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July 03, 2022

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(Northern) California also tends** to two seasons: wet (and cool) from say late October to mid-April, and dry (also hot) the rest of the year. But this year we had highs above 100 in February; not to mention that the wet season . . . wasn't. And the past few days, we've got highs in the 60s. In July! We even got a little sprinkle last night.

** Or did. Climate change hasn't really settled into a new pattern yet. But it's not the old one.

School summer vacation starts about noon on Wednesday. I hope to test 'negative' by then or there will be some bureaucratic difficulties.

On the 4th of July, my wife and I stroll down to the local arts festival and I buy her a lobster roll.

Traditions must be maintained.

We kicked off the weekend late Friday evening with 45 minutes of impressive lightning, thunder, and sheets of blowing rain. An inch of rain total, which we needed. Yay, early monsoon! 20 miles on the bicycle Saturday morning. Took a new route, made possible by two local cities and the county building a mile-and-a-half trail to connect two separate trail systems.

Can't really plan much on taking in festivals and such, as the wife's dementia currently means she wants to stay home.

Test Match, Wimbledon, and the British Grand Prix.
Not a bad weekend for the ex colonial overlords.

Wimbledon

I recall reading a description of the year-round regimen and below-ground infrastructure it takes to have grass courts. I'm not sure but what that should be "grass" courts.

With isolation rules relaxed, we'll be back doing a municipal fireworks show tomorrow. Nice to be back blowing stuff up again.

Unusually cool and gray for this time of year in Puget Sound. Spending all weekend working, (the results of a misspent youth-retire early, work until you die-a bold, but not all that unusual experiment-it was good while it lasted).

Still waiting for McKinney to send me RT airfare to fly to Houston and play a round of golf and yell at each other about politics to celebrate the true meaning of the Fourth - like it should be celebrated.

It's a weird 4th. Celebrating America while representative government is being murdered by the SC.

My community will celebrate with a decorated dog and golf cart parade, followed by sandcastle and apple pie contests and a big outdoor hot dog feed.

I tried to figure out how I could attach a long stick to my shih tzu and disguise him as a mop for the dog costume contest, but I couldn't make it work.

I'll watch the parade, though. There are usually more people (and dogs) in the parade than watching. It is a seriously sweet event. No fireworks allowed.

Going to a barbecue with a colleague who is a marxist and an anarchist punk. That's the jingoism equivalent of buying carbon offsets for your environmental footprint.

@nous -- laughing out loud. Have fun!

Planting herbs, burning pizza, and killing threads on ObWi.

You have a long way to go as a thread-killer, Pete. Take it from an expert!

As you sow, . . .
https://mobile.twitter.com/chriscooperwcu/status/1543664931396018179

Went to one of my local establishments that, since Covid, normally doesn't open until 4 on Mondays, but opened early for the 4th, got a hot dog for lunch before coming in to work at 2. The big monitor on the wall past security check in was giving me my first notice of today's awful news. American as cherry pie, as the man said.

nothing like gunning down some of your fellow citizens to demonstrate your freedoms and love of country.

That is how our nation was born. Though for a different motivation.

nothing like gunning down some of your fellow citizens to demonstrate your freedoms and love of country.
...
That is how our nation was born. Though for a different motivation.

There is a bit of a difference between gunning down armed opponents in order to gain your freedom, and gunning down unarmed fellow citizens to demonstrate your freedoms. The former can sometimes be justified. The latter cannot.

Got up this morning, checked email & other telemetry. Refilled grill gas. Mowed lawn. Broke guide wheel (gonna need a weld). Steering went (dunno, gotta check schematic). Drank an ice-cold shit beer. Looked at news.

Another fucking shooting.

Drank an ice-cold shit beer.

I live in one of the great craft brewing cities in the country. Even the beer aisle at the grocery has a good selection of excellent beers. I am old now, and life is too short to drink sh*t beer.

Where are the calls to ban rooftops or at least calls to put good guys with guns on every rooftop round the clock?

