Welcome to my day: 30 May 2022 – “what do you mean, it’s not a bank holiday?”

Not much tends to happen here on a Bank Holiday, which makes the job of a Day Editor a mite easier. And then the Queen has a platinum jubilee and the usual schedule gets disrupted…

And I ought to wish Her Majesty the very best on her big day – it really is remarkable that she has reigned for seventy years, demonstrating her sense of duty and adherence to a code of behaviour and decorum alien to her Prime Minister. She’ll be a difficult act to follow and I do wonder what role a new monarch will have in a post-Elizabethan age.

Mind you, you have to wonder what will be left of ethical governance by the time Johnson has left office. The Gray Report hardly demonstrated any sense of adherence to a moral or ethical code and the reports that, far from being a true reflection of events, it was doctored in order to prevent exposure of the failings and misdeeds of key players at the heart of this administration, suggests that there is no level to which they will not stoop.

With civil servants deeply unhappy about the continued presence of Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service – who should have handed in his notice by now – there is nobody left in whom any faith should be placed. And whilst there appear to have acts consistent with what might properly be expected by individuals, I fear that too many of them were taken out of a sense of self-preservation rather than on any moral principle. A bit like the average Conservative MP, you might say, complicit in allowing their leader to debauch their Party and our democracy.

On the plus side, Conservatives are now so desperate to persuade us to overlook their glaring failings that they are forced to do the right thing in order to move the story on. That said, Rishi Sunak and the Treasury have managed to set back their own commitment to net zero by offering massive incentives to accelerate the extraction and use of fossil fuels and are probably just putting off the evil day when this will need to be paid for. It is a reminder that, whilst they were quite good at slogans, governing requires rather more thought and is infinitely more complex.

Conveniently for the Government, Parliament doesn’t sit this week, as it’s the Whitsun Recess, which leaves time for campaigning in Tiverton and Honiton and also Wakefield.

I’ve noticed a few comments suggesting, in a rather accusatory manner, that not enough people are going down to Devon to help out. Might I politely note that people have lives, and that whilst every extra pair of hands or feet is invaluable, making people feel guilty is hardly likely to help in the long term. But I have been impressed by the distances people have been willing to travel and the hours they have put in. It isn’t going to be the shoe-in that some commentators are suggesting, but we can win. The Conservatives are on the run, if stories about the silencing of their candidate are to be believed.

Finally, our polling numbers appear to be picking up, regularly in double figures again and up to 14% in one poll last week. The positive coverage from the local elections reminds voters that we’re still out there and another by-election gain would give us momentum. So, if there’s anything you can do, please do. Those of us with elections next year would welcome a favourable wind…

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.

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