It’s wet, and our windows here in Devon are being battered by a Channel gale. Harman’s Equality Act has been passed from the grave. The biggest for etc etc has been applied to welfare reform (again), and Lord Young thinks Health & Safety rules are a music hall joke. They won’t be when Hattie gets another shot at it – jokes won’tbe allowed under Hattie: she’ll be the only joke allowed in future Britain. Oh, and it’s 28 degrees in South West France this morning.
It’s great to be back. Oddly enough, I’m serious: for all its growing divisive madness, Britain is still my home. Shopping in English is so much easier. Jokes are far more easily shared: “We haven’t got a single port left in Ireland” said a trucker hacked off by the anti-austerity strikes. “You don’t seem to have any banks either” I replied. “Ah, roight” he responded in a flash, “But the ports will still be above de water tomorrow”.
The first and most obvious thing one spots here is the complete lack of denial about Crash 2. But then, the average age down here is 57, and there are very few people whose sanity depends on keeping up the pretence of normality. 65% of properties in the South West are bought without a mortgage. Two-thirds of the population in our area live on retirement pots and investments of one form or another.
As I was rediscovering these realities yesterday, it suddenly struck me that I felt especially relaxed again. Everywhere is green and hedged – with no fund managers in sight. Joking in one’s own tongue, back in one’s real home. Talking to real, solid people with shared life experiences and little or no debt. Not having to explain everything, or be told I am just a grumpy old man who doesn’t understand.
We’re back among our pack again. The mad herd and the blissfully insouciant are nowhere to be seen. This is why I feel safe and relaxed this morning. Even if my body clock is still on French time.