Some people are making a meal out of Brexit. A baked bean and pasta-based meal… As the deadline looms closer and confusion continues to reign around meaningful votes and suchlike, some cautious souls have been tearing ahead and preparing for worst-case scenario.
Which, put briefly, does not appear to be a whole lot different from all-out apocalypse.
They’re stockpiling foodstuffs, candles, matches, battery operated radios, solar powered phone chargers, nappies, Mars Bars, vodka and Pot Noodles. Among other things.
Like American “preppers” who are ever on their toes for nuclear holocaust, natural disaster and/or martian invasion, they’re determined not to be caught short in the event of no-deal meltdown.
You have to admire their foresight – even if eating large quantities of beans by candlelight does sounds like a combustible proposition.
Somebody’s got to stock up for us.
Or do they?
Now, I will be the first to accept that amid the agonising over what could happen in a no-deal Brexit, concern over the easy passage of, say, medical supplies is something which has to be taken seriously.
It’s hard to believe though, that the government doesn’t have contingency plans that will speed the movement of such vital supplies should the ports (as some people fear) grind to a standstill.
But baked beans obviously wouldn’t be seen as the same sort of priority.
So if shop supplies of foodstuffs run low and people start to panic buy, can we survive?
I think the first thing to remember is we’re leaving the EU. We’re not actually leaving Europe per se. We’re not being cast adrift into some netherworld where the importation of dried flavoured noodles and canned beans in tomato sauce would be impossible.
Besides which, there’s traditionally enough turkey left over after every Christmas to last us well into June… so we’re not going to starve.
What the “prepping” phenomenon points up, however, is the utter uncertainty and confusion all round that has resulted from the Brexit debate thus far.
The suggestion that it could amount to a period of beanless deprivation for many is only part of it.
People are fed-up and angry. And understandably annoyed that it’s all become such an utter mess. And that they’re being kept in the dark…
This week the full details of legal advice given to the government re our border backstop had to be shoehorned out of officialdom. It makes for grim reading.
The EU bosses were never going to make it easy for the UK to depart. You can understand their fear. Once one guest says they’re leaving the party, everybody else starts looking at their watches.
But so far EU leaders have at least kept their cool and remained united – unlike the many and competing representatives of Team UK, quite a few of whom are currently more interested in furthering their own causes and careers than in finding a solution that will work for us all.
The British Government isn’t just making a meal out of Brexit. They’re making a dog’s dinner out of it.
And by far, their biggest failing is in trying to bluff their way through Brexit. Treating people like fools. Telling us not to worry about the small print.
They’re fooling nobody. They’re reassuring nobody. All they’re stockpiling is suspicion, trouble and mistrust.
Remembering victims of Blitz
No one can ever accuse us of rushing things in Northern Ireland. Almost 80 years after the Luftwaffe killed hundreds of people in bombing raids on Belfast during the Second World War, there is still no memorial in the city to all those who died on those two terrible nights in 1941.
It goes without saying that Hitler’s bombers were indiscriminate. Around 750 men, women and children right across the city died in the raids on Easter Tuesday, April 15, 1941. Over 200 more died on the night of May 4/5.
Swimming baths and St George’s Market had to be turned into makeshift morgues. Around 15,000 people were left homeless and much of the city centre around High Street and Donegall Street was destroyed.
The bombs left their mark upon Belfast. But as UUP councillor Jeff Dudgeon points out, the victims are remembered in only a haphazard way. There is “no central memorial with the names of all those who died in the Blitz, no single site for remembrance”.
Cllr Dudgeon, seconded by Cllr Pat Convery of the SDLP, has proposed to Belfast City Council that a fitting memorial be erected to mark the 80th anniversary of the raids in 2021.
He suggests an ideal spot would be the Cathedral Gardens – that piece of “park” between St Anne’s Cathedral and the university where those eyesore buoys (and the odd rat) have been resident for some years.
The area was actually hit during the raid and the land is owned by the council so this would make obvious sense. Not least because Cathedral Gardens (I never knew it was called that) is in dire need of a good spruce-up and a focal point.
The motion will go before the council at a future meeting.
Surely, at last, something councillors right across the board will back.
School smashes kids’ Christmas cheer
Children at a school in Lincolnshire have been left traumatised after a teacher attempting to explain what Christmas was about (ie not just the bloke who comes down the chimney laden with gifts) invited a couple of little ones up to the front of class to smash up their chocolate Santas. And… gasp… his reindeer. There may have been a more tactful way of getting the message across. The children are devastated, their parents are angry, nobody’s happy. A classic case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
Goodwill envoys of UN always look good
You have to hand it to the UN. They are not adverse to a bit of glamour when choosing their goodwill ambassadors. Previous appointees include Nicole Kidman and Emma Watson. So no surprises, perhaps, that their latest UN Global Citizen of the Year is…drumroll… Amal Clooney, humanitarian, lawyer, friend of royals and wife of George. Angelina Jolie must be ripping. What qualifies you as a UN Global Citizen? Can anybody have a go? Sadly, I doubt your average Ms Jo Bloggs is in with the same chance as Amal. It helps to be a high profile Global Citizen of the Year.