The Coronavirus Diaries, 5th November 2022, Bonfire Night

No, I’m not doing any fireworks tonight. I quite like the colourful displays, but I thoroughly dislike the increasingly loud fireworks. The effect on pets, domestic animals and wildlife is appalling. So tonight I shall be mainly sitting on the sofa, watching television or reading, giving reassurance to MasterB that he is safe. To do this, I shall ignore all bangs and flashes, behave in a way that I hope convinces him there is nothing to be afraid of. It seems to work pretty well. I wish I could say the same technique is effective when it comes to storms, but sadly it’s not. Storms terrify him.

This morning was definitely cooler. Like many, I have not got my heating on. Actually I haven’t needed it, the weather has been so mild, but over breakfast I thought this might be the time when I succumb. However, as the day wore on, I realised I was perfectly warm. Yes I am wearing slippers and a thick jumper (sweater to those of you across the pond) so perhaps I’ll manage a few more days, maybe weeks, before I give in. Some people are saying they are not going have the heating on at all this winter. I don’t think I am hardy enough for that, though my first energy bill may change my mind. I’ll look out the thick socks.

UK politics continue to dismay. We have a Home Secretary and assorted underlings who seem entirely devoid of imagination, compassion or empathy. Anyone seeking asylum here is regarded with extreme hostility, housed in what are effectively internment camps. Chris Philp, a man whose smooth appearance inadequately disguises a soul so callous it seems as though he’s trying to get to the number one position in the list of Most Coldhearted Living People, most of whom are members of his own party and include Jonathan Gullis who really makes you wonder about the selection process for Tory candidates, thinks asylum seekers complaining about the dreadful conditions where they are housed is a bit of a cheek. The Daily Mail, whose long and shameful record of xenophobia is well documented, had a headline this week One in Six of Us Born Abroad. No I didn’t read the piece, but I am pretty confident it was meant to outrage (a favourite Daily Mail word) his readers. Some on Twitter pointed out King Charles III’s father, Rishi Sunak’s father, Winston Churchill’s mother, the captain of the men’s England football team’s father were all born abroad.

People from *abroad* are, for the Mail, bogeymen, who might threaten our Britishness, overturn our cherished customs, including those only started this century. They might also suggest, via democratic means, improvements to our laws to which we agree, only to become outraged (again) and vote to leave the EU. Yet *abroad* itself is an attractive holiday destination, and if it has a compliant approach to foreigners investing their money there and thus avoiding paying domestic taxes, even more attractive. So some conflict there. Yes, divide and rule, the Tories favourite tactic for distracting us from all their many failings, and own pocket lining, continues.

My tooth has, fingers crossed, finally been fixed. That’s if the crown, which replaces the half crown which really didn’t want to stay in place, does what it is supposed to do. I also had a haircut. Whoopee. It feels so much better, but sadly when I met up with B&J, Helena, Celia and Charlie last night, not one of them noticed.

My copy of The Decade in Tory by Russ Jones arrived. It’s a lot bigger than I expected. Definitely not a book I shall be reading on the bus. I opened it at random and read this:

“Battling problems that don’t exists a great way to distract from problems that do. Here’s a fine example: in the 1979 Winter of Discontent, the UK lost29 million days to strike action, but by 2015 this was down to 169,000, a fall of 99.5 per cent. Tories were desperate for us to believe there was a strike crisis as we lost – brace myself for a terrifying figure – 0.002 per cent of the nation’s total working hours 2015, which, if you do the maths, equates to everybody turning up to work 30 seconds late on a single day. It was clearly crippling us.

So obviously, it was suddenly essential to make it impossible to strike at all. Cameron announced that in future, a strike would be illegal unless it was supported by 40 per cent of people who were eligible to vote for industrial action. He could propose this law because he was prime minister, having received the support of 23 per cent of people eligible to vote.”

The Decade in Tory may or may not be in your Christmas stocking, but you can still enjoy Russ Jones’ The Week in Tory, currently on Twitter but he is experimenting with another platform since the takeover by Mr Musk. You’ll find him @RussinCheshire and the book is available from all good bookshops.

Enjoy your reading.

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