I’m a Guinness guy as a general rule, but sometimes a cold PBR fits the bill. It’s gotta be really cold tho.

On a sorta related note, there was a restaurant out east that did beer pairings with dishes as well as wine. I thought it was a nice touch & I’m surprised I don’t see it more often. Maybe it’s more commonplace in craft beer areas?

I know I've had a craft beer with food-pairing suggestions on the label, but I can't remember what brewer it was from. Google failed me, also, too.

Gee, Pete, I should have argued harder for The Liberal Cup when you were here. Next time we should definitely try it. I'm not a beer drinker, so I'm no judge, but rumor has it that their brews are good. I *always* have their beer-cheese soup of the day when I eat there, and it's always good.

Oh, you better believe I found the The Liberal Cup. And the Quarry. And the Wharf, which I heard finally found a new home in Augusta?

And some place that I was sure was John Waters' house, but is apparently the Easy Street Lounge. Did not expect to find a place like that in Hollowell.

But, of course, nothing beat the company at Slate's. :-)

I'm not sure I've ever seen a government spokesperson showing such contempt for their own government in the process of repeating a government statement, word for word.
https://twitter.com/Direthoughts/status/1544327853701058560

You've sampled much more of the night life in Hallowell than I have -- I tend to go out to lunch more often than dinner, and even that went bye-bye with the pandemic.

I heard about the Wharf, but true confessions, I've never been there. Too bad they lost the Hallowell location -- Hallowell has always been the place to see and be seen around here, funky little riverside town that it is. But maybe Augusta will catch up.

@Pete -- and yes, the company at Slate's was incomparable. :-)

I ate there a couple of weeks ago for the first time since you and I did. Pandemic intervened, of course. We ate outside, and it was a lovely evening, but buggy.

*Hallowell. My bad.

The last photo I saw of the Wharf, it was under ~3ft of water when the river flooded, so maybe the new location is a blessing. But a quick peek at Google maps shows the new spot is also right on the river, so who knows?

I had heard that there was a waterfront rejuvenation thing going on in Augusta - the Colonial was getting rehabbed? - but I haven’t been in a few years. It really is beautiful all along the river there & I especially like it in winter. The slush maybe not so much.

And I apologize for hijacking the thread.

You can't hijack an open thread. ;-)

And yes, both Augusta and Hallowell downtowns are at river's edge. For the beauty, for sure, and I suppose because when they were founded, the river was a highway.

Don't know if you've gone to my picture website (click my nym). There are quite a few pictures of the riverside in Augusta scattered among the galleries. Including some in winter!

Both Stone and Karl Strauss have done the beer/food pairings at their brewpubs here in So Cal (though Stone seems to lean hard on the hot peppers to compete with their use of Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster levels of hops in everything.

I'd regularly get shrimp and grits with a pint of Red Trolley or Ahi Poke Nachos and a Tower 20 IIPA at Karl, and the old Big Beer Burger (three kinds of beer in the recipe) was very tasty. Beeramisu and Wreck Alley Imperial Stout for dessert.

The menu is much depleted post-COVID.

Lots of places with food-beer pairings here, ranging from the mundane to special occasions. An example of a special occasion will be one of the local chefs doing a four-course dinner in collaboration with one of the breweries, and will pair each course with a different beer. It's actually become a statewide practice, as the entire state is craft beer crazy these days. Yuma, CO, population 3500, out in the middle of the eastern plains, has a craft brewery. Still, last time I counted, there were 15 breweries within a 35-minute bicycle ride of our townhouse here in Fort Collins.

Unanticipated byproduct of the pandemic revealed this 4th of July: it appears the the Chinese factory which makes our fireworks has some new, not particularly well trained, staff. All of our 5" shells had fuses which were 6 inches too short. We got to spend the afternoon grafting a span's** worth of additional match on to them so we could do the show. (They were by fare the largest component. Anthough we did have some 3" and 4" shells as well.)

If we get into the sort of tiff with China that we currently have with Russia, the kind that results in embargoes, what will our Independence Day celebrations look like? Perhaps another kind of manufacturing to bring back home....

