Nearly 19,000 people have been evacuated from homes and hotels in Rhodes since Saturday because of a wildfire raging near the island’s central south coast. Corfu seemed to be facing a similar emergency after four fires started simultaneously (and were blamed on arson). A deputy mayor there said this morning they were largely under control, but 13 Greek departments are on red alert for wildfires, Athens is in the grip of its longest ever heatwave and near-record temperatures across southern Europe are ruining hundreds of thousands of holidays. If more evidence were needed of a warming atmosphere producing extreme weather, tennis ball-sized hail fell in northern Italy and severe gales caused 86 yachts to retire from the Fastnet race. But in England the more important lesson for politicians from both main parties is being drawn from last week’s Uxbridge by-election, narrowly won by the Conservatives because motorists on low-incomes can’t afford to enter Mayor Sadiq Khan’s newly expanded ultra-low emission zone. Even Khan has been persuaded (by Labour’s Keir Starmer) to fiddle with his ULEZ policy while Rhodes burns.
Photograph Lefty Damian/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images