Around this time last year, give or take a week or two, I suffered the double whammy of having Covid when it was the hottest week in this country in living memory.

Having a fever at the same time as the thermometer registering temperatures in the high 30s centigrade isn’t something I would care to repeat.

But I survived. The fever eased off and the conditions returned to ‘normal’. Was it freak weather that had us all sweltering or was it a sign of global warming starting to have an effect?

Which brings us to this year. At the time of writing, I am looking out of my back room window at a sodden garden after what seems like weeks of unseasonably wet and cold weather (that’s the tricksy thing with the climate emergency, it doesn’t always bring heat).

A quick glance at rolling 24-hour news tells me that while I’m wet and shivering, parts of continental Europe have been baking in temperatures of 40C.

And it’s not just Europe suffering.

A remote township in the north-western region of Xinjiang set a Chinese record of 52.2C (125.9F) last week in a country that was battling -50C weather six months ago.

Temperatures at Furnace Creek in California’s Death Valley, which holds the record for the hottest place on Earth, hit 53.3C on Sunday last week and Tuesday last week marked the 19th day the city of Phoenix, Arizona, had been subjected to temperatures of at least 43.3C (110F) – the longest stretch of time spent in such brutal heat.

There’s been extreme rain and floods in South Korea and India while Italy managed to have both extreme heat and rivers of ice flowing through a town centre.

Of course, if you are so inclined, you can dismiss this as ‘weather’. Yes, I’ve heard pundits coming out with fatuous statements along the lines of ‘well, if you go to Spain or Italy in the summer, don’t be surprised if it’s hot’.

But here’s the thing that doesn’t really surprise me. All the high-profile climate change deniers or minimisers (the ‘it’s just weather’ brigade) all seem to be high-profile Brexiters as well.

Why would that be, I wonder?

For a while I thought it was just my imagination but it seems that others have been thinking along the same lines. And it’s not a recent phenomenon.

How about this from from June 2016: “British people backing a leave vote in the EU referendum are almost twice as likely to believe that climate change does not have a human cause, according to a new poll.

“Brexiters are more likely to think the media exaggerates how settled climate science is; distrust scientists; have sympathy with creationism; oppose onshore windfarms and support fracking.

“Many prominent leave campaigners are either openly opposed to action on climate change or have cast doubt on man’s role in it, including former chancellor Nigel Lawson, former environment secretary Owen Paterson and columnist Matthew Ridley.”

The thing is, climate crisis deniers and minimisers have not really shifted their position over the intervening period, electing to ignore the evidence presented to us on a daily basis.

Which brings us the events of last week and the by-election in Boris Johnson’s former seat in Uxbridge, which was narrowly retained by the Tories.

It was widely predicted that Uxbridge would go to Labour but the Tories defended it on a single issue – opposition to the introduction of the so-called ULEZ to outer-London boroughs.

ULEZ – Ultra Low Emissions Zone – aims to help clear up London's air with owners of generally older, more polluting vehicles that don’t meet the ULEZ emissions standards having to pay a £12.50 daily charge to drive within the zone.

So following on from the Tory victory, the new mantra among politicians now seems to be something along the lines of ‘the public doesn’t want to pay for a cleaner, lower carbon environment and won’t vote for us if we insist so we better back off and quietly drop our green pledges’.

We’ve had Labour leader Kier Starmer saying the party must be doing something ‘very wrong’ over the ULEZ expansion and there was a ‘need to reflect’ on the policy.

Then you have Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg urging his party to scale back its net zero policies to help win the next election, adding that Rishi Sunak should dilute his green agenda to prevent Conservative supporters staying at home, saying: “I think Uxbridge is really interesting and important because if we get rid of things like ULEZ and we show we’re on the side of the British voter – we stop burdening them with extra charges, extra regulations, extra interference in their life – then I think there’s a real chance [of winning the general election].

And that, ladies and gentlemen is the quality of our leaders – party before country every single time. I could weep.