** Yes that is an authentic unit of measure. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Span_(unit) And indeed, was the way we were measuring of how much to add.

OMG - resignation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Health Secretary (Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid). This looks very difficult for BoJo to survive.

The rats are fleeing. BoJo now 6-1 on not to last the year.

Don't know if you've gone to my picture website

I did when I saw your "Hobbies" post. "Sunset over Sebago" may be my favorite, and I really like "Still water" and "Blue in green" just to name a few. I confess to spending an inordinate amount of time sleuthing "What bridge is that? What street is that? What building is that?"

And I have a nagging and irresistible compulsion to seek out "The Destiny Machine".

On the beer thing, Shiner's Ruby Redbird was my go-to for poke/sushi/ceviche - when I could find it up here. A lot of breweries are doing grapefruit now, so I may have to broaden my horizons. For, um... science.

Any other pairings/suggestions are welcome.

@Pete -- The Destiny Machine pic was taken at Liberty Tool in, you guessed it, Liberty Maine.

Liberty Tool is a pretty typical "antique" shop, except that the entire first floor is, actually, tools and shop items. Whether anyone has bought the destiny machine since last fall, I couldn't tell you.

Liberty Graphics, across the street, sells printed t- and long-sleeved shirts, along with a few other kinds of items, mostly Maine or nature-related. They have seconds bins with cheap shirts -- that's where most of the T-shirts in my wardrobe come from. (For second layers I tend to spring for LLBean Henleys or Scotch Plaid flannels. You gotta shop local, lol.) In the seconds bins you might get something like Taliesin West on the front and some random kayak club on the back.

Upstairs from Liberty Graphics is the Davistown Museum, which is . . . quirky, let's just say.

Liberty is maybe 30 minutes east of Augusta, if you're ever roaming around in that direction.

As for beer pairings, I got nuthin'.

PS -- one of my many project ideas, which I'll probably never get to, is to add map links to the pictures, of vice versa, so you could find out where each one is taken without having to guess, or search. Maybe someday.

Was in/near Liberty for a long weekend end of July 2010, a friend's band from here in metro Atlanta did a longer Maine trip/vacation with families and such. Mother-in-law of the fiddle player and her partner had (still have as far as I know) house on largish pond (probably not big enough to be considered a lake in Mainer parlance?) not that far from Liberty Tool, so that was home base for the end of the trip when I went up, the band had Friday and Saturday night gigs at a bar in Camden. They had played a couple places in Portland at beginning of trip, then travel/sightseeing in between.

A quick look at Google maps suggests to me that the house is on Cargill Pond which is just southeast of St. George Lake.

@Priest -- as to lakes and ponds, this is a footnote on one of my website pages:

*In local lingo, there doesn’t seem to be much distinction between lakes and ponds, but the generic phrase “great pond” has a legal meaning. More information here.

Plus, a lot of lakes and ponds have two names. Messalonskee Lake, which is a bit north of where I live, is locally called Snow Pond.

It can be confusing for a newcomer. :-)

ObWi favourite Nadine Dorries has put out a statement saying she is 100% behind BoJo. Jacob Rees-Mogg has been on all the news programs stating he is too, and making very light of this (by common consensus disastrous for BoJo) development. Meanwhile, various lesser ministers are also resigning, and pundits are saying he can't survive for long. We shall see - he has already proved that his shamelessness knows no bounds, so it's going to depend on Tory MPs finding a mechanism to eject him.

GftNC, Nigel, Pro Bono: good luck. Wouldn't it be nice to get back on track! If only you would, and we could follow your example....

various lesser ministers are also resigning, and pundits are saying he can't survive for long.

Not familiar with the details in the UK. (Americans are so parochial that way.) Is there some minimum number of ministers the government has to have in place to continue? And does it take some kind of vote to approve new/replacement ministers, and how soon?

In short, does BoJo have problems beyond just the increased number of non-supporters he seems to have?

at a bar in Camden

Cuzzy’s?

