I’ve never worked out how so many Swedes can be atheists when the Stockholm archipelago is prima facie proof of God’s existence. For years I have been coming to worship and this summer I rented a house by the water. It is my idea of paradise: a week of forest walks, saunas and — last Saturday — dinner for 20 to celebrate my wife Linda’s birthday. As we shop for it on the Friday, in a supermarket with separate sections for herring and cuts of reindeer, my mobile phone starts to erupt. Back in London, I have just been named the next editor of The Spectator and am sent texts and emails by everyone I have ever met. I make a mental note to save all the messages — especially the flattering ones — on paper. Some day, when I need cheering up, I might read them again. I may even be foolish enough to believe some of them.
I’ll say this for David Cameron: he is quick on the draw. Within the first few minutes I received a text asking me to promise that Tamzin Lightwater is safe. A few hours later, a holidaying George Osborne texts his congratulations and says he intends to remove two high-ranking Scots from public office in the next nine months. I reply that he should not be so hard on Liam Fox and Michael Gove: he will need all the hawks he can find in government. Yet nothing at all from 10 Downing Street. Not all Scots, you see, stick together.
I was once introduced to Baroness Thatcher as a ‘Scottish Conservative’. She looked at me with surprise as if this were the political equivalent of a barking cat. ‘Why are so many of you down here?’ she asked.