August soon and the holiday season is peaking, the beaches still have a few sunbeds available for hire. There are entire yards or even meters of sand that have still to be claimed by a family or a romantic couple. Restaurants fill each evening with happy revellers enjoying a well earned night out with family and friends.
Meanwhile those with hangovers slowly recover in the gloom of hotel lobby or villa contemplating the bright beating sun and their throbbing heads. Children do as they have ever done, they play. Parents may be forgiven for being a little more anxious.
At least those of the UK are though of course parents of all of the EU nations may well be anxious looking at the change of Government in London. Boris Johnson has been invited to form a Government and is fast doing so. What seems clear is that those Ministers who were Remainers of whatever flavour have been shown the door or have thrown themselves across the threshold and so out of the Cabinet.
The EU appears to believe that the package Mrs Theresa May’s government repeatedly failed to get ratified by the Parliament may yet pass. They calculate that the package would lead eventually to the UK reapplying for membership rather than in fact leave. This strategic failure places us where we are now. Either leave with an agreement or none at all.
In a nutshell, the UK says no point in even meeting at Head of State level until the EU takes that paper off the table. The EU says come to Brussels and accept Theresa May’s exit agreement. To sweeten that bitter pill the EU might change the language of the none binding protocol or letter that has been stapled to the exit agreement.
Not only have Ministers changed at the Cabinet table all of the Remainers have gone. Many of the UK Civil Servants who have played a role in this saga over the last three years are in the process of either retiring permanently or being redeployed elsewhere. Those that remain in post and those that are being drafted in as replacements are being required to cancel or postpone their own holidays for the present or probably till after the 31st October.
They will not be seen on the beaches in Spain or pretty much anywhere else at least this year. Though perhaps the EU’s leaders and EU Civil Servants may be? I suspect if they do make it to the beaches as the sunny month of August wanes into September they may feel an urgent tug to return to their offices.
The peoples of most EU nations have not been advised by their governments what the consequence of a No-Deal will be for them. The discussion has been more philosophical or has simply reflected attitudes summed up by the view of “mad Brits”. Of course leaving with No-Deal will hurt the UK in the short term. It will hurt in the UK, that has been endlessly discussed . What few commentators have done in the EU at any level is to articulate what it will feel like in and throughout the EU.
Some countries will be massively impacted more or less at once. For others the effects will not be apparent for weeks or perhaps months. What price cool heads and steady hands in the coming months? Nature does not like a stalemate. Ground if held in a stalemate results in an earthquake. Let us all hope for a small one. Meanwhile I am enjoying the sun and having a lovely time on holiday.
Nick Horne, London, England