Ok, I’ll stop. ;-)

No vote necessary to approve minister, just nominated by PM and nodded thru by the Queen. This has already been done for the Chancellor and Health Secretary. Apart from his parliamentary non-supporters, his main problem is increasing unpopularity with the public. Partygate dealt a terrible blow, and now the number of Tory MPs guilty of sexual misbehaviour of various sorts and the continued lying about whether BoJo knew about it before he appointed them (this is what has prompted this last spasm in the last few days), such lies shortly revealed as such. And since his main lever on the party has been his supposed popularity with the electorate, that increasing unpopularity has continued to damage him.

BoJo will fall when a majority of Tory MPs vote for it. In theory, having held a vote a month ago, they can't call another one for eleven months, but in practice they can change the rules whenever they want to.

My guess is that a majority of Conservative MPs would vote against him right now.

Of course, his successor is likely to be a pro-Brexit Thatcherite. But at least one with some regard for appearing to tell the truth.

Of course, his successor is likely to be a pro-Brexit Thatcherite. But at least one with some regard for appearing to tell the truth.

Yes. And, on the latter point, the one thing that is slightly reassuring (compared at least to the US situation) is that BoJo's absolute lack of moral compass, inability to tell the truth etc etc have (finally!) engendered significant disgust in his party, as well as in the country.

And one reason for that difference from conditions in the US is the vastly smaller number (percent) of voters who are not really Conservative voters -- who might care about someone's position on various issues. Rather, if UK politics were like American politics, they would be BoJo cultists -- who could care less about the substance of what he says or does.

Which, in the US, is why Republican politicians feel they simply have to lie in concert with Trump's lies. They know their actually views aren't popular, to put it mildly; without the cultists, they're toast.

@Pete

Yes, it was upstairs at Cuzzy's.

I am embarrassed by my lack of knowledge about UK politics. And miserably, events on this side of the pond have consumed all of my oxygen. Legend has it that the non-German side of the family hails from Scotland, which probably explains the overwhelming amount of Black Watch tartan stuff in every family closet. Flannel shirt or jammies for Christmas? Yeah, it's gonna be Black Watch. I've always wondered if there's a genotypical aspect to color preference, as I've always preferred blues and greens to reds and oranges. But that's a question for The Destiny Machine, I suppose.

Those in the know, help me out here, please. I was under the impression that Brexit and BoJo and the Tories (if I'm using that properly?) have come to be considered regrettable. IIRC, Corbyn was the populist and was wishy-washy on Brexit and largely lost because of it? When's the next general election and what does that look like? Scotland's last independence referendum was relatively close and prior to Brexit, which I believe the Scots were roundly against. And if Scotland does leave, does that not put Parliament more firmly in the hold of the Conservatives?

That's a lot to ask, but I would like to point out that -with the exception of this comment - I didn't write anything about Maine*.

But to bring things around, here's a cautionary beer tale that intrigues me all the more.

*links don't count.

*not comment, sentence. Dern it.

@Priest
Had to be. ;-)

to add map links to the pictures, of vice versa, so you could find out where each one is taken without having to guess, or search

I'm totally speaking out of turn here, but maybe don't? I think let the work stand on its own? I love the vignettes and I kinda think that's enough. You specify some in the titles, like Foxcroft. I don't know where "Still water" is. I kinda don't want to know. I just want to know that it is. And you captured that.

Thanks, Pete. You're probably right -- and I'd probably never get time for it anyhow.

:-)

For second layers I tend to spring for LLBean Henleys or Scotch Plaid flannels

Northern New England represent!!

~half my wardrobe is Bean. But Linda sucks.

Linda does suck. Also, their cotton ragg socks now suck. They're small to begin with (even the unisex XL), and then they shrink.

I'm going to need a new supply this winter, and I may actually have to look elsewhere, although cotton socks aren't that popular and are therefore hard to find.

If the Henleys ever go downhill like that I'm not sure what I'll do. ;-)

I know 'Great Pond' primarily as an informal term for the North Atlantic ocean (also in German: der große Teich).


