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Clueless in Crete – Dominic Raab holidays while Kabul falls

20 August 2021

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Talk about fiddling while Rome burns. Or in this case, sipping sundowners by the pool while the government of Afghanistan falls. The British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab – a man with so much international clout that he is fondly known as ‘the turnip’ in Brussels – has faced calls to resign this week for refusing, while on holiday, to make a phone call to his Afghan counterpart to discuss the rescue of Afghan nationals who have worked for British forces since 2001.

Everyone needs a holiday now and then. Raab was busy luxuriating, MailOnline reports, at Amirandes hotel, an opulent complex ‘styled after the sprawling palaces of the Minoan kings and Venetian nobles who once ruled Crete’. The hotel offers easy access to the ruins of the Palace of Knossos, where legend has it that King Minos had a labyrinth constructed to house the Minotaur. It is not known whether Raab visited the archaeological site; and it remains to be seen whether his career is in ruins. Knossos, as the foreign secretary surely knows, is famous for its double-axe markings, which were discovered during the exploration of the site led by Arthur Evans in the early 20th century. Perhaps Raab was looking to get the axe when he left for Crete in the first place.

But maybe Raab got no further than ‘Minotaur’, one of the restaurants that hotel guests have at their disposal (it specialises in ‘truly stylish Italian food’, confusingly). There is certainly something bullish about his refusal to acknowledge his mistake.

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