Regionally and internationally the two big events for us have been the Nice atrocity of 14 July and of course, Brexit. Last Sunday we came to terms with something of the aftermath of both.
When it comes to security Cannes faces something of a security quandary. It’s not dissimilar to that portrayed in Spielberg’s Jaws, where the mayor of a marine resort doesn’t want to face the fact that there is a killer shark in the water because it’s going to ruin the economy. So when we went into Cannes precisely a week after the Paris attacks last November there was not a trace of security around. ‘Crisis? What crisis?’ was the invisible message and it was understandable. After all Paris is a long way away. However the Nice attack was a bit too close for comfort. So security has been tightened, although to be honest you could easily not notice it.
Actually one of the perverse effects of indiscriminate terrorist attacks is that after a while they lose their effectiveness. After all, if you don’t know where terrorists going to strike next how do you know that it isn’t going to be where you flee to? For instance, this summer you could have shunned France and gone to Thailand; the site of Friday’s terrorist atrocities. (If this is jogging memories we refer you to Somerset Maugham’s Appointment in Samara, the retelling of an ancient Mesopotamian tale where someone fleeing from Death in one place escapes to exactly the place where they are destined to meet him.) Anyway on balance everybody seems to be having a grand time in Cannes and we thoroughly recommend it and if you are passing by, our church is just round the back of the Carlton Hotel.
As evidence of normality – if you can ever use that word for Cannes – there seems to be more than the usual number of outrageous cars, some of which parked themselves in front of the church.
So it’s business as usual in Cannes. More or less.
In terms of Brexit (is anybody now prepared to admit they voted for it?) we had a Conservative MEP Richard Ashworth speaking in church afterwards on the implications. (Note that if politicians speak during church they are expected to be honest, after church they can behave normally.)
Given that he was a Conservative (albeit a Remain one) it was a brave appearance and he did little to defend Cameron’s disastrous gamble. He spoke well but frankly it was a little bit like a soufflé — all rather insubstantial. He pointed out what everybody now realises: we have blundered into an enormously complicated mess, we are most unlikely to get any better deal from the EU than we had before, and it’s going to take a very long time to sort out. Having been in favour of remaining in himself he was able to hint that he wasn’t terribly impressed with some of his colleague’s arguments in favour of leaving. (Yes Boris he meant you.) In the course of his talk he sensibly skirted around the unfortunate reality that most of his hearers in the church were dependent on sterling pensions or funds that were now worth around 15 percent less than they were a couple of months ago. His advice to everybody seemed to be get a big book, sit on the beach and enjoy the summer.
That’s probably what the Cannes Tourist Office is saying too.