Those in the know, help me out here, please. I was under the impression that Brexit and BoJo and the Tories (if I'm using that properly?) have come to be considered regrettable. IIRC, Corbyn was the populist and was wishy-washy on Brexit and largely lost because of it? When's the next general election and what does that look like? Scotland's last independence referendum was relatively close and prior to Brexit, which I believe the Scots were roundly against. And if Scotland does leave, does that not put Parliament more firmly in the hold of the Conservatives?

Brexit is now somewhat unpopular. However, the Conservative Party is dominated by Brexiters, and Labour's election strategy includes winning back the pro-Brexit, usually Labour-voting seats in the North of England which it lost at the last General Election. So we are stuck with Brexit.

Corbyn was never popular other than with the left of the Labour Party. It was impossible for the rest of us to look at him and think "yes, I'd like him to be Prime Minister."

"When's the next general election?" No one knows, but not later than January 2025. We experimented with a "Fixed-term Parliaments Act" which mandated 5-year terms except in exceptional circumstances, but it didn't work because some exceptional circumstance or other usually happened.

MPs representing Scottish constituencies are now mostly SNP (a pro-independence party), Labour having been crushed in Scotland in the last general election.

Thank you for that. Is it correct to say that the SNP aligns more closely with Labour, Sarwar's recent comments notwithstanding? And is the UK zeitgeist moving towards Labour or sticking with the status quo? Should it leave, would Scotland immediately move to (re)join the EU and would that be relatively fast tracked?

The SNP is certainly on the more progressive side, although they have (as Pro Bono said) wiped out Labour in Scotland. In answer to whether the UK zeitgeist in general is moving towards Labour, it is a very unfortunate fact that Keir Starmer, a perfectly decent, bright, competent person, has entirely failed to cut through with the public. Some ascribe this to long Corbyn (although they are ideologically entirely dissimilar), but I think it more likely that it is a function of his rather uninspiring delivery, and the fact that Labour is still somewhat factionally riven. Labour do at the moment have a slight lead in the polls, but it is nowhere near where it should be given public disgust with the Tories.

Thank you. I guess I'm surprised as Leave was such a close vote to begin with and it appears to have been woefully mismanaged. I'd have thought that would swing sentiments toward Labour. Or perhaps away from the Conservatives more than deliberately toward Labour, but a notable shift nonetheless. But there also seems to be an air of the stereotypically British "This is the bed we've made and we shall lie in it."

Marina Hyde on good form, as you would expect:

Imagine thinking inexperienced young men should walk into Russian artillery fire, but being too wet yourself to even call time on a guy currently pulling in a net popularity rating of minus 21%. And still, apparently, nurturing ambitions to lead your country at some point in the not-too-distant future. Honestly, what is wrong with Liz? Let’s definitely not make her prime minister and be forced to live through the more detailed answer to that question.

***

Quite how anyone in this current cabinet reckons they should be taken seriously as a potential leader, having hung around for 2022’s full-spectrum debasement of public life by this prime minister, is anyone’s guess – but 80% of any future hustings should be asking them to explain how it has anything to do with “leadership qualities”. Spoiler: there is no good explanation, and I’m already training my eyeballs so they don’t get roll-strain when Ben Wallace or whoever starts retrofitting some bollocks about serving your country, whoever asks you. Any number of this lot have bottled it time and again. The work of rescuing trust in politics from the gutter into which Johnson has led it will take years and probably decades. If you stood by and enabled it, it’s on you too.

***

I can’t even remember what number of Downing Street reboots we’re on now, but every single scandal still plays out like an awayday exercise in which a team of Dadaist amateurs have been given a disaster scenario and told to wargame it.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jul/05/dominic-raab-boris-johnson-chris-pincher-scandal

I guess I'm surprised as Leave was such a close vote to begin with and it appears to have been woefully mismanaged. I'd have thought that would swing sentiments toward Labour.

