In June 2016 I voted to leave the European Union. A lot of people seemed to have been surprised by this, given my addiction to travelling in Europe.
But my vote to leave was not a vote against close ties with the continent. I love Europe! I just don’t want to be in a political union with them. So in some ways, I suppose you could say I am pro-Europe and Anti-Brussels.
Rees-Mogg is one of those politicians who is very articulate, very quick thinking, responds well to the difficult questions, and can be quite funny at times.
The Palladium is not the first venue I’d think of going to for political discussion, but the venue I thought fitted the occasion quite well. But perhaps the strangest thing about the evening was buying an ice cream from Jacob Rees-Mogg during the interval.
As the Express put it, he was “in such an upbeat mood about the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union that he stopped a political event halfway through to sell ice-creams to guests“.
He has the ability to paint Brexit in a very positive light, something the Government doesn’t do at all well, and made a very strong case (one very difficult to disagree with) for his Conservative values.
The evening overall was very enjoyable – I don’t get much opportunity to hear political discussion in such an environment – a whole evening from one single politician instead of soundbites on the news.
A full recording of the night can be heard on the Spectator website, have a listen and see what you think.
An Afternoon in London
I drove in to Central London earlier in the day and parked in the underground car park at Cavendish Square, just off Oxford Street. Driving in Central London isn’t easy.
It is quite intensive driving in a way, the level of concentration when driving along Knightsbridge, round Hyde Park Corner, and in towards W1 is considerably more than, for example, driving a Trabant in Berlin, or driving my car through Cologne or Hamburg at rush hour. Driving in London certainly isn’t for nervous drivers.
This was my first time driving in to the centre on a weekday. Tuesday afternoon traffic meant that from the M4/M25 junction it took me an hour to get in. (The quickest I’ve done it in, last April, was I think around 30 minutes – that was on a Saturday morning).
Before going to the Palladium, I spent an afternoon in Central London. A Greek-style lunch at the Ergon café on Maddox Street – This was followed by a walk in the afternoon Sun.
It was a warm day on Tuesday (21 degrees at Kew Gardens) and I had walked all the day down, via Pall Mall, Buckingham Palace, The Mall and St. James’s Park, to Westminster which took slightly more than an hour.
It was quite weird in a way – Walking around Britain in just a t-shirt in February!
I turned round and walked back up towards the theatre, via my car so that I could fetch my coat – It would be dark and cold by the time I finished in the theatre.
I had originally planned to eat after the theatre but it finished later than I had anticipated so I decided on just going back to the car and stopping at the services on the way.
Normally the sat nav from Cavendish Square tries to take me out to the M40 but I don’t like that route as it involves going round Oxford – I’d much rather do M4/A419 so I ignored the sat nav on the way out of the car park and followed signs to Marble Arch, then the sat nav recalculated as I headed down towards Hyde Park Corner, and turned on to Knightsbridge.
The return journey took longer than it should have done, thanks to the night-closure of the M4 from the Chiswick Roundabout to just before Heathrow – but otherwise not bad, I made it home at about 01:10 on Wednesday morning.
It was a bit of a long day, but not a bad way to spend my Tuesday afternoon.