THIS summer, when you reserve a sunbed and then walk away, it seems that you scrape away the thin veneer of civilisation which separates us from the savages we once were.

In fact, just the prospect of being deprived of a plum spot by the pool on a beach – err pool – holiday is enough to reduce some of us to a more primitive state. 

It is shocking that if grown adults are willing to shove children and fight one another just to get hold of a sunbed – as has been seen in Mallorca all summer – how will we act when real deprivation strikes?

After a punishing couple of years suffering under Covid restrictions, it might be natural that we all wish for that perfect sunshine getaway, poolside sipping pina coladas.

And we might have less tolerance for anything that could interfere with it than in past periods of unadulterated good times.

But people are losing their heads and really making beasts of themselves when they engage in this every-man-for-himself behaviour.

As much as we all need to get a grip when confronted with behaviour from strangers that we find unacceptable, the authorities do too.

On a basic level, hotels need to clearly establish norms of conduct, so that there is no misunderstanding or culture clash in these situations – everyone should know what is unacceptable.

But higher authorities need to take note too.

With temperatures in Spain forecast to continue to gradually bake the country drier and drier each summer, we are facing the prospect of shortages of commodities far more precious than sunbeds.

And in that light, the conduct we are seeing this summer is a stark indicator of what we can expect when household water is rationed and farmers are unable to water their crops.

In times of scarcity and deprivation, as people we need to rise to our better nature and lift everyone up – not sink down to barbarity and drag everyone else down.


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