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Europe’s garam hawa and Brexit


The continent’s summer of sweltering discontent can only add fuel to the heated debate between ‘remainers’ and ‘leavers’ as UK heads into a bruising general election 2025

In Noel Coward’s song only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. However, as Europe scorches under record-breaking summer temperatures, with selfie-taking tourist hotspot like Rome’s Spanish Steps and Athens’ Acropolis registering 44°C temperatures, crazed canines who venture out in the blaze of noonday, might have to do so without the companionship of John Bull, Jane Bull, and a brood of little Bulls.

Holiday-makers in Britain are reportedly cancelling planned European sojourns in droves, fearful of becoming human barbecue by the sizzling heat, which is turning the beach-bathing skin of their compatriots unfortunate enough to already be there, to the painful pink of char-grilled lobsters.

International media is abuzz like a swarm of angry bees with reports of European road sign-painters fainting from their exertions in the furnace of afternoon. Many schools have declared closure to protect their wards from the unprecedented solar ferocity and more and more offices are changing their operation hours so as to begin work in the relative coolth of the early morning at 6 am and shut shop before 3 pm, deemed to be the hottest part of the day.

Will Britain’s Summer Holiday as rhapsodised by the 1963 Cliff Richard starrer of that name be as much a thing of the past as the octogenarian pop icon himself? Will sunseeking Britannia no longer rule the waves that separate her from the Continent, where the wogs begin at Calais, and where they’ll jolly well understand what you’re saying if you say it loud enough in English, ek bloody dum?

Even as parts of Europe are literally ablaze, with heat-generated wildfires reported from the Greek island of Rhodes, Cool Britannia is literally playing it cool in Summer 2023, with temperatures for the most part averaging a pleasant maximum of 24°C or below.

This has made what in the tourism trade are known as ‘staycations’ a growth industry. A staycation is a vacation in which you take your holiday break within the borders of your own country, or even within the comfort-zone of your own home, making occasional forays to local attractions.

What might be called the Staycation Syndrome could well buttress Britain’s reputation for insularity, as the natives discover the hitherto undetected charms of hidden gems in the back of the boonies of their very own sceptred isle, with names of arch quaintness such as Nether Wallop, and shibbolethic tongue-twisters like Happisburgh (pronounced Haze-burra)-on-Sea.

Europe itself could welcome such a development, as it would ease the swarming hordes of tourists whose overwhelming incursions have required municipal authorities in Italy and elsewhere to impose prohibitive fines on visitors loitering without intent on Venice’s Rialto Bridge, taking an unskinny dip in Rome’s Trevi Fountain, or strolling sans shirts through the streets of Florence.

The winds of extreme climate change may well be set to blow not only through the travel business but also through the realm of politics.

With UK’s 2025 general elections looming on the poll-bound horizon, and the Tories’ precarious perch in office auguring a possible anti-Brexit Labour victory, thus raising the likelihood of another referendum on Britain’s relationship with the EU, the heated debate between the so-called ‘remainers’ and ‘leavers’ will become even more impassioned, with Europe’s summer of sweltering discontent adding fuel to the fire.

The Brexiteers might convincingly argue that they’re well shot of the EU which, with its Brussels-based babucracy, could have insisted that it offloads some of its excessive heat to tantalisingly temperate Britain, on the grounds that the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, which laid the foundation stone for the conjoining of the member states, mandates a share-and-share-alike spirit of cooperation and fair give-and-take.

The anti-Brexiteers, or ‘remainers’, would be hard pressed to rebut such a contention, except perhaps to sound a warning that global climate change could well ensure Britain’s enforced import of Europe’s steamy weather, Maastricht Treaty or no Maastricht Treaty, like it or lump it.

In which case, shouldn’t Britain prepare itself for such torrid onslaughts, by redesigning homes and workplaces so as to not become summer hothouses, perhaps even incorporating the effete American affectation called air-conditioning, by Gad?

Britain might start rolling the ball in that direction by learning to sing the blues and join in Europe’s chorus: Summertime, and the living is awful,/Our sweat is dripping,/And the mercury’s high,/The sunburn’s a bitch,/And the rash is bad-looking,/So bawl, EU baby, as we fry…



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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