Proof reading. The most boring of all literary activities, but thankfully finished yesterday, and the corrections sent in. So now I can’t add or change anything; which is a huge relief, even though I know that ideas will keep coming to me which ought to be included, and events happen in the next few weeks which might cause me to rethink what I’ve already written. I’ve tried to hedge my bets on – for example – Boris’s fate over the next few days or weeks (or even hours?), and on future prospects for the country more generally. It’s no part of a historian’s duty to predict in any case. We know better than most how many predictions have come croppers in the past. (The longevity of the British Empire was one.)
Who would have thought, for example, that it would be a party that would prove Boris’s nemesis – if indeed it does (I’m not predicting) – after all his other egregious failings, stupidities and political sins? I imagine this is because it brings into the equation human interest stories that are the main diet of the popular press, and of far more concern to its readers than big and really important political events, like Brexit and the upcoming – possibly: again, no predictions – Russia-Ukraine war. Stories of ‘ordinary’ people having to say their tearful goodbyes to dying relatives through windows, while their censorious rulers are flouting the rules and living it up in Whitehall, and then laughing about it, are bound to strike home, more sharply than almost anything. It’s the perfect mesh of the personal and the political. Couldn’t the government have predicted this?
Incidentally, here in Sweden we’re seeing Swedish warships in the Stockholm Archipelago. How far away is Ukraine from us?