I have just read that Britain is pulling out of the InterRail scheme which enables young people to travel round Europe in their gap year. A sign of the times. I bought an InterRail pass in 1972, its first year of operation, to travel round Eastern Europe, starting in Split in what was then Yugoslavia, travelling south to Dubrovnik, then on a single track train which took ten hours from Skopje to Lake Ochrid and on to Belgrade, Budapest, Prague, Warsaw and Berlin, often sleeping overnight on trains.
It was part of my education, learning about the culture of other countries and the kindness of strangers.
It was also part of the process of Europeanisation, breaking out from the narrow horizons of a childhood of almost no foreign travel.
I don’t know why it is being axed, but it is emblematic of the current retreat to neo-1950s insularity by those who have enjoyed, but not apparently learned from, decades of European travel.