Magazine article The Spectator

Diary: Julie Burchill

Magazine article The Spectator

Diary: Julie Burchill

Article excerpt

More than 20 years ago, I left my fast life in London for a rather more relaxed one in Brighton and Hove. I never dreamt I could enjoy it more till all the business with the trains started up a few years back. The chaos at Southern Railway -- which has seen commuters lose their livelihoods and property prices all along the London-Brighton line plunge, and culminated last summer in the resignation of the rail minister Claire Perry -- has effectively put an end to the one thing I disliked about my seaside city. Namely, that it's too close to That London. I never minded mates coming down to visit -- all the better for showing off my beloved playground. The trouble came when they expected one to reciprocate. I tried pleading agoraphobia for a while, but then I was reported in the press as going all the way to Ibiza for a gay wedding, so that was out. Now, however, I merely have to say 'I'd love to come to your first night/recital/private view -- but, my dear, the trains!' and no one presses you further. Of course, I wouldn't have wished all this bother on anyone -- but as it's happening anyway, I might as well make the best of it. And I now have the perfect excuse to leave Sussex only via Gatwick, en route to Tel Aviv - which takes around the same amount of time as it can to get to London these days.

Everyone is London seems to be fuming all the time -- although, to be fair, fuming has become the default setting of our time. Historically, it's the sexually repressed, swivel-eyed Daily Mail reader who fumes hardest, but ever since last June 23, when the glorious chaotic dawn of Brexit was revealed, liberals have been fuming up a storm with all the parasexual frustration of fat-fingered One Direction fans tweeting hatred about the paternity of Cheryl's baby. Tempering, tantruming and thweatening to thwceam till they're sick, it's hard not to feel that what's making them the most angry isn't the alleged racism of Brexiteers or the alleged financial ruin waiting just around the corner. No, the reason the Remnants hate us so much is because after lifetimes of flattering themselves that they're progressive, adventurous and daring, they now stand revealed as a veritable mothers' meeting of doom-mongering, curtain-twitching, tut-tutting stick-in-the-muds. The pathetic petulance which has come from the Remnants in the face of our victory stems from the fact that many of those who prided themselves on being rebels were, actually, just a differently styled part of the status quo-embracing establishment all along. …

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