IT IS time to call off the prayer vigil, dear reader, the blessed news has arrived. Max Hastings has decided ‘not stay in Malaysia, but instead come home. We know that warm sands and azure seas do not represent our reality, but are instead a mere delightful temporary fantasy. At our age, much as we love abroad, we are incurably English, as are our dogs’. Hallelujah! Get the bunting out.
Sir Max writes his books in Malaysia, and here is a taste of the scene: ‘Dawn, here, embraces a pale beach and pillow-soft waves. Blue mountains blend into the horizon, while the foreground is adorned by a sailing ship of sublime grace. Each year at this time, I write a book in such a place as this, which inspires a self-indulgent orgy of adjectives, while also speeding the pen.’ Lucky, lucky Mad Max. Self-indulgent doesn’t even come close.
Mad Max Junior has also done well, for the father tells us: ‘I admire my own son, who upon leaving university declined to follow many school contemporaries into the twilight world of investment banking. Instead he created, from a standing start, a South American travel business. He is today equally at home in Buenos Aires, Rio, Cartagena and London, speaking English or Spanish.’ A true Anywhere! A superb citizen of the world! What a life! What a choice! Good for Max Jr, truly good for him, but what this has to do with anything other than the success of the Hastings family I don’t know.
In all the mad ‘this is what will happen to Britain post-Brexit’ articles this one in the Times must be the maddest. Here is yet another privileged boomer telling us how awful an ‘inward-looking country’ Britain will become after Brexit and that the youth should emigrate.
It used to be Peter Hitchens who said the best thing the youth could do was to leave crime-infested, debt-ridden Britain. Now it is the spoilt boomers who are not happy with Brexit. Peter Hitchens was ridiculed, but we are to take the Remainer boomers seriously on their advice.
I have no problem with the youth travelling or indeed emigrating, if that takes their fancy. But most people who have emigrated in the past are not like Max Jr who are so privileged they get to choose between becoming an investment banker or starting their own business.
No, many were plumbers and electricians who went to Australia where they don’t have to be an investment banker to afford a family home and can still earn a decent wage. That is why they left Britain – because they simply could have a life of modest success. And much of this was triggered by immigration which drove up house prices and forced down wages. This, unsurprisingly, was one of the reasons many voted to leave the EU.
It isn’t ‘inward-looking’ to vote in such a way that prevents your livelihood being shredded. You would have to be seriously out of touch and be doing something like writing books on the beach to believe this. You would have to be someone like Max Hastings.
Of course, young people, especially young men, should seek adventure and challenges abroad. There is nothing new in this. What is new is to trash your own country and display utter ignorance about the lives of your fellow citizens. But then when your view is ‘a pale beach and pillow-soft waves complete with blue mountains that blend into the horizon’ then total ignorance will surely follow.
There sure are inward-looking people around, and some of them can be found on a beach in Malaysia.