The more things change, the more they stay the same. New PM Rishi Sunak with reappointed Home Secretary Suella Braverman
It’s now Tuesday October 25, 2022. Kia ora! Word press is different today, for some reason. That’s annoying.
This morning I met one of my son’s and his daughter, It was lovely to see them again. Sadly, there is a cruise ship in Wellington, and there are very few masks being worn. Apparently there are Covid 19 cases on board the cruise ship.
The latest coronavirus report is out, and it’s not good news; it’s reported that there are 16,399 new cases of Covid-19 in the community and 41 new deaths this week, with 1,727 reinfections, the Ministry of Health has announced.
As of midnight on Monday, there were 243 people in hospital with the virus, with six in intensive care. Of the 41 deaths, 19 were aged over 80.
One was aged between 10 and 19 years, one was in their 30s, two were in their 40s, one was in their 50s, five were in their 60s, seven were in their 70s and five were aged over 90. Sixteen were women and 25 were men.
Case numbers were up from last week 14,311 new cases reported, 185 cases in hospital, and 34 deaths linked to the virus. The seven-day rolling average has risen to 2343 from 2041 last week.
So that’s not great news. I find it particularly upsetting that cruise ships are back – we just don’t need them! And where do they dump all their rubbish? I shudder to think. The sea’s a big place, but already many fish are polluted.
Many bus and train services have been cancelled – I get emails from Metlink about changes to the Waikanae and Johnsonville train lines. Cancellations are generally due to staff shortage, rather than slips, or scheduled maintenance. That doesn’t bode well, and it must be really frustrating for people doing regular jobs.
A friend of mine has rung to tell me she has tested positive for Covid 19. She started having symptoms on Sunday; I last saw her on Thursday, when we met for coffee and then caught a bus into town together. The previous day we had seen the movie “Mrs Harris goes to Paris”, and really enjoyed it. The cinema was full, and no one was wearing a mask. I think I should be all right; here’s fingers crossed. What a nuisance! One immediately thinks where one has been, and who one has been in contact with.
Last night we watched a new series on one of the streaming services called, I think, From Scratch. We watched it because the first episode was set in Florence, in Italy. It was about an American girl (from Texas) who wanted to be an artist, and brought her Sicilian chef boyfriend back to Los Angeles with her. Once again, I found the American sense of entitlement very irritating; her Sicilian boyfriend, on the other hand, seemed to be the only real person, and a very good cook – a skill which was rather looked down on by the Americans.
It’s now Wednesday October 26.
There were three things that shocked me this morning (actually I learnt some of them last night). The first was St Bede’s College (for boys) in Christchurch, a school for Catholic boys; in their wisdom, they decided the theme for wearing mufti today was “Wife Beater Wednesday”. Evidently they were to wear white singlets, which signify wife-beating. Excuse me, how is this in any way appropriate? Really the Catholics amaze me at times. How can any young person being educated by them think that this is somehow appropriate? I don’t think this would have happened at the co-ed college my sons attended. (Today Stuff reports that 21 girls claim to have been victims of sexual assault or rape in Christchurch). How and why is this even happening? I feel, again, that we are going backwards, that a generation of boys thinks that domestic violence is somehow acceptable, even something to joke about.
The second thing is that there are 129 Covid 19-infected people on board the cruise ship visiting Wellington. 129! There is another cruise ship visiting Marlborough, with 130 covid 19 infected people, and some people with symptoms are wandering around Picton. Yesterday, when I was with my son and granddaughter in a shop in Wellington, a woman from the cruise ship visited the store, and had a fall. I helped her up. Was she infected? Who knows.
The third thing is as follows: during the night I learnt that the new British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, had reappointed Suella Braverman as Home Secretary, just days after her resignation. Then later I discovered that he is to retain Jeremy Hunt as Chancellor, and Dominic Raab is to be deputy Prime Minister and justice secretary. Jacob Rees-Mogg has gone (for now). The more things change, the more they stay the same.
I went to hymn-singing this morning, and then to my Te Reo Māori class. There were very few of us there. JD picked me up, and then we had our second Covid 19 booster jabs at the pharmacy in the Johnsonville Shopping Centre. I hardly felt the wee jab, and so far there are no ill effects. It’s good to get that done.
It’s now Thursday October 27th.
During the night I realised I had quite a sore arm where I’d had the coronavirus jab, so I decided to send an apology for my other singing, due to restart this morning. I have two further engagements today, so its probably wise to lessen the load of commitments, enjoyable as they are. I took another RAT test; again, it was negative, thankfully. We are due to go to Napier again soon for a few days, so I do hope I don’t get Covid 19, or another cold.
Last night and early this morning I listened to more podcasts. The British Scandal series are tackling – not Starmer, or Blair, but Boris Johnson. Oh dear! One forgets how awful and unprincipled he was, and what a liar. What Carrie sees in him I just don’t know. Perhaps $$$ signs. although I don’t think he’s great with money.
