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Brexit Diaries: the banana worm has turned

January 13, 2021

One might as well refer to the confluence of problems facing the United Kingdom at the moment as Covexit. Or possibly BREXID. I say this because our politicians rarely miss the opportunity to wriggle out of accepting responsibility for the one by blaming the other.

I take no pleasure from the struggles of Scottish fishermen in their attempt to export their fish in the face of a welter of paperwork, sanitation checks and certification requirements so onerous that our beautiful lobsters and langoustines are no longer edible by the time they’ve been through the bureaucratic mill. Nor do I take lightly the supermarket shelves devoid of the fruit and vegetables we need to keep us healthy. Just a glitch, says Michael Gove, our Minister in Charge of Lots of Stuff. Soon be sorted out once everyone gets used to the new rules. Which implies that it’s all our fault for being thick idiots, not the government’s for making this nonsense necessary in the first place.

I am, of course, desperate for everything to work out. I’m sad at the prospect of so many people losing their jobs, which of course will be all down to COVID, not Brexit. I’m sick to my stomach at the massive dive in our Gross Domestic Product, which again is all down to COVID, not Brexit. I raise more than one eyebrow at the fact that one quarter of my country has become a political chimera, neither out nor in, and that if I want to send a parcel to Northern Ireland, I need a customs declaration. Also the possibility that Scotland, another major component, wants to be out, and therefore in.

But I can’t help a little giggle at the video of Dutch customs officers ordering drivers to surrender their breakfast before entering the Netherlands, because EU regulations prohibit the import of foodstuffs (apart from those that have been waiting a century to be stamped and certified). So the unfortunate truckers were required to leave their tuna sandwiches, neatly wrapped in foil, on a table by the inspection hut before heading off into the continent. “Welcome to Brexit” said the officer. Did his eyes betray a slight smirk?

It makes me smile because our Prime Minister spent years as a journalist in Brussels concocting mendacious stories about EU regulations, such as how burdensome it was that we were being required to reject any bananas that didn’t fit the EU-approved dimensions. Which, along with much else he wrote, was utter bollocks.

So now we can enjoy the delicious irony that after years of being able to import any shape of banana we want, anything we want to bring into the EU on a casual basis, be it tuna sandwiches, pork pies, scotch eggs, or simple snacks for the kids, is being treated as a potential health hazard, as if the English variant of COVID isn’t enough.

Presumably it works the same way in the other direction, which will mean that we can no longer stuff smelly cheeses, garlic stalks and foie gras in our bags as reminders of our lovely holidays when returning to Britain from France. I fully expect British customs officials soon to be brandishing cheese sniffers to catch Camembert violations. A far more heinous offence than accidentally smuggling a migrant who has snuck themselves into some obscure part of our car.

So you could argue that the bendy banana myth has come back to haunt us. Or, to put it another way, the banana-shaped worm has turned.

Welcome to Brexit, as the friendly Dutchman said.

  1. I suppose I should have come to terms with the imbecility that is Brexit by now Steve, but even after more than four years my brain is still partially rejecting the reality of it.

    The reality of just how utterly senseless this unholy pile of garbage is, and how a majority of the UK electorate could have possibly been conned into voting for it.

    And as a father of three, and a grandfather of another three, of course it’s the young-uns who are going to suffer most from this utterly unnecessary train-wreck.

    Brexit isn’t just senseless though, in my book it verges on the criminal. No that’s wrong – there’s no “verging” about it.

    Top notch writing from you though brother, as per. Cheers.

    • Thanks Ronnie. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the young ‘uns will never know what they missed. S

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