Steve Anglesey looks at online reaction as Britain’s food shops prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
Thank goodness for the earlier football transfer deadline!
This self-inflicted wound, which disadvantages English teams while Europeans can still trade freely, has provided welcome relief from the problems of Brexit.
But before we were obsessed with the transfer market, we were obsessed with the supermarket; notably warnings about possible food shortages after a no-deal departure from the EU.
Even though their great project is knocking at the door of Dignitas, hardcore Brexiteers are not yet ready to take on depression and acceptance so treated these with the other three stages of grief – denial, anger and bargaining.
Deniers claimed this was all the latest instalment of Project Fear, though those doing the warning included fellow Leavers from within the Cabinet. Born-again Brexiteer Jeremy Hunt said of plans to stockpile food, ‘this is not project fear, this is project reality’.
The angry included talkRADIO’s Eamonn Holmes, who in what was probably a wireless first asked his listeners, ‘do you know what diarrhoea looks like?’ By way of explanation, he added: ‘If I was a farmer in the rest of Europe, I would be pooing myself.’
Holmes went on: ‘How did we survive before the common market came about? We didn’t starve to death.’ No, though it’s undeniable that Eamonn’s own waistline has grown exponentially through the EU years of plenty.
Most entertaining of all, though, were the bargainers. These fell into two camps.
There were the ‘we’ll be OK because we’re British’ brigade, led by Tory Charlie Elphicke. ‘When our backs are against the wall, there’s no challenge we can’t overcome, there’s nothing we can’t do,’ roared the Dover MP, forgetting that we’d failed to overcome those pesky EU negotiators and had therefore done nothing to secure a decent Brexit deal.
‘Britain will prosper and succeed whatever the outcomes of these talks because we are that kind of country,’ added Hunt, recalling the ‘we’re too good to go down’ press conferences of football managers shortly before they are relegated.
And then there were the many who believed Britain would be just fine if we went back to the land and forgot about that foreign muck altogether. ‘I don’t want poofy avocados in my sarnies, ham or beef with English mustard will do me,’ tweeted former UKIP MEP Godfrey ‘Bongo Bongo Land’ Bloom.
‘If we run out of avocados the elite will run up the surrender flag,’ agreed Daily Express online commenter ‘Barry Brexit’. ‘They are already panicking about the French champers drying up and oysters being turned back at the border… Meanwhile us mere mortals are rather looking forward to flexing Britannia’s muscles on the world’s trade stage.’
The good news continued on Twitter. ‘We have farmers who grow crops and we have animals for slaughter, we have bakers butchers so no problem there, we have loads of wild rabbits, very nice. Grow your own stop being lazy. Walk to work car share or ride your bike,’ wrote @cheesesarnie321.
Added @ChippyOldGit: ‘Never fitter than after years of rations after WWII. Maybe it is THE way to combat obesity? Dig for Victory. I’ve no problem with a few years of real austerity as Brexit has never been about the economy for me. Ever.’
But for those tens of millions who WILL have a problem with a few years of real austerity, how bad will it get? Project Fear seemed to have taken a step towards Project Apocalypse when Nadine Dorries tweeted that she had begun preparing a shallow bowl of water and a saucer of dog food each night.
Happily, that turned out to be for Nadine’s local hedgehogs. But how long will it be before we’re all forced to feast on tepid tap water and Winalot, leaving the spiky scroungers to fend for themselves?