Stuffy American broadsheet the New York Times is offering disaster tourism-style package holidays of Westminster for $6,500, capitalising on Britain’s popular vote to leave the European Union.
The incredible (and we mean that literally) “Brexit Means Brexit!” tour lets excessively well-heeled Americans delude themselves into thinking they are visiting the very sites key to the UK’s narrow vote to leave the EU last June.
In reality what they’re getting is a painfully expensive foot tour of selected bits of a city that voted heavily to remain in the EU. Exactly what insights into Leave voters’ thinking a walk around the City of London will offer, complete with “guided tour of City Hall on the south bank of the Thames,” natch, is completely unclear.
Proudly "liberal" (in the American sense) in outlook, the NYT mainly caters for the sections of American society who imagine themselves to be a cut above the little people who vote their carefully selected sons and daughters into safe seats. It’s not surprising, then, to see the paper’s canny business division spotting a golden opportunity to part these schmucks from their money by sticking them in a four-star hotel while walking them through London’s traffic fumes every day for a week.
The walking tour of Westminster, where the local Parliamentary constituency voted 2:1 in favour of Remain, will be guided by a history graduate from that well-known hotbed of pro-Leave activists, the London School of Economics. Presumably whichever lucky postgrad bags that gig will get his lunch at “a local pub frequented by members of Parliament” – almost certainly the Red Lion on Parliament Street, judging by the description – provided gratis, given how much his guidees are paying.
The curious, or the rich and gullible, can view the full tour itinerary on the NYT website.
This is not the first time the newspaper has tried and utterly failed to do Britain. A couple of weeks ago one of their scribes unironically wrote this paragraph, having been sent to London to sit on the Tube:
On the upgraded Victoria line, subway riders used adjectives like “amazing” and “efficient” to describe service. A student told me he “very, very rarely” finds himself waiting on the platform, and trains were “almost always” on time. Every two minutes they pulled into the station like clockwork. I was a bit envious. On the F line in Brooklyn, I often find myself peering down the tracks wondering if my train will ever come.
You have to give them some marks for making the effort, we suppose.
Looking on the bright side of the NYT's madcap Brexit holiday wheeze, a measurable increase in tourism as a result of the vote to leave the EU certainly offsets the doom and gloom predictions offered by David Cameron’s Conservative government in the runup to the vote.
That is not to say all will be sweetness and light when the UK formally departs from the political bloc in 2019: earlier today Reuters reported that British exporters saw few gains from the plunge in the pound when the result of the vote became clear, something that pro-Leave pundits boasted at the time would be an instant win for UK plc. ®