A LOT of hilarity in the past few days about the Costa del Sol Brits who are having to pack up and return to Brexit Britain thanks to new post-Brexit regulations.
It’s hard not to find Brits in Spain funny – or perhaps proposterous might be the word. Anyone who has ever been to a resort where Brits – or perhaps more accurately the English – have a substantial presence will recognise the places where they congregate. Watney’s Red Barrel on draught. All-day breakfasts. Yesterday’s Sun and Daily Mail. Union jacks around the pool table. Portrait of the queen behind the bar.
And yet Squinter can’t help but feel a little sorry for them as they gather their kiss-me-quick union jack cowboy hats and their Spitfire beach towels and fly back to their rainy regional airports. Because the truth is that Brexit was not their fault. Fair enough, you can argue that they failed to exercise due diligence. But when your main interest in life is karaoke at the Benidorm Rose & Crown, the fine detail of international politics and trade is most likely not something you take an active interest in.
So you’re sitting on a barstool munching a pickled egg and ordering another pint from barman Ron while keeping an eye on the 1.35 at Newmarket on satellite TV. You’ve just read a day-old Daily Mail which told you the main street in your old town is overrun with Somalis and Pakistanis and leaving the EU is the only way to get them out. You don’t give much thought as to how leaving Europe is going to stop Africans and Asians coming to the UK. The day before that you read in The Sun that the Spanish have warships off the coast of Gibraltar playing anti-British songs over the Tannoy at full volume. And you tell your mate if fackin’ Pedro wants some we’ll give it to him before handing over four euros for your imported English bitter.
What you watched on Sky News and read in the UK press is all boolers, of course, handed to the English people by a cabal of right-wing billionaires whose attitude to Europe was best summed up by the journalist Anthony Hilton in a piece in the Evening Standard. “I once asked Rupert Murdoch why he was so opposed to the European Union. ‘That’s easy,’ he replied. ‘When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.’”
And when it’s said that the first thing every Tory Prime Minister thinks when considering policy is ‘What will the Daily Mail think?’ it’s small wonder that when the press barons of England have governments in their hands that they can bend Dave and Sandra from Wigan to their will.
So Squinter’s pretty much in agreement with the James O’Brien adage: ‘Sympathy for the conned, contempt for the conmen.’ For a massive con it was. If you were watching Sky News in the morning in your Costa holiday home before heading into town for a full English and you saw Michael Gove earnestly assuring you that Brexit would have no effect whatsoever on Brits in Spain, that’s as much due diligence as you’re likely to do. And when it turned out he was making it up as he went along to keep you on board the Brexit bus.
But behind that Costa cloud is a silver lining for others. The inevitable slump in the Spanish and French holiday home markets that will come as Brits start selling up and stop buying is going to be good news for anyone with an Irish passport who’s thinking of spending more time in the sun.
Perspective 101. For cynical reasons some pretend this unrest is a popular uprising. In fact, it's hyper-localised, sporadic, shambolic, tiny. Indicative of a) paramilitary druggies not being much good at anything else and b) unionist doom-mongering paying less every time.— Squinter (@squinteratn) April 5, 2021
The affair of the Teflon PM
LAST year American tech entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri told ITV’s Good Morning that she was refusing to confirm that she had an affair with Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London.
Given that he she was clearly and royally hacked off with him, it wasn’t altogether clear why she was being so coy. Perhaps she hoped for a reconciliation – who knows? But whatever obstacle lay in the way of her spilling the beans was blown to smithereens on Sunday when she gave an interview to the Sunday Mirror confirming in a great deal of prurient detail that the two had indeed been doing the dirty for fully four years.
Now there are not many people who when they think of Boris doing the deed who conjure up mental images of a toned Adonis with the staying power of a Grand National favourite and the technique of a Valentino. But while we’ve all seen the pictures of the PM’s Dolly Parton-scale man-boobs wobbling freely as he jogs in a woolly hat, his pasty while legs sticking out of preposterous Hawaiian shorts, you would need to have a strong constitution to picture him doing the deed on the sofa in his home while his cancer-struck wife was out.
Of course the smutty bits get the paper sales and the clicks and you could maybe – just maybe – understand why the BBC completely ignored the story if you take the view that the world is a very different place and social standards are much more relaxed than they were 30 or even 20 years ago. But the really important allegation is not that Boris Johnson didn’t care about cheating on his sick wife in the marital home, it is that he used his position as Mayor to advance his much younger lover’s career. He brought her abroad on taxpayer-funded trade trips and her tiny start-up company received £126,000 in sponsorship and grants.
The financial claims have been aired before, but against a background of Arcuri and Johnson both refusing to say whether they had had an affair. Now that the affair has been laid open – and given the extraordinary amount of detail included in the Sunday Mirror story Johnson has not denied it and is very unlikely to – the story has taken on a new lease of life. But not at the BBC, which, fresh from beginning its promised assault on ‘woke’ comedy, has decided that the Greater London Authority launching an investigation into the Prime Minister’s behaviour in relation to the trips and the money isn’t worth writing or saying a word about.
Last week it was revealed that Johnson had said the relative success of the UK’s vaccine roll-out was attributable to “greed” and “capitalism”. This appalling Gordon Gekko-style outburst was duly reported by the BBC, you’ll be delighted to hear. Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg wrote: “Another of those present told me the prime minister’s ‘greed’ comments had been intended to poke fun at the chief whip, who was gobbling his cheese and pickle while sitting next to him. Believe it or not, the party boss of discipline, Mark Spencer, has been christened with the nickname ‘Big Farmer’, like ‘Big Pharma’ – the pharmaceutical companies.” And how we all laughed.
So there you have it. Boris Johnson wasn’t making a typically cruel and cynical Tory remark, rather he was simply cracking a harmless joke about a colleague’s choice of lunch.
If you think the Prince Andrew interview was cringeworthy listen to @jenniferaccuri on @vicderbyshire talking about somebody putting on Chinese accent when speaking to @BorisJohnson! #GeneralElection2019 #GE2019 @VictoriaLIVE pic.twitter.com/lpnzX8g0V4— Peter Devine (@peterdevineManc) November 18, 2019
We’ve reached the stage now where Johnson has acquired Trumpian levels of Teflon immunity from criticism, never mind punishment. And with GB News about to go live on TV the radicalisation of the British media will be all but complete. Head buck cat of that august new outfit is Andrew Neil, who was allowed to wear the tie of the hard-right Adam Smith Institute while he presented the BBC’s Daily Politics, while Naga Munchetty, who just happens to be a BBC presenter of colour, continues to be hauled over the coals every time she opens her mouth or presses the Like button.