Monday, 9 September 2019


Maybe I’m in a genial mood because I’m about to go for a week’s rest, relaxation and reflection in Spain. When I discovered there’s going to be seven days of wall-to-wall sun there I felt even more genial. It’s the opportunity to read a book a day and fill my mind with new thoughts, plots and excitement.

My geniality was enhanced by Amy Ryder. Amy  works for British Airways. Here’s why we spoke. When our flights to Malaga were cancelled because of the pilots’ strike I tried to get my refund. It was at moments like this that automation and technology seem sadly wanting. With some 450,000 other thwarted customers also trying to get refunds on their PCs the BA systems crashed. Eventually I e-mailed Alex Cruz the BA CEO  and Chairman saying I realised he was busy but could he get someone to sort out my problem. Enter Amy. She was professional, charming, relaxed – in short, a delight and a brilliant example of customer service.  It took five minutes of unscripted conversation on the phone for her to sort my problem and five minutes for my faith in BA to be fully restored. Charm makes magic.

In contrast Parliament has been charmless. No worse than that,  thuggish, barbarian and stupid. Boris is not and has never been restrained. Reckless, rumbustious and expansive describes the man. But his behaviour was dwarfed by the baying crowds around him. I began to feel parliament had been prorogued by for far too short a time. How about proroguing it forever? And then within their ranks there were wistful reflections that maybe they could have another shot at Theresa May’s deal. Increasingly “no deal”  begins to feel like the vet’s humane killer gun necessary to put us out of our misery. The worst thing, of course, is their shocking manners and hostility.

How do we unite this broken country I heard someone wail. It’s doable but only if we encourage people to listen, think and debate good humouredly. I heard some signs of this on Any Answers on Saturday but presenter Anita Anand sounded frustrated as people phoning in were in succession thoughtful Brexiteers who kept on reminding her that the government had pledged to do what the referendum told them to do. “But no one voted for no deal” she retorted “No one didn’t not vote for it either” someone said. Hmm! Presenters and interviewers seem rather keen to stir things up which is regrettable.

In the meantime the BBC and everyone else needs to calm things down. The mood of the nation must be less adversarial and , yes, more genial. Recently I met someone who said how much he hated Christmas yet it’s that Christmas spirit we need. Here’s what Washington Irving who was the real inventor of the Christmas we love said:

So I’m off to Spain, the land of lazily enjoying life in ultimate geniality.
Se amable. Que te diviertas. Feliz Septiembre.

No comments: