Less Sour Grapes

BY ROGER WATSON

I tend to listen to the BBC Radio Today programme, so others don’t have to. I usually pop it on while I am shaving, as I did this week. It has progressed over the years from being a terrible programme to being a truly terrible one. Well known for its commentators competing to be the person who interrupts interviewees the most it now has the self-righteous Nick Robinson who answers all the questions he is about to answer. As Charles Moore said in the recent Spectator:

“Since he has the answers to all his own questions why does not Nick just interview himself?”

The only people who do not get interrupted are the representatives of the woke brigade. Thus, any number of bleating climate change fanatics, intersectionalists or the Covid orthodox get a fair hearing. This week was no different and they tried on Monday morning (11 July) to ramp up fear about what the heatwave meant (at 08:45 if you can bear it). I came to this item having just read Toby Young’s amusing, upbeat and nostalgic piece in the Mail on Sunday about the great heatwave of 1976. It is worth recalling that was 46 years ago. If there is a pattern of heatwaves developing, I don’t see it myself.

Toby, ever the writer as he had a diary to refer back to, recalled playing with his friends and swimming in the searing heat. Nobody was ushering them inside or slapping on layers of sun cream. Remarkably, as I recall those days very well (I was at university), there were no doom mongers in the media trying to nanny us into hyper-safety. I recall enjoying every minute of it as I am enjoying this one. In fact, I have just been in Italy where it was even hotter, and I am missing that already.

But back to the ‘clanging chimes of doom’ on Today. The feature on the heatwave was introduced and, of course, a couple of compliant experts were on hand to plump up the narrative. At one time there may at least have been two people with a slightly different take on an issue. But not these days; the Boring Bunch of Chancers (aka the BBC) must not risk upsetting anyone so the ante must be upped at every opportunity. Therefore we had Professor Mike Tipton from the University of Portsmouth Extreme Climate Change Unit (no alarm bells ringing there!) and Julia King (aka Baroness Brown) of the Carbon Trust (ok a few alarm bells are going off now). The essence of their combined message was that we should all take care, especially if we are old. We must not stay out in the sun too long and we must drink plenty of water. I think we could have worked that one out by ourselves thank you and anyone too stupid to work that one out deserves all the sunburn and dehydration that’s coming to them. If only it had stopped there.

This heatwave was part of a pattern we were seeing. To adapt to this climate emergency, we may have to consider adopting a more Mediterranean lifestyle (I was all ears) and that might involve…wait for it…not working in the middle of the day. Essentially, we should be adopting the siesta time so favoured of some of the hotter places on the Mediterranean. I nearly cut myself shaving. Let’s look at some of the countries that shut shop in the middle of the day and see how they are doing; for example, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, collectively and derogatively knows as the PIGS due to their tragic and ongoing financial situations. Could that be anything to do with several hours of economic inactivity in the middle of the day (even in winter), a wine-fuelled lunch and then a half-hearted return to work late afternoon and an early finish? I speculate and leave you to judge.

But it is not all bad news. British wine growers are having a field day and French champagne producers are buying up land here to grow their grapes. What is not to like about that? Britain could become self-sufficient in champagne, provided we are allowed to call it that. If climate change and heat waves are the new normal, bring them on.

Roger Watson is a Registered Nurse and Editor-in-Chief of Nurse Education in Practice.

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