It’s been another week – what are the chances of that? I think the weather has finished its transition from late-summer/early-autumn to definitely autumn. Leaves are falling and/or have fallen off the trees, the temperature is decidedly autumnal with the occasional ground frost in the mornings and the clocks have changed so that it’s dark by 5.30 in the evening. One just wants to hunker down in front of a blazing fire.
Sunday, of course, was Halloween and the Moreton Pinkney Garden Club put together a witch’s coven for the village youngsters as they did last year. The ladies gathered under a lovely oak tree on the Green at the other end of the village and provided goodie bags for the children and mulled wine, ginger biscuits and Penelope’s Parkin for the adults. Ms Playchute had also constructed a huge spider from black rip-stop nylon, a redundant pillow and various cardboard tubes. We hung it from one of the branches of the oak tree by a bungee cord and in the light breeze it would jiggle and wave it’s legs about. Very scary!
The kids enjoyed themselves, the adults enjoyed themselves, the witches enjoyed themselves, the parkin was delicious and the mulled wine lovely and warming on a crisp evening. Splendidly splendid and even the weather cooperated – windy and fresh but dry.
The builders have been installing our new doors this week and it’s all looking very nice – a distinct improvement over the single-glazed windows and doors we had, most of which were in a deteriorating condition. Everything is glazed and in although we are awaiting delivery of the door handles which will be useful, I guess. They should arrive this week and then it will just be a matter of having the doors and windows painted to match everything else. I think it’s already warmer in those rooms which have been upgraded.
An update on our Moreton Pinkney Garden Club annual dinner which I wrote about last week. Apparently, we were not the only ones to “complain” that the meal provided did not meet expectations. The Garden Club Chair wrote to Websters outlining the issues – the vegetarian option was not what had been agreed and one member (i.e., me) had the wrong meal delivered. In response they agreed to refund the cost of both of our meals (and those who had also ordered the vegetarian option) which was decent, I suppose. It’s nice to have a free meal, I guess, but I would have preferred a decent meal consisting of what we had ordered. This is the fourth time (I think) that Websters have underperformed and underwhelmed yet some folks in the village seem to think they are wonderful. My question to them would be something along the lines of if you went out to a restaurant and received an underwhelming and/or incorrect meal would you continue to go back time after time? I know I wouldn’t.
And so, to the You Could Not Make It Up news this week.
Firstly, very briefly, the saga of Owen Paterson, which I suspect will not have travelled much beyond these shores. He is a Conservative member of Parliament and formerly a cabinet minister who was recently found guilty of egregiously breaking the House of Commons rules on lobbying. He admits receiving in excess of £80,000 a year from two firms (perfectly legal) on whose behalf he lobbied the government (strictly against the rules of the House). This occurred not once or twice but on fourteen different occasions. Imagine an elected official asking questions and pressing the government on behalf of the firms paying him a bucketload of money rather than representing his electorate. On the other hand, I guess, one might wonder why they were paying him – certainly not for his intellect.
He was found guilty of breaking the rules by the Committee on Standards which was set up in the past to investigate and adjudicate on such issues and “sentenced” to 30 days’ suspension from the House.
On the day the House was due to vote to confirm his suspension, our lovely idiotic MP Andrea Leadsom introduced a bill to scrap the Committee and create a new one chaired and dominated by Tory MPs. Even though the Conservatives have an 80 seat majority in the Commons and the government inposed a three line whip on its members, the bill barely squeaked through as, astonishingly, there were a number of Conservatives who abstained and even 13 who voted against. It seems this vote in favour of allowing an MP to escape sanctions for behaving in a corrupt manner was too much for a few Tories.
Somehow, those in favour of abolishing the Committee on Standards argued that it was all in the name of ensuring transparency, of course. Well, they’ve certainly transparently confirmed that this is perhaps the most corrupt government in an inglorious history. As John Crace put it in the Guardian
Just when you think the government can’t get much worse, it finds new ways to surprise you.
Soon after I wrote this on Thursday came the news that, in light of all the furore and criticism of the government’s sleaziness from all sides and given the numbers of Conservative MPs who had refused to endorse the government’s efforts to save Owen Patterson, the Prime Minister decided to throw him under the bus after all. Number 10 announced that the new procedures would not now be taken forward and a bill would be introduced next week to override the bill they had just passed.
Soon after that news broke, Owen Paterson resigned.
Purely coincidental, I’m sure, but the Word of the Day from Susie Dent on Twitter on Thursday was: ‘Malversation’ (16th century): the corrupt administration of power.
And you really, really could not make this up – our world-beating Covidiot at the Cop26 Conference:
Not only is he seemingly snoozing but he is mask less while sitting next to António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations and David Attenbourgh, the 95-year-old world acclaimed naturalist and a “national treasure” (unlike Boris).
And finally, Friday was Guy Fawkes Night. As many have pointed out, Guy Fawkes was “the last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions.” Certainly there are no honest intentions amongst our governing shambles.
Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, keep isolating as much as you can, wear a f**king facemask when you go out and keep your distance. And keep safe.
Lots of love to you all,