeated the words “no idea who you are” during the introduction to a “Celebrity Special” of Pointless Celebrities.
SUNDAY 12 Boris is being buried daily by bad news. It’s hard to see how he can dig himself out. He has run out of gimmicks (“Save the NHS” red bus) and slogans (“Get Brexit done”) and he’s been outed as a character who can’t speak without telling lies. This is now the entrenched view even among the public. Add Partygate to the mix and his future as prime minister looks bleak. Who knows, he might actually be keen to go? One report yesterday predicted his post-PM earnings at £5m a year. So an exit on his own terms might be a strategy, and I half expect him to call a snap general election soon and fight it on “Get Brexit Done 2: Abandon Northern Ireland” and starting a nasty trade war with the EU.
📌 The sense that this government is nearing the end prompts in the imagination a time in the distant future when the 30 Year Rule kicks in and all the facts contained in the government documents of today will be laid bare for all to see. It is a tantalising moment worthy of a big TV drama as various current politicians now in old age scramble to protect their reputations. The lucky ones will already be dead, but their descendants will inherit the shame. Marriages will crumble and desperate measures will be employed to salvage dignity.
📌 McDonald’s has reopened in Russia under a different name and hordes of Russians are flocking to get a burger.
📌 A parody Laura Kuenssberg patrols Twitter as the Secretary of State for Propaganda and occasionally has something quite witty to say…
📌 Someone on Quora wants to know why the UK is determined to wreck the Northern Ireland Protocol and risk a trade war with the EU. The top answer is a meticulous list illustrating the government’s real intentions in Northern Ireland, which is to cut it adrift from the UK.
TUESDAY 14 As might have been expected, the introduction to parliament of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill has rekindled dampened fires. An editorial in the Guardian outlines it as a triumph for the hard right of the Conservative party and a way for King Boris to wage a new war with the EU. But something else is happening, writes Katy Balls of the Conservative-leaning Spectator. The bill’s passage into law is likely to be stalled by a nervous House of Lords. Boris’s future as PM hangs on a slim thread. So the EU is probably happy to wait for the next PM to arrive before it starts talking tough about trade wars.
📌 Mathematician and early computer genius Ada Lovelace was quite a feisty character, if the BBC’s serialisation of her letters to Charles Babbage, Michael Faraday, et al are anything to go by. But she wasn’t a typical role model for women in science, writes present-day mathematician Hannah Fry…
Intelligent she might have been, but she was also manipulative and aggressive, a drug addict, a gambler and an adulteress.Hannah Fry, BBC website
📌 Home Office staff disgusted by the government’s most recent immigration policy hit back…
📌 Finished last week’s art class assignment. The theme was Nature and I chose a dead rose as my subject. This image presumes a species of rose named ‘Ascension‘ and the dead flower is meant to be ascending heavenward.
📌 RIP Joan Flannery, 95. She died with her lippy on.
📌 Also finished the latest stitchwork tote bag. It shows the 25 wards of the City of London.
WEDNESDAY 15 Tried some microwavable clay in art class and very disappointed with the results. To fill the time I started painting into a cotton-paper print of the dead rose picture I did last week and discovered that the printer ink bleeds like watercolour. ‘Dead Rose Bleeding’ sounds like the title of an avant-guard American film.
📌 Fascinating insight into the idea of a National Care Service, an open goal the current Labour leadership looks set to fluff badly.
📌 An article in the Guardian outlines Boris’s political philosophy as a machine geared only to keeping him in charge. Any conventional ideas about the purpose of politics being to govern a nation in the interest of its citizens is secondary to Boris’s idea of himself as King of the World.
FRIDAY 17 Describing inflation as if it were the weather enables lazy media commentators to avoid saying plainly what it actually is – rising prices. Another lazy trick is to use buzzwords. “Baked in” is today’s offering as so-called experts fret that the nation is becoming dependent on “baked-in” state handouts in hard times.
📌 As is so often the case these days, Aditya Chakrabortty has a trusted reality check on the real cause of Britain’s decline.
From privatised trains to high-street chemists and care homes, industry after industry is today owned by multinational investors with tentacles around the world who treat our basic needs as tiny income streams to suck up and siphon off into palm-treed tax havens.
📌 Boris is still trying to decide whether he needs a new ethics advisor to replace the one who just quit.
📌 Over to Toynbee Hall to discuss an upcoming advice clinic on the rising cost of living. It’s always a pleasure to step back into Victorian London. Our meeting took place in a room that was once a bedroom for do-gooding volunteers who came down from Oxford to help the needy of East London.
📌 Message from the Electoral Reform Society reports Unison as the latest big union to back proportional representation. Labour really has no excuse now in dragging its heels on this issue. How to make it work is another matter. PR systems were once a notorious hard-sell, but maybe not so now among a younger generation of voters conditioned to juggling permutations as they built their gaming skills.