This Septic Isle

David Bullard on why he'll be boycotting Britain again this year


I last went overseas back in 2019. That was a trip to England to see the family and some friends who are scattered all over the British isles. This involves a fair bit of travel once I am in the UK with the farthest flung being up in Scotland. Back in 2019 I could just about afford and justify (since I was travelling without MrsB) flying down the sharp end of Emirates. The very sharp end in seat 1A.

There are those who think taking more than 20 hours to get to London when you can get there much faster on a European airline is sheer folly. But if you have all the time in the world then why not enjoy the journey? I have been travelling Emirates Business Class and most recently First Class for more than a decade but that was back in the days when I made at least one overseas trip a year. In the early days Emirates offered such good deals on Biz class to gain market share that it would have been crazy to decline the offer. But their marketing worked and I was hooked so when the prices rose I still made sure that I travelled on Emirates, despite the two hour stopover at 2am in the morning Dubai time.

The human body is a wondrous thing and after the ten hour flight from Cape Town, having been pampered with fine food and wine and spent most of the flight binge-watching the excellent ‘Killing Eve’ I felt as fresh as the proverbial daisy as I hit a wall of humidity on disembarking at Dubai. But it wasn’t too long before I was in the First Class lounge and cigar bar tucking into a plate of sushi.

My shoes had been taken away for polishing and I had been given some slippers to wear (imagine this happening in SA….you’d never see your shoes again) and when I asked the waiter if it was possible to have some dry white wine to go with the sushi he brought a bottle of chilled ‘Y’, a dry white Bordeaux from the famous Chateau d’Yquem. It was delicious so I decided to Google it and found that I was drinking a bottle of wine costing the equivalent of around R4500 at the time. So naturally I finished it before dragging myself off to the nearby departure gate for the next leg of the trip to London. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Travelling down the sharp end on Emirates is probably the nearest you can get to having your own private jet and after the cabin staff have welcomed you aboard, introduced themselves, poured the first glass of 2009 Dom Perignon and asked what time you would like your shower in the morning it’s simply a matter of soaking up all the luxury. I hadn’t expected the offer of a shower but I opted for 6am London time and after a very restful night’s sleep the cabin crew duly turned up with fluffy white towels and I had an invigorating hot shower at 40 000 feet over Europe. Followed by a glass or two of chilled Sauternes prior to landing at Gatwick.

But those days are over I fear. My British passport was renewed in 2020 and it has yet to have a stamp in it. Covid was partly to blame for this and I certainly wasn’t going to travel anywhere while all sorts of absurd masking rules applied. Besides, I was unvaxxed and wouldn’t have been allowed on board anyway.

The reality is that the flight to London on Emirates that I enjoyed back in 2019 costs more than double the price now. While that doesn’t make it unaffordable it does suggest to me that there are far better things to spend my money on such as a few days game viewing in the Kruger park or a trip to Namibia.

The real killer though is the exchange rate. A fairly decent meal at a good restaurant in the UK will set me back at least R800 a head. The seven course tasting menu at a favourite restaurant in West Sussex with a wine pairing now costs the equivalent of R3960 and that’s before the obligatory 12.5% service charge is added. For less than half that price I can visit any number of top restaurants in the Cape winelands and enjoy a better view. A bottle of the cheapest red wine at this restaurant costs the same as a bottle of the sublime Rust en Vrede Estate wine. In London the prices would be even higher.

But it’s not just the punishing exchange rate that puts me off visiting my homeland. I’ve come to realise that I don’t much like the place any more. So do I really want to take the trouble to book for a West End show (at upwards of R800 a ticket) only to find myself in the midst of a throng of pro Hamas demonstrators chanting slogans? Or maybe it’s the turn of the transgender lobby to meet in central London and lay claim to victimhood.

If I was to take an Uber to get somewhere there is a good chance I will be delayed by anti fossil fuel cretins who have glued themselves to the road or are walking at a snail’s pace to deliberately cause traffic congestion.

Should the railway network by some happy miracle not be on strike and should I be able to get up to London from Surrey and visit an art gallery then the chances are somebody with green hair and multiple body piercings will have thrown tomato soup over whatever it is I have come to see.

And heaven help me if I should get ill while I am away because either the junior doctors will be on strike or I won’t be able to get an appointment for three weeks without handing over a substantial bribe. And don’t even get me started on the weather. A top temperature of 13C on Easter Sunday with six days of rain was forecast.

The reality is that I would almost certainly be arrested if I were to go back to the UK. For example I might be tempted to wave the flag of St George during a ‘sensitive’ demonstration against the ‘genocide’ in Gaza and that would guarantee that the lads from the Metropolitan Police would have to arrest me and charge me with a trumped up hate crime. Should I completely cover my face with a balaclava and a green Hamas head band, upturn rubbish bins and wave a Palestinian flag I would be perfectly safe though.

I would almost certainly lose my temper with anyone from Extinction Rebellion blocking the road during a demo and may well accidentally spill something rather wet and smelly on them which would also guarantee my arrest.

However, it is the sustained assault on freedom of speech that disgusts me most about modern Britain. Should you hold the somewhat outdated belief that there are only two biological sexes and think that all this talk of multiple genders is a lot of lefty nonsense then you can find yourself in real trouble. You may well be publicly humiliated, receive death threats and even lose your job. A male teacher who refused to recognise a biologically female student’s sudden use of male pronouns was sacked for ‘gross misconduct’ and his appeal against the sacking failed.

Universities regularly ‘deplatform’ visiting speakers they believe could trigger all sorts of sensitivity among students. In reality they are banning anybody with a point of view that disagrees with their narrowly accepted and so called ‘progressive’ narrative. Debate and discussion used to be the whole point of attending university but that’s no longer the case.

In Scotland it’s even worse. A law has been passed which came into force appropriately on April 1st which creates a whole slew of new ‘hate crimes’. Police Scotland don’t bother to investigate normal criminal activity any more and who can blame them? If you turn up at the scene of a crime you could run into criminals and that could well be dangerous. Plus there’s all that investigating to do to establish what happened and when. Now Police Scotland simply have to monitor social media and look for anything that might be offensive.

In fact, all that’s needed for a visit from the fuzz it seems is a complaint that somebody has been offended. According to a recent article in The Guardian newspaper

The law extends the offence of stirring up hatred, which has existed in relation to racial hatred since 1986, to other protected characteristics: age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity and variations in sex characteristics sometimes known as being intersex.

J K Rowling is already expecting a tsunami of anonymous complainants regarding her outdated views on there being only two biological choices and her stubborn insistence that trans-women are still biologically male. According to the lead feature in a recent edition of The Spectator magazine:

Rajan Barot, a former fraud prosecutor for the CPS, has warned

J.K. Rowling, who lives in Edinburgh, said that her old posts on Twitter ‘most likely contravene the new law’ and advised her to ‘start deleting’. She replied that she will not be expunging anything: ‘If you genuinely imagine I’d delete posts calling a man a man, so as not to be prosecuted under this ludicrous law, stand by for the mother of all April Fools’ jokes.’

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act now allows any narcissist, circus freak whackjob who wants to wallow in the self pity of victimhood to attack any rational person in Scotland. That comment alone would definitely get me locked up which is why I won’t be visiting the UK anytime soon. The Orwellian nightmare has arrived.