This is one of the many things I hold against the woeful Corbyn. He was anti-EU, for years, so sabotaged all attempts to improve the official (but not well-publicised) Labour Remain line. When he refused to be on a platform with all the former Labour leaders to make the Remain case, because he wouldn't appear with Blair, a compromise was found so that they could all beam in from other venues: Kinnock from Wales, Brown from Scotland, Blair from Northern Ireland and Corbyn from London. Corbyn refused. Also, according to Alan Johnson, who was the Labour MP in charge of the Labour Remain effort, Corbyn often refused or delayed approval of press releases. As a result of all this, many, many Labour voters remained unaware of Labour's official Remain position. I can never forgive Corbyn for this, Brexit being (in my opinion) an ongoing disaster that was absolutely predictable.

Watching the PN blag and bluster his way through Parliament's Liaison Committee meeting as his government deliquesces about him (including a resignation texted by a committee member during the proceedings) is compelling viewing.

Public service broadcasting at its finest.

If not particularly edifying.

Brexit being (in my opinion) an ongoing disaster that was absolutely predictable.

And, as I recall, rather accurately predicted.

Which, I suppose, shows that reactionaries ("Make Great Britain Great Again!" ?) are as immune to logic, let alone reality, in the UK as they are here.

Getting verbally flayed by both Tory and Labour members - as outside a delegation of ministers assembles to tell him to quit.

Meanwhile Johnson threatens to call an election in a desperate attempt to cling on to power.

Meanwhile Johnson threatens to call an election in a desperate attempt to cling on to power.

One can hope that his bluff gets called. And, whichever party wins, they select a PM who is not BoJo.

Four minutes ago on the Guardian site:

Boris Johnson told by liaison committee that delegation of cabinet ministers is waiting in Downing Street to tell him to go – live
Prime minister says ‘so you say’ when told cabinet ministers waiting for him in Downing Street to tell him to quit

Gove urges Johnson to quit as more ministers resign

Speaking of chutzpah, as we were a few days ago, seeing that BoJo said "So you say" when told cabinet ministers were waiting for him to tell him to quit, reminds one of why anybody ever found him funny and regarded him affectionately in the first place. But, to quote Webster, "that was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead".

Not Webster, Marlowe! Sorry!

From the Guardian site five minutes ago:

Labour says committee hearings for legislation being cancelled because too many ministers have resigned

(last I heard I think numbers were in the 30s, including PPSs - parliamentary private secretaries)

What's his endgame? Maybe he doesn't have one.

What's his endgame? Maybe he doesn't have one.

Perhaps the traditional flow chart, with a box somewhere in the middle labeled:

Then a miracle occurs.
There really doesn't seem to be a plausible alternative for him.

Meanwhile, Nadal fights for survival on Centre Court - I don't know which screen to watch - I think the general stress and tension are getting too much for me!

Well, at least Nadal survives. Let's hope the same will not be said about BoJo. However, more and more ministers etc pile up in no 10, loyalists and antis in separate rooms, and nobody knows if BoJo has actually gone back there (he may have sneaked in the side or the back). If not, it's an interesting tactic...

Apparently he is there, and has told people he is not going to go. The atmosphere is absolutely febrile...various experts speculating on how he can be got rid of, and who could replace him, without actually necessitating a new election. Point being made that we are not a presidency, he is only PM because selected by his party, which is the entity which won the election.

Didn’t he recently survive a no confidence vote? If the party appointed him, is there no mechanism for removal? Or would that be a drawn-out process?

BoJo's still got Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg onside - what could possibly go wrong?

is there no mechanism for removal?

Let me see how well I've understood things.

  • The way to remove a PM (other than resignation) is a vote of No Confidence. It only takes 15% of the party's Members of Parliament petitioning to get it put to a vote.
  • The rules currently in force say that, if the PM survives one (which he just did a couple weeks ago), there cannot be another for a year.
  • HOWEVER, that rule can be changed by a simple majority of the party. (There's an existing committee to consider rules changes in general.) At which point, they could do another No Confidence vote immediately. So not as safe a situation for BoJo as it looks at first glance.
GftNC, how close did I get?

Let me see how well I've understood things...

The way to remove a Prime Minister is by a vote of No Confidence in the House of Commons, which needs a majority of MPs.

The way to remove a Conservative Party leader is by a vote of No Confidence among Conservative MPs, as wj describes.

It's possible that BoJo could be voted out as Conservative Leader, but continue as Prime Minister until his party gets round to choosing a successor.

there cannot be another for a year.

Oh, so that’s it. The twitters say the resignation count is at 38. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds bad. Does it look like another NC vote coming then, or is the majority just whistling past the graveyard?

Before the resignations, there were 122 govenment ministers, so 38 resigning is indeed a lot. On the other hand, there are 358 Conservative MPs, so it might well be possible to find 38 of them willing to take ministerial office even with Boris in charge.

So it’s a waiting game to see if 1922 does anything, which wouldn’t happen until at least Monday?

Apologies for my dumb questions. I very much appreciate the education.

GftNC, how close did I get?

My sense is that Pro Bono has a somewhat more detailed and accurate understanding than mine. But in any case, I agree with what he's said.

What also needs to be considered is that at the moment BoJo is an electoral asset to Labour, so in one way they don't mind seeing him twist in the wind somewhat longer. And in addition, there may be trouble looming for Keir, who foolishly said that he was so sure he hadn't broken lockdown rules by breaking a work meeting to have curry and a beer with colleagues, that he promised that if he was deemed by the police to have breached the rules and fined he would resign as leader. Since his previous job was Director of Public Prosecutions, I have faith that unlike Boris he understood the rules, and believed they applied to him, so I believe his denial. But he may not have allowed for the possibility of political bias in the local police. Anyway, the current gossip is that he was fined, and that he has appealed and issued an injunction so that it cannot currently be revealed. If this turns out to be true, particularly if his appeal fails, he will have to resign.

So we face the prospect of being without a Tory leader, and a Labour one at the same time.

Interesting times.

Before the resignations, there were 122 govenment ministers...

So how many of these require mastery of some basic set of knowledge about subject matter or procedure? Can some random backbencher do at least the simple ones?

So we face the prospect of being without a Tory leader, and a Labour one at the same time.

Well, at least it would give some "new blood" a chance to appear. Makes me rather jealous, considering that we don't have a decent mechanism for that here.

For another take on the situation in the UK, here's a podcast from The Economist:
https://www.economist.com/podcasts/2022/07/06/these-were-standards-they-were-unable-to-defend-boris-johnsons-woes

On a different subject, just discovering that a Georgia curiosity/monument has been bombed.

https://www.fox5ny.com/news/georgia-guidestones-explosion-elberton.amp

Was taken by friends to visit it years ago, 2008 or 9. Took lots of pictures that I don't have because I downloaded them onto my computer that was subsequently stolen, and had not gotten around to backing up the hard drive.

fwiw, I disbelieve the gossip about Starmer having taken out an injunction - if it were true, it's inconceivable to me that a Tory MP would not have used parliamentary privilege to report the facts.

how many of these require mastery of some basic set of knowledge

They need some ability to master a brief. But Nadine Dorries is one of 22 cabinet ministers, which implies that there are 100 ministers less competent than her.

Michael Cain: what happens is that the PM when first coming to power examines his party's pool of MPs, and (taking into account their previous experience, both in the house and in a former life) appoints people he believes may have competence or promise. The most junior posts may well go to inexperienced backbenchers. And the fact that many ministers are clueless to begin with (or even later) is offset by the fact that their ministries are run by generally very capable, experienced civil servants, who are supposed to be politically absolutely neutral and there just to carry out and facilitate their political masters' agendas. Fans of British comedy might remember Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister which satirised this relationship by use of an initially clueless minister and his clever, urbane and Machiavellian top civil servant. The joke was usually that the civil servants constantly frustrated the political agenda by means of Machiavellian explanations of how things really worked. Anybody interested will probably find clips or whole episodes on Youtube.

