July is fast upon us, real time is all at sea and is itself not at all certain where it should anchor while inside this upside down, lockdown world the weather is decidedly March like. Gales are doing their best to blow down my recently established oak trees. Of course I am well aware that oaks are not usually to be found in the average smallish urban back garden but I have planted three and would rather like them to remain upright. They are there for two reasons. In the case of the Red Oak I just love their handsome leaves in the autumn and I have placed it where it will make the best contrast with an acer which decays beautifully through a soft orange to a buttery yellow. The other two are indigenous English Oaks. I grew them both from acorns from which it is said, as a general rule, great oaks trees grow. Oak trees are hosts to more wildlife than almost any other indigenous species and to encourage those is my reason for planting them. I intend to control, prune, and manage them to a size somewhat less than ‘great’.
The government continues to flail about wildly. Such is the reversal of public opinion that polls of voter intentions for the next general election give the conservatives a lead of an average of only 5% over the last 10 polls compared with an average of 22% over a 10 poll group just after the 2019 election. A private prosecution against the Scumbag has been told that there is a reasonable chance of conviction and the same Scumbag is also likely to be convicted of employment offences for mistreating an adviser he forced out. Neither the johnson or his cabinet of curiosities are able to inspire the kind of trust and gravitas expected of politicians. This is unlikely to change in my view. The costly mistakes of Grayling (remember he bought a ferry company with no ferries!), the lies and false promises of the Leave campaign, especially that ‘no-deal’ was ruled out along with any lowering either our food standards or employment protection laws. All of these promises either have or will be broken and directly impact voters. They are highly negative mistakes which cannot be undone or spun in any better light.
And then came The Covid. The government’s management of it has been late and disastrous, the treacherous Scumbag has been exposed for the over powerful extremist he is, the johnson for the lazy, incompetent, drama queen he is, 65000 excess deaths above normal averages at the time of writing, and the demise of a ‘world beating’ Coronavirus App at huge expense which will not now even be ready for the widely predicted second wave. The ‘one law for them another for us’ trope has at last settled into the nation’s consciousness. Today the City of Leicester, it has been announced, might be put back into lockdown.
Those of us who support the rule of law and the way our unwritten constitution operates were already concerned at the liberties being taken, corruption being ignored and lying to Parliament with impunity. We are so concerned that we believe our whole democratic system, hard won over 600 years of Parliamentary history, a beacon to the free world and emulated as a fine working exemplar in many other countries is now under threat. It is not unrealistic to be worried that a kind of dictatorship looms ahead for Britain indeed today the head of our independent Civil Service was forced out and replaced by a political appointee. This is not fanciful scare mongering. The government’s behaviour can only be explained or understood by assuming that they do not expect ever to be held to account for it either in law or at the ballot box.
Can we hope that they have laid the groundwork for and planted the seeds of their own destruction? We can hope but I am far from sure. It might just turn out that those who voted them into office might have planted the seeds of their own destruction and from those seeds a great disaster will emerge. I consider it my job, as a responsible, optimistic gardener, to continue to prune, snip, chop and saw especially at the old diseased wood and if necessary hack away until the thing is under control or dug up altogether.