Pub Grub Grumble
Another lunch in yet what sadly turned out to be yet another bog-standard pub. It was sited by a river with all the natural romance of Wind in the Willows: you could imagine mole and ratty rowing lazily by on their way to their famous picnic. Anyone with even the beginnings of design sense – any sense – could have made the interior far more interesting than it turned out to be. Instead, we had the same old swirly carpet that makes your eyes water, and the rest of the decor was like a down market old persons home in Scunthorpe.
To get over the national shortage of cooks, today’s pub food appears to be manufactured in a vast shed somewhere in the UK North and thence delivered weekly to pubs. Therefore, pub cooking is reduced to waiters shoving frozen food into a microwave and banging it on tables. Complaints are pointless: any shortcomings are the fault of COVID. So Pub menus are the same everywhere. The waiters are masked with muffled voices so that no one can understand a word.
We walk towards Evesham. The town is doughnutted by estates of new-build. Despite the fact all these new houses are tiny and exactly the same, they are overhyped as “stunning”: the estates are called grand names like “Simon De Montford Estate” that fools no one.
Evesham smells of poverty and is suffering the collapse of retail chains: empty shops that will probably end up filled with charity shops scar the High street.
A great deal of political capital is being spent on the so-called “red wall” constituencies that turned Tory at the last election. We are told a great deal of money will be spent to “level” them with the richer south of England. I wonder how the voters of the likes of Evesham will feel about this promise at the next election.
A New Jerusalem
How sad to see the Labour Party in steady decline, for all governments need vigorous opposition.
I suspect there is little chance that Labour will form a future government. This is in part because it has lost nearly all its Scottish seats to the SNP – and to be blunt, without them, that’s it. It’s an irony that Blair, who had so many gifts, was the agent of his party’s destruction – it was his government that introduced devolution and created Sturgeon. It’s the law of unintended consequences biting viciously.
Labour’s forlorn election tally is lose, lose, lose, lose, Blair, Blair, Blair, lose, lose, lose, lose. And there is no return to the Blair years. Though there are plenty of voters who loathe Boris and all he stands for, many are now totally opposed to Labour. Meanwhile, the Liberals are often seen as sitting to the left of old Labour. Sadly, Labour will produce another lefty who will fail yet again. What can be done?
Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man – or Woman!
I believe that somewhere, in a school or college perhaps, a bright, young person has the Mandela, Obama, Clinton, Blair, Thatcher and Boris qualities needed to form and lead a new centrist party (not easy in our first-past-the-post system). Perhaps this individual hasn’t even been born yet, but when he or she arrives on the political stage, they will understand that many voters aren’t instinctively Liberal but right of centre. They will see that such voters intuitively distrust those who tarnish British history or who spend their time indulging in national flagellation and running down our heritage – and that in the broad sweep of things, Britain has been a force for good in the world.
This new leader will distrust those who bang on about “my truth versus your truth” vapidity (dear old Meghan) that is endemic amongst Labour’s youth wing and the default position of many universities. This is the idea that “lived experience” counts for more than objective reality.
They will understand that many voters distrust “cancel culture”, whereby people of opposing views are denied a platform. Such voters do not believe that culture wars should be all-or-nothing fights to the death, and nor do they agree that people with opposing views must be destroyed. Most want to eradicate racism and other forms of discrimination, but calmly please – they are unimpressed with people who “take the knee’ and they distrust change that is brought about by hatred and confrontation. Instead, they believe in the nation state and look for a feeling of national solidarity. They seek controlled borders, pride in Britain and free market economics.
Cometh the need, cometh the talent! We need a fresh young leader with foresight and brains – someone with a stout heart and a short sword.
I forecast that he or she would in time sweep the pool. All today’s political parties should beware. This new party would change the face of Britain!
The Man’s Not for Turning…
“Darling! You have to turn round. Now!”
Please note the way she weaponizes the word “Darling!” so it crunches my skull like a sledgehammer.
So commanded General Jane after a lunch near Watford.
“My satnav says there are crashes on the M4… If we continue on this route, it will take us five hours to get home instead of 40 minutes!”
Readers of my past blogs may recall that one of my beloved’s little endearing ways is to double-guess the car satnav with two competing satnavs and sometimes a map. Then she argues with them all.
Something about it all emboldened me to ignore Jane, so I drove on trusting my instincts and praying.
She repeated her instructions rather like Montgomery before the Battle of Alamein.
I ignored her and kept praying.
Suddenly the traffic melted. We soared along the empty road and then onto the uncluttered M4.
There was a sulky silence from the passenger seat. “I have to admit,” she eventually conceded, “that I inadvertently clicked a bike timing on the satnav.”
I promised to say nothing.