It’s a wonderful world in which anything can happen.
What a brilliant success for the hugely skilled Lionesses at Wembley Beating Germany (the footballing old enemy). 2-1 was a triumph; but that they did it in such an elegant and sporting way is a great credit to them all. It reminded me of my only trip to (the old) Wembley- supporting Chippenham Town in the finals of the Doc Marten’s Cup about 2001. I also well remember watching the 1966 World Cup finals - on an island in Germany’s Lake Konstanz. The German people were very sporting about their loss, and we must be as gracious in our victory as we were then. (My excellent Private Secretary Jenny Fleischer will, I am sure, rejoice with us despite her German nationality!)
The Conservative Leadership battle is (almost) as fair minded. I have moved my alliance to Rishi Sunak from Penny Mordaunt (who despite her defeat, nobly came to Bowood for a dinner attended by 160 people last Friday, followed by a lunch the next day). I attended Rishi’s rallies in Fairford and Devizes on Sunday and am full of admiration for his abilities and energy- as were the many hundreds of Conservative members who met him. I will similarly look forward to seeing Liz Truss in Devizes tomorrow and will of course listen very carefully to what she has to say. Both are first class candidates, and I am delighted that they have taken so much trouble to come down to Wiltshire to see us and seek our vote. I will be glad to serve behind either of them.
But if you had told me in 1966 on Lake Konstanz that 55 years later it would be the England Women’s team who would beat Germany in the UEFA Euro Cup; and that the two finalists in the contest for the leadership of the Tory Party and the PM would be a woman and a person of Asian ethnicity, I would simply not have believed it. In 1966 Harold Wilson was PM, and the British currency was still in Pounds Shillings and Pence; Margaret Thatcher had not been thought of as a potential PM and there was a tiny handful of either women or Black and ethnic minority MPs. What a magnificent triumph it is that racial and sexual equality is now where it is in the UK- and we must lead by example other less enlightened Parliaments round the world.
So I’ve packed my bucket and spade, and I’m off to Cornwall for a week with all sorts of family members, but most excitingly my first (and only so far) grandson. He’s not yet two years old, so will love the sun and sand and sea (weather permitting!) It’s been a tough few weeks for all of us, so I’m going to pack my computer away, have the post diverted and turn off my mobile phone in favour of a bit of surfing and a few (safe) barbecues. I can hardly wait.