If you like being bored stiff on a tropical island, with only a palm tree and five coconuts for company, why not try the Maldives? Of course, I would caution you that behind this idyllic facade lies an Islamic theocracy where even preaching any religion other than ‘the peaceful one’ can land you up to five years in prison. Still, if you’re happy to pay your money to a country where the Religious Unity Regulation sits happily on the statute books, so be it. Personally, I’d rather spend two weeks sunning myself in Grange-over-Sands.
However, if sun-drenched mental hospitals masquerading as holiday resorts are your thing, you’ll certainly find no shortage of landing places for your aeroplane. Workers in the country have taken a few minutes out from praying to construct four new airports on reclaimed land. By August, the four new airports will be welcoming suckers from all over the globe. Just make sure you don’t do a sign of the cross or rattle your rosary beads in public.
Why am I interested in this story? Let me assure you it’s not because I have the Maldives on my bucket list. The only bucket of mine this place would ever feature on is one you can vomit into. No, the reason this caught my eye is because for years we’ve been told the Maldives were going to be among the first natural casualties of climate change, with rising water levels making the archipelago at risk of disappearing under the Indian Ocean. Yet here we are, with not only absolutely no sign of such a prognostication entering the realms of reality, but with additional capacity being laid on to accommodate thousands more tourists. You don’t spend millions of spondulix on important new infrastructural developments if your country, or part thereof, is going to end up disappearing under the sea. It’s why, for example, you’ll never find new housing developments being built along the Norfolk coast here. Because it’s pretty much guaranteed that, by 2035, they’ll have disappeared down a cliff side.
I don’t doubt some climate change is happening. But I’d argue for hours with anyone who thinks that either man is solely responsible, or that the problem is anywhere near as deep as is being suggested. The term ‘climate emergency’ is a con. In fact it’s a con equal in size to the iffy car radios Del Boy was flogging before his Jolly Boys Outing. And one day, just like those aforementioned appliances, this con will explode in the faces of those who peddled it.
“Don’t worry, Harry. I won’t tell ya guvnor about it!”