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The Landlady: Silly Old Bags ...
I am writing this column from a beautiful poolside in West Africa. It is the end of January, and while my commuting friends battle with wintry showers and sub zero temperatures, we are basking in 80 degrees of constant sunshine. Endless days of running barefoot on the beach and simply sitting and thinking always has the effect of stripping away the nonsense that surrounds us in the West and exposing the world as it actually might be.
It is true that I am sitting in a tropical paradise, but I cannot help but feel angry that the tourism here is down by 75% because of the ebola epidemic.
A 75% loss of business in one of the country's major industries is pretty catastophic for one of the poorest countries in the world. The fact is that there have been no reported cases of ebola here – there have been more cases in the UK thus far – the nearest outbreak being 1,000 miles away in the next-door-but-one country. Of course no one wants to risk dying of a deadly virus, but it's almost like refusing to catch a bus in John O’Groats because there are delays in Lands’ End. The West Africans are blaming the scaremongering Western media, and so do I.
Working in The Supermarket for the past 10 years has afforded me the opportunity to study humankind at pretty close quarters – one of my particularly conclusive casual observations being what type of person reads what kind of newspaper. During my casual study, I have noticed that almost without fail, the typical Guardian reader will bring his own recyclable bag, whereas those taking the Mail will usually take several 'free' bags for just a couple of items, claiming that our bags 'always break'. Personally, I cannot wait until later this year when supermarkets have to start charging for bags and those irresponsible wastrels are forced to pay for their pointless plastic.
An obvious conclusion is that Guardian readers as more environmentally aware, better informed and more considerate to the rest of the world. Which makes the Daily Mail reader ..? Well, certainly not likely to be joining me by the pool in West Africa any time soon.