I knew there were risks involved but the difference it has made to my state of mind has been immense. For too long I have been, by force of circumstances, isolated in my home by the banks of the Boyne. I put my hands up and say that it was beginning to eat into my soul. It gives me some understanding of what some people have faced. We returned home with our spirts renewed. Then we both started to feel unwell and took the antigen test for covid with some trepidation. I was shocked to discover that we both tested positive . In my case as a person with a compromised immune system the matter had to be urgently addressed and I was very relieved to be put on a course of a drug called Paxlovid. Yesterday I was able to get out for a walk and hug my favourite copper-beech. God, it made me feel good.
In our travels we were bemused by the convulsions in British politics. The very thought that Boris might fulfil a Churchillian fantasy by getting back into Downing Street seemed utterly bonkers. Finally, the Tories came to their senses and plumped for Rishi Sunak. It was the right decision. The markets re-acted instantly. Sterling strengthened and interest rates fell. It really was a matter of cometh the crisis cometh the man. Amongst the Tory MP’s he has the right skill set to deal with the economic head winds that the UK will face. Whilst the Labour Party is ahead in the polls, I think they will find a Rishi-led government more difficult to attack. Rishi has made no secret that there are tough times ahead but he has also emphasised that he will govern with compassionate conservatism. As it happens I know a little about Rishi and I like what I hear. I think in the very uncertain economic climate they are lucky to have him but, as ever, events will tell the tale. Truss may have been consigned to the bin but she did raise one central issue that the UK has to address and that is to restore Britain to a trajectory of long-term growth. I hope it happens because in so many ways our countries are intrinsically linked.
On Tuesday the new British PM called President Zelensky of Ukraine to reassure him of continued British support. We must all be grateful to Boris Johnston for the absolute resolve he showed in standing up against Putin’s naked aggression and delusional aims to create a greater Russia. But at this critical point during the war when the battle rages around Kherson and both sides are furiously trying to secure their positions before winter takes hold, it is essential that the British, Americans, French and Germans show a united front. Vlad the Bad will seek to exploit any perceived weakness and that includes war fatigue, which is emerging in the U.S.
Meanwhile our government does its best to try and house refugees from the war. This is no easy task on top of the housing crisis.
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