The greater joke (or not, depending on your viewpoint) is that politicians regularly complained that this is exactly how things were, and that they were constantly frustrated by their civil servants. It took iconoclasts like Margaret Thatcher to make inroads on this situation, to the extent it was true.

Anyway, the theory is that these baby ministers either sink or swim, and that the ones who distinguish themselves are promoted up the food chain in subsequent reshuffles, or subsequent administrations when that party is once more in power.

The current Tory cabinet is, by absolutely common consent, a bunch of incompetents whose only qualification was that they were ardent Brexiteers. This explains the presence of geniuses like Nadine Dorries, and before her, "Failing" Grayling of blessed memory. There were exceptions, like Rishi Sunak who only ended up Chancellor by accident, but even he subsequently proved unfit for major office by virtue of having held one of the great offices of state (by convention second only to the PM) while holding a green card from the USA. So he was making tax and economic policy for Britain, while purporting to be a resident of the US. As many people say about this administration: you couldn't make it up.

Nadine Dorries is one of 22 cabinet ministers, which implies that there are 100 ministers less competent than her.

LOL. But absolute loyalty to BoJo was also a necessity, and it may be that which put her head and shoulders above others - a quality demonstrated by the fact that she is still being loyal.

I hope you're right about Keir, Pro Bono. You make a persuasive point.

I'm off to bed after an exhausting day. But I leave you with two of Keir's rather excellent bons mots at PMQs today, on the flight of the ministers:

The charge of the lightweight brigade.

and

Isn’t this the first recorded case of the sinking ships fleeing the rat?

Well. Excellent developments overnight - although he is trying to hang on til October (party conference) and some others are trying to stop it. I am involved in discussions with my nearest and dearest: they think he's hanging on for reasons of ego, whereas I think he's staying on for reasons of financial corruption - to enact things which benefit his billionaire benefactors so as to assure a very comfortable post-premiership. And the influence of the party grandees (1922 Committee etc) cannot be discounted either; they will have been calculating what will benefit the party most, or perhaps I should say what will do the party the least damage.

We shall see.

I think he's staying on for reasons of financial corruption - to enact things which benefit his billionaire benefactors so as to assure a very comfortable post-premiership.

Is the legislation queued up? As I understand it, Commons will be in session for only four more weeks between now and the party conferences.

Max Hastings (great Thatcher admirer, among other things) in today's Times:

In holiday mood before the world suddenly got serious, a host of voters decided it would be fun to have a prime minister who was fun. He has been uncommonly lucky in his enemies, starting with Jeremy Corbyn.

Since 2019 he has transformed the Conservatives into the Johnson Party, evicting some of its most respected personalities, headed by Ken Clarke, and elevating a gallery of grotesques of whom Liz Truss, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nadine Dorries are only the foremost.

He has broken every rule of decency, and made no attempt to pursue a coherent policy agenda beyond Brexit. Matthew Parris was generous enough to mention here that I had proposed to him a comparison of the prime minister with Evelyn Waugh’s immortal scoundrel Captain Grimes who, left alone with a bottle and a revolver after being exposed in some ghastly crime, drank the whisky and rejected the “honourable way out”. Yesterday, Johnson was still attempting to do the same.

The version I heard was that Johnson would drink the whiskey and shoot the messenger.

The version I heard was that Johnson would drink the whiskey and shoot the messenger.

Even if he had American levels of artillery, by now there are just too many messengers to shoot them all.

My local paper says Boris is gone.
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2022/07/07/uk-prime-minister-boris-johnson-resigns-after-mutiny-in-his-party/

Congrats to all of you in the UK

wj: no, it means the messenger who brought the whiskey and the revolver! It's a very neat insult, to anybody who was expecting the (traditional) honourable behaviour!

Polling in the US is beginning to suggest that Dobbs (i.e. overturning Roe) may be enough to upend the usual midterm trend against the incumbants.
https://digbysblog.net/2022/07/07/a-break-in-the-post-roe-weather/

It seems that even dedicated Republican voters are ready to walk away when things start impacting their daughters and granddaughters. Think of it as a new factor in "kitchen table" issues.

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