9 JUNE 2001, Page 53

Outward bound


The good news is — no, not the election — but that my daughter and the mother of my children have safely arrived in Peking on their way to northwest Mongolia, where they will trek for three weeks in one of the most remote areas of the planet. According to reports, the Chinese are very friendly and nice, but nobody among their helpers speaks English, French, German or Spanish, except for their driver, who is fluent in Greek, a language neither of them understands too well.

Travelling across Mongolia on horseback and sleeping in tents at night must be quaint, but for the moment I'll stick to London. It's a funny thing; I no longer can stand the place, especially after the grandeur of the Bagel and the splendour of Rome, but it will do when I think of Mongolia. I did all my travelling when I was still in my thirties, from Mustang and Nepal to Cambodia, Vietnam and Hong Hong, from Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the Sudan, to Kenya and Mozambique, from Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Argentina, to one glorious fortnight in Chile, and even managed to spend a week in Boumedienne's Algiers, an experience I wish on no one with the possible exception of Robin Cook, Jack Straw and Tony Blair.

And speaking of the unspeakable, now that the moronic people of Britain have voted, I will bet my bottom drachma that public services will not improve, but that New Labour's excuses will. In case of a recession, Blair will ask for time. Once Britain has surrendered to Brussels, Blair will ask for more time. Any way one looks at it, Blair and his gang will blair it through. Public transport will continue to be the worst in Europe, with the possible exception of my own country. The NHS will continue to kill more people and quicker than the Clinton-Blair gang murdered innocent Serbs. The inner cities will continue to produce the most violent youth of Western Europe. The state of the state schools will remain.

So, you may well ask, why do you bother to live in England when you hate it as much as you do? The answer is I don't. In the Big Bagel, Rudy Giuliani, no friend of the poor little Greek boy, has pulled off a miracle. His gift to the city and to Bagelites has been a town free of crime, filth and gross incivility. The exact opposite of what happened to London. As David Cornwell correctly put it last week, 'This used to be a good place to have a heart attack in, but no longer . . .' The trouble is my heart goes out to many English friends who are stuck here, people who can do nothing about Brown's stealth taxes, the ever-increasing stifling bureaucracy of New Labour, the 40 per cent taxation of incomes over £30,000 and so on. This is why I call the English morons. Lady Thatcher made them bite the bullet and saved the nation from the unions, so a Judas had to be found to do the job. Blair basically rode an economy he inherited, completely botched the public sector, but was brilliant on spin and lies. And it gets better.

With his second mandate, Blair will make sure the state really takes over the lives of his subjects. Health, jobs, schooling will all come from Big Brother, and even Parliament will be sidelined. And the Fourth Estate? Furghetaboutit! The Brutus cut will be when the supranational socialist system of Brussels imposes the regulations and restrictions that Westminster could resist.

So, don't cry for me, little England, for I shall be far away, on my yacht. Yes, I'll come back at times, especially in June and for The Spectator party, but not for long. Had England remained what it was when I first came here, a place where political ethics were not separate from general morality, I might even have brought my boat to Cowes in August. But it hasn't. It's a place where the encroaching proletarian brutalism is all-encompassing, where our cultural and moral decay is encouraged by modernists, politicians and even the clergy, where PC has forced people to be ashamed and frightened even to acknowledge the slightest of differences between the races. A place where a modern Diogenes looking for an honest man would find only Sir Tom

Stoppard, Paul Johnson and their ilk. Incidentally, bravo Tom Stoppard, our greatest living playwright, for blasting art that substitutes talent by featuring self-mutilation, castration, defecation, masturbation and dismemberment. If only one would dismember Scrota and his ilk, things might begin to look better, but I won't be holding my breath until they do. See you on the Riviera!