In case you had not noticed I left the country last Thursday but reentered last night. During my absence I found out Nick Clegg speaks Dutch perfectly, without any trace of an accent. Can you imagine – as a simple Dutchman I was watching the news and suddenly this bloke I recognise since the debate last week, is telling me in Dutch about British politics. He even made sense in that guttural language and lets face it, Dutch may not be the most useful language in the world, it more people speak it than Latin BoJo.
Now we can safely refer to Nick Clog, I also found out he speaks Spanish. I am beginning to wonder how much more I did not know about him and of course whether it is all this favourable. I will leave that to the press to dig into – I am sure they will find something. After all, now people know he actually exists it is time to start pulling out the big guns and start shooting at him.
No, what I noticed most over the weekend was the lack of planes flying overhead. Well, to be honest I heard more about it on the news than I noticed the lack of planes, but it brought back memories of the car free Sundays we had in Holland in the 70s. From 4th November 1973 until 6th January 1974 you were not allowed to operate any car on any road in the country. Unlike the current flying ban it was much less of an inconvenience and people took to walking along motorways. Kids played on the streets and many people enjoyed the break from the car.
I saw something similar in the town I live in Holland this weekend. One of the major arteries around the town is being refurbished. Again children were playing in the streets in a way not done for dozens of years.
To my surprise I have not heard the environmental crowd crow about the 100,000 flights or so that have been cancelled. This must have some environmental benefit. In the meantime of course the impact on Enterprise Britain has not been mentioned either. The airlines want financial support and I suspect they will get it. After all they are big and failing would have a major impact. But the suffering for Enterprise Britain is also big.
An example of the impact is the school I am a governor of. The head teacher is stuck in the Canary Islands. The executive leader is in Minorca or someplace like that, so the school is left to fend for itself. Many companies making up Enterprise Britain will not have the financial resources of John Cleese to pay a taxi driver £5,000 to drive them from Copenhagen to Brussels. Neither will they have their salaries paid whilst they continue to enjoy the sun like these public sector employees. They simply carry the burden of the flying ban.
Several people have asked me how my trip back to the UK was on Monday. Well, I must confess it was close to perfect. I left my home in Holland at 6.35 in the evening and arrived home in England 4 hours and 45 minutes later. The roads were clear, the Eurotunnel check in went faster than it has ever gone before as there was nobody there and the journey was completed in record time – for the first time ever under 5 hours.
So Mr Brown, send a few coaches over to the major airports and start getting people back. Those same coaches could take people from the London airports to the airports in Europe. It would not solve all problems, but would lighten the load a lot more than a couple of battleships cruising around Calais harbour. Perhaps Nick Clog could give you some sensible advice at the same time as advising on how to conduct televised debates. In the meantime, I hope the people living around airports enjoy the sound of birds and that Enterprise Britain survives this new challenge thrown at it.