In today's Guardian, I learned that “Donald Trump has told Theresa May in a phone call he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain until the British public supports him coming.”
What a relief. Cancel the banquets, stand down the riot police, put the placards away. Business as usual, as Theresa May might say. Though how much longer her words will have an audience wider than her nearest and dearest is a subject bookmakers are assessing as I write.
Having held an election she did she was not going to have, to get an endorsement for hard Brexit and to do things she has not deemed the electorate sufficiently grown up to be told, Mrs May finds herself with a reduced number of Tory MPs, yet bizarrely seems to think that she can go on being PM nod acting as though the country has not just given two fingers to her plans for continued austerity and a hostile relationship with the rest of the EU.
The Tories like to paint themselves as the fiscally responsible party. I don't know how much it costs to hold a General Election, but it's obviously more than a few quid. Now the rumours are we could have another before the end of the year. Couldn't we spend the money on something else, the NHS springs to mind, and just ditch the right wing, nationalist agenda and revert to being annoying members of the EU?
For all I know, that is exactly what is happening. I am at das Boot for few days, listening to birds, not the news, planning an early night with MasterB who has already commandeered the bed. I thought he wanted to go out a little while ago, so put on an old sweat shirt jacket and discovered the mice have used most of the right pocket for nest making. I wondered where the soft green stuff had come from. We spent about five minutes ashore before he headed back to das Boot. I am hoping this will not herald a disturbed night.
It's a beautiful evening. No one else is here. We have the skies, the water and the birdsong to ourselves. The cuckoo has just stopped calling; swifts and swallows skim the water eating insects. The bats are flying by the trees.
On Friday I met my cousin Russell for a walk in the countryside near his home in Hampshire. I have been meaning to post pictures ever since. We have both been voting Green for the last I don't know how long, and that discovery of shared beliefs has helped underpin our new relationship as older adults. It also helps that he is now vegetarian, as are his wife and their two children. We were both fairly glum about the election when we arranged to meet a few weeks back, but just as the mice have nibbled at my pocket, so Jeremy Corbyn has nibbled away at the expected Tory landslide, so now we have a hung parliament. It's a strange thing to celebrate, but we are. My liver is going to rebel at some point soon.
Our grins when we met on the station platform were wider than those of a wide mouthed toad. We hugged each other and decided that lunch would be a celebratory feast, even though we were in a part of the country where as Russell put it a bit too graphically, they'd vote for a turd if it was painted blue.
And feast we had. The chef may have been Tory, I don't know, but s/he made a mean lunch. A lunch we enjoyed after several miles of green and luscious countryside as we discussed the election and its result.
It was the youth wot done it say all the pundits and the papers. Please could we amend that to it was the youth wot helped do it. There seems a strange consensus that anyone aged over forty votes Tory. Ahem. No, that is not true, and I find it less than helpful to range the youth against the middle aged or elderly. Drinking champagne and toasting “the many, not the few” on Saturday night was Octavia's 94-year-old Labour voting mother.
Equally strange is the idea that baby boomers have had a gilded, protected life. I have only just discovered I am a baby boomer. It's all very well to say we had free education, but you have to look at how many of the generation born between 1946 and 1964 were able to avail themselves of a university education. It was the few, not the many. Until 1971 many children routinely left school at 15 with no qualifications, destined for unskilled jobs and little hope of advancement. When my parents, in conversation with the next door neighbours, said they hoped my sister would stay at school until she was18, the neighbours were appalled. They hadn't even allowed their youngest child to do an apprenticeship as a hairdresser because she could earn more in the short term as a shop assistant.
School books were antique. Most of the text books I used at secondary school, a grammar school, so the sort of establishment Theresa May would like to see return, were published before, during or shortly after the Second World War. The paper was thin, the type minuscule, Shalespeare was censored so as to make some of his plays almost meaningless. At primary school our early reading material was a graded series called Old Lob about a farmer, his faithful sheepdog and the various animals on his farm. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, but it belonged to a different era. I could go on about unheated homes and classrooms, school gabardines that got weighted down in the rain and were bought to grow into, chilblains, the exoticism of spaghetti, a make do and mend attitude that lasted all my childhood and still makes me guilty about throwing away worn socks.
We were luckier than the generation that came before; some of us had opportunities our predecessors could only have dreamt of, but I think we were the minority. My own parents' longing for an education from which they were denied for both economic reasons and the pigheadedness of my paternal grandfather, meant my sister and I benefitted from their thwarted ambition. But when I look at the wider opportunities, social, economic and educational of those who came after me, I can only say we were a step on the path to universal enfranchisement where one day everyone will have access to the education they want and need.
So raise your glasses again, because this hung parliament is the result of the many, not the few saying the one per cent are not the only ones entitled to the future. The slices of the cake may be smaller, but more will get to enjoy it.