Happy New Year, grocers! I do hope you had the kind of restful holiday typically enjoyed by retailers. There was an awful lot of talk before Christmas about how making people work on bank holidays was the equivalent of waterboarding, but now that Mr Trump is about to become the second-most powerful person in the world (after Mr Farage) I suppose everyone will look more kindly on non-lethal forms of torture. And it’s not like they can complain about being overworked when footfall has been so low.
Things were certainly quiet for me on The Day Itself - actually, this being Westminster, The Month Itself - so I did a bit of a stock take. Well, it’s only right that if there are items on my shelves that are unfit for sale, they ought to go to people who can put them to good use. I can think of a few wholesalers to oblige.
In a funny way, the dustier corners of my little shop told the story of 2016 quite well. There were all the bottles of Laurent-Perrier Grand Cru (£44.99) I set aside for the Remain celebrations on 24 June. As it was, the only things I shifted in any quantity were Vesta Curries (catering eight-pack £15+VAT), Vrouwenloper Belgian Beer (10x450cl £9.95) and other favourites of Mr Carswell on his somewhat unsteady way home from the House.
Then of course there were all the copies of Practical Pig Fancier left uncollected by our former PM, and the serialised version of Diplomacy for Dummies… well in fact I’ve got three whole shelves in the stockroom full of those.
Ah well. As Mrs May says, it is time to heal the divisions. I’m not sure that diplomat chappie who walked the plank in Brussels would agree, but I’ve got a paper round vacancy if he’s looking for a career in media distribution.