A spot of AirB&Brexit…

ANOTHER Sunday, another guest I have yet to meet. Another Sunday and another pile of headlines to skim. Another Sunday buffered between all the other days of my mixed-up week (working Friday and Saturday and a bit of Monday, with freelance filler in the gaps, plus a bit of toast-and-tea making).

This guest is in York to visit her daughter who is a student here. That’s pretty much all I know. She booked for two nights but cancelled the first one at the last minute. We only have one more Airbnb guest booked for December, so it’s thin times at the impromptu Cole B&B.

I am taken this morning by headlines with a Brexit theme, while fully realising that this topic seems likely to exhaust us before it has got started. That itself is a danger, with eyebrows being raised as people sigh and go, “Oh, Brexit – that’s so yesterday”, before we have even set one foot in the free-world waters of post-Europe Britain, a place of proud magnificence (or so the Leavers have it) or a big and cold world in which we become a small-minded island of prickly insularity (as some of us fear).

The Mail on Sunday has rather a good tale this morning about how Downing Street – in other words, Theresa May – has ordered the ‘Cabinet Enforcer’ Sir Jeremy Heywood, also here nicknamed Sir Cover-Up, to spy on Ministers who spill secrets about Brexit.

The MoS has fun publishing what is says it a leaked Cabinet Office letter saying that there must be no more leaks. The leaked note warns that anyone passing on government secrets will be sacked, even if national security is not compromised.

Apparently, ministers and officials are being banned from using their own mobiles for official business, making it easier to monitor what they are saying. One government source describes the edict as “quasi-totalitarian”. Can you be partly totalitarian; isn’t it more of an all-or-nothing thing?

Over on the Sun on Sunday, Eurosceptic ministers accuse Mrs May of planning what is being called a “grey Brexit” – I am guessing that this is like a soft Brexit, only a bit smudged. The Euro-raving brigade aren’t impressed as only a hard Brexit will do (whatever that is). I am amazed they are surprised by this. Mrs May is a grey woman in many ways and she is likely to choose a Brexit in her favourite colour. And when she is cross about leaks and the like, she probably sees through a grey mist.

On the front page of the Observer, meanwhile, a group of senior Conservatives warn that a hard Brexit could cost them the next election. They urge Mrs May to “speak above the noise of the Brexiteers”, which is good advice although it is a job that will take some shouting.

Our guest emerged downstairs for breakfast a paragraph or two ago, so coffee has been brewed, muesli laid on and chit-chat exchanged. I never say too much about guests because that wouldn’t be right. This one was a head teacher from Norfolk, and we exchanged a pleasant bit of breakfast banter, not least because we used to live in the same part of south London half a lifetime ago.

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