I looked at the Guardian website to see that while new PM Sunak promises to govern with “accountability, integrity, and professionalism”, there seems to be little sign of that, with his reappointment of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary, and his refusal to increase benefits in line with inflation. I’ll stop right there, as I can see now what kind of person he’ll be as Prime Minister. I’m not one to form snap judgments; I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, but based on what I already knew, and his latest actions, I’m not prepared to think well of him.
So, the Brits are in for more of the same.
In New Zealand/Aotearoa, there are more protests. There has been a groundswell protest by farmers, where I think they got some tractors on main highways; they were joined by some freedom protesters, and I don’t think they were best pleased. Climate activists have blocked the entrance to the Mount Victoria tunnel, and SHI north of Wellington. In London and in Germany, climate protesters have attacked beautiful artworks. While I agree with the climate protesters’ sentiments, I have grave doubts about their actions. Of course, it annoys me when I can’t move around freely; perhaps their grievances might be better aimed at Metlink, who just keep cancelling scheduled bus or trains services, or replacing trains with buses, mostly due to staff shortage. I interpret that to mean many staff are sick, and they don’t have a big enough pool of relievers. There have been complaints about the low pay drivers receive; this should surely be remedied. I think many more people would use public transport if it were more reliable.
With regard to SH1, i.e. the new Transmission Gully highway, I think it’s a boon: it’s wonderful to drive on, it’s faster, and it must be great for the many coastal communities to have less traffic on what is now SH59 (formerly Sh1). Surely some distinction should be made here. Once again, the Guardian’s John Crace puts it rather well:
I talk to my cousin who has recently returned from Ngaruawahia. On her return, she and her husband stayed with her brother. He now has Covid 19. It’s all around us, and I fear we’re in for another wave. Some new variants have been detected here. It’s reported (early on Friday morning) that the number of new Covid 19 cases reported has risen by1,500 in a 24 hour period.
In the early evening we went to a talk from Andrew McKenzie, head of Kainga Ora (previously Housing New Zealand). He gave a very interesting talk about housing in New Zealand. He is a very intelligent person; his approach to people reminded me of how different everything felt under a Labour Government; the letter about the Winter Energy payment was genuinely pleasant, and I noticed in my dealings with ACC that their approach was much kinder than it had been previously.
JD and I have been very impressed at how Kainga Ora have partnered with Hōhepa in Hawkes Bay to find suitable homes for Hōhepa as they endeavour to move people to safer environments, where it is easier to evacuate households in need, but the need is far less likely to arise. They have also been looking for clusters of houses, i.e. housing that would be suitable for Hōhepa. Residents and staff now sleep on safer ground, but the iconic beautiful peaceful grounds at Clive are used tor daytime activities and festivals.
After we got home I had a cup of coffee. This was probably a really bad idea – although I was very tired, I hardly slept all night.
It’s now Friday October 28th.
I noticed that my usual cleaner from Access was not scheduled to come, so I decided to cancel. I rang the Wellington number, and was about to leave a message, but the message box was full! I got put through to the 0800 number, and spoke to a real person. The replacement was due to come at 10:30 am, not 12:05 as scheduled, so I was happy to cancel.
Many buses and trains have been cancelled, or trains replaced by buses, because of staff shortages. It’s reported that the numbers of Covid 19 cases are increasing, alarmingly. Yesterday I heard of several more cases among people I know, including many that have avoided it thus far. Still, everyone can get Paxlovid now. You can get free RAT tests too, and masks and hand sanitiser are readily available. There are also vaccinations and boosters. Still and all, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
The Guardian today leads with some sombre climate news: the UN finds “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place”. This was a limit that some nations aspired to – but already drastic climate change is here. On the same webpage I read that the new British PM, Rishi Sunak, is not going to attend the next climate conference in Egypt. Even Boris went to the COP conference in Glasgow! It seems very sad that neither King Charles nor Sunak will be attending. Sunak did stop fracking going ahead, as Liz Truss had ordered; I wonder why the British don’t grow more food – there are may would-be immigrants who would be prepared to work in the fields, or in the NHS, for that matter.
It seems that Elon Musk has bought Twitter; he has recently opined on the situation in Ukraine and Taiwan – coming out on the side of the dictators. Someone has called him “Narco capitalist”.
In the US, as the mid-term elections draw near (only two weeks to go now? can we bear it?) the podcasts are pretty silly in their obsessions with US politics. I am upset that there seems to be a common view that in the Fetterman vs. Oz debate, Fetterman came off worst, because of his stroke. As someone who has had an SAH, now termed a type of stroke, I find this extremely frustrating. I lost the power of speech completely for a time, and still find it difficult too speak sometimes, or find thee fight words. I remember Gabby Giffords saying that easy, flowing speech was a thing of the past. I knew exactly what she meant. I have trouble making myself understood at times, especially when wearing a mask; I much prefer face to face conversations, rather than telephone conversations. My brain, I think, is fine, but I do get very tired. I admire John Fetterman for taking part in a debate – it’s an extraordinarily stressful thing to do; many politicians “mis-speak” at times, and who can blame them? Trump seemed quite senile at times, although that’s just my impression (a shared one, though).
That’s it for now. Putin has said there’s no need politically or militarily to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Do we believe him this time? Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi nui.