E&M’s Agony Aunt, our glorious Priscilla (not Queen of the Desert), is back. We have hired her to answer your dilemmas with sensitivity and charm. To contact Priscilla with your problems, email firstname.lastname@example.org who will pass messages on. The letters reprinted here are presented as they were received.
A CRY FOR HELP FROM BRITISH ARISTOCRACY
This is getting ridiculous. My champagne breakfasts don’t taste the same in the mornings.
We need unity in the cabinet and we need it now. I’m calling for a transitional period while those backstabbing politicians get their strategy straight.
Boris Johnson is so fixated on a hard Brexit that he’s asking for a hard thwack! In that 4,000-word intervention he spewed out in the Telegraph, he even had the cheek to bring up the dreaded £350-million figure.
I thought we’d heard the last of those LIES! To add insult to injury, Bo Jo won’t listen to his boss: the Prime Minister! Meanwhile, Barnier and Juncker, like a school-master chides a badly-behaved child, seem hellbent on making an example of us.
Yes, I may be part of the ‘so-called’ metropolitan elite, enjoying garden parties with afternoon tea, and evening soirées in my Kensington mansion, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a say. Yes, you can call me a “remoaner”, but I’m proud to defend our EU membership.
How else am I supposed to enjoy my holiday home on Lake Como? I don’t want to arrive there only to be met with scorn and derision; it’d wreak havoc on my nerves.
I’m at my wits end!
What (if anything) can we do, Priscilla?
Lady Margaret Miffedoff
Lady Margaret, I don’t think anyone can agree on the government’s current position regarding exiting the EU — least of all the government itself. I, like you, lament the fact that the UK wants to go at it alone.
As a staunch citizen of Europe and a loyal employee of Europe & Me, no one feels your anguish as much as I do.
However, would it not be wise to use your considerable influence to make a difference? Instead of drowning your sorrows with Don Pérignon, and pontificating about it to your privileged coterie, why not approach Mr. Johnson and voice your concerns?
I’m sure you have half of the cabinet on speed-dial. You may be of aristocratic stock, but surely this isn’t beneath you?
Think on it, Margaret.
P.S. Perhaps the future of your nation should concern you more than how you are received on your luxury holidays in Italy.
A CULINARY CONUNDRUM
I haven’t got long, so I’ll make this quick. I’m hosting a dinner party next week and I’m totally stuck on which cuisine to make for my guests. I’m torn between the two giants of European gastronomy: French and Italian.
On one hand, everybody loves pasta. On the other, French wine is best, isn’t it? The thing is, my dinner party simply must impress. My boss is invited, and I am due a promotion soon.
Help, Priscilla; I’m tearing my hair out!
Ah, the age-old debate: who makes better food, the Italians or the French? Sorry to disappoint, Drew, but for me there’s no way of deciding.
Trying to choose which is best would be like attending a David Bowie concert in 2017—impossible.
My advice to you would be: why choose? Go for European fusion.
Serve Italian antipasti and a pasta dish, follow it with something French, like the classic Coq au Vin, polish it off with a sumptuous crème brûlée — and, for the pièce de résistance, a homemade tiramisu as an added dessert option.
Don’t forget a plate of French AND Italian cheese, washed down with a French Bordeaux and a strong Italian grappa for a nightcap.
Happy cooking and good luck!
A PROUD MADRILEÑA MAKES THE CASE FOR A UNITED SPAIN
Hola Priscilla soy María,
I wanted to write to you to express my dismay at the Catalans.
What do they think they are playing at?! Organising an ILLEGAL independence vote?
They think they’re so special with their Sagrada Família. If you ask me, there’s more chance of my chorizo montadito getting up and dancing than them finishing that monstrosity on time.
Just because you have a nice-ish cathedral doesn’t mean you can play politics with the rest of the nation. In Madrid, we have the Royal Palace, the government, and thankfully, the final say!
The rest of España may be on its knees financially, but that doesn’t give those pompous Catalans free reign to destroy the country and scarper off with their riches.
I mean, starting riots in the calle!? ¡Dios mío!
I’m here, in the glorious capital of Madrid—which is, by the way, the best city in the mundo—while they attempt to dismantle our wonderful country.
Please help, Priscilla.
I must admit, this is a tough one. Independence votes are unruly beasts and they are, by nature, divisive.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a favourable outcome following all this drama. The Spanish government, after all, has outlawed the vote, so its result is likely to be waived.
Rajoy has emphatically declared that the Catalan regional government are threatening Spain’s national sovereignty, and, whether rightly or wrongly, the government isn’t going to pay attention and the result will be renounced.
For this reason, all your cantankerous complaining may prove to be, well, a waste of breath!
My advice? Get yourself an extra-strong carajillo and relax!
P.S. A word of warning: whereas your somewhat pugnacious attitude may be interpreted as passionate by some, others will view you as unruly and stubborn. Try to reign it in and be tranquillo!
Editor’s note: After submitting her final entry this issue, events in Catalonia somewhat overtook us, and Priscilla would like to make it very-bloody-clear that she IS a fan of freedom of expression, and IS NOT a fan of aggression or intimidation. Whatever the rights and wrongs of holding a referendum, violently storming polling stations is not a good look.