I’m in Spain on holiday this week. Like many people who are obsessed by news, it’s difficult to switch off completely. I’d love to leave my phone and laptop at home but there’s always that fear of missing something. So far I’ve spent most of my time so far reading, sunbathing, having a dip in the pool and, yes, checking Twitter from time to time. Yesterday I drove down to the coast to visit an old LBC colleague who’s moved out here. The change in temperature was rather welcome. Here in Iznajar, 60 miles or so north of Malaga it’s well over forty degrees for most of the day. I genuinely love hot weather but this was too much on Monday. It was bad enough contracting a sore throat and a headache on the first day here without even further energy being sapped out of me. I did wonder what I had done to deserve it. My hosts think it was the fact that I am completely exhausted and have taken too much on over the last few months, and my body was kicking back. I suspect they might have a point.
Spanish civil servants can be even more pernickety that British ones. Their state owned utilities don’t brook any argument. Don’t pay you water bill after one reminder and they’ll cut you off with no warning at all. Fiddle your water supply and not only will they cut you off, they’ll never reconnect you either. Furthermore, they’ll tell your electricity supplier and they’ll cut you off too for good measure. One British expat had that happen ten years ago and to this day they haven’t managed to get reconnected. It’s certainly discouraged anyone else from trying it. Speed cameras here are ten to the dozen. It’s even easier to tot up 12 points than in Britain. But woe betide you if you do. What happens then is if you go over 12, they come and confiscate your car! At least, that’s what I’ve been told. They have a slightly more lax attitude to EU regulations they don’t like. Well, when I say lax, they just ignore them. A friend of our hosts used to run a slaughterhouse in the UK so when he was over here he went to visit a Spanish one. You really don’t want to know what he reported back. Suffice to say you’d never eat a piece of Spanish meat ever again. Loads of British butchers’ shops closed down because they couldn’t afford to meet EU hygiene regulations. In Spain, they ignore them. You drive by a butcher’s and they have slabs of meet on display, not in display fridges, but on wooden slabs in the open sun. And if ever any inspector made the bad decision to take them to task, I suspect they’d be drive out of town.
My friend, who we’re staying with, was a Conservative Party agent back in the 1980s and early 1990s. So she’s fairly switched on politically and follows the news. I was in the pool just now and she pipes up: “So what would be the effect of a no deal Brexit then?” What I really wanted to say was: “I’ve come here to get away from those conversations. Nice weather isn’t it?” But of course I didn’t.
I didn’t read the comments under my article last week. I was told they were mostly written by loons and Kippers who just cannot brook any thought that anyone can have a different point of view to them, and how dare I suggest that Boris’s burqa remarks were entirely premeditated. It’s the same mindset that seems to have decided that Party Chairman Brandon Lewis is now public enemy number one. He was described as Theresa May’s “henchman” and the instigator of a plot to expel Boris from the party. What a load of hogwash. The Party received more than 100 referrals for Boris to be questioned by the party’s conduct committee. The decision to open an investigation was, as I understand it, down to the party’s compliance rules and there was no choice to be had. I’m not sure that the party chairman would even have the power to step in and put a stop to it, and if he had, how would that have looked to the outside world? Some people need to calm the **** down.
I come back from Spain today and am spending the rest of my holiday at the Edinburgh Festival and in Norfolk. If you’re in Edinburgh on Sunday, so come along to see me be interviewed by the Reverend Richard Coles in his show called CONFESSIONS. It’s on at the Pleasance at 5pm. God knws what sordid confessions he’ll drag out of me.