Brexit is a subject that I usually try to avoid writing about. The debate is currently so heated on both sides of the argument that I am bound to upset someone by even mentioning the word. There is quite enough negativity around without adding to it. Even so, I was very surprised when an American visitor gave me a copy of a popular US newspaper when she visited the island last week, so I am going to risk it.
“Anxious Brits Buy Hundreds of Food-Prepper Brexit Boxes” screamed the headlines of this supposedly prestigious newspaper. Now, I am not too sure what “Food Prepper” is exactly, but my American friend assured me that they are very popular in the US during times of hurricanes, fire, flood and other disasters. Apparently, it is a form of food stockpiling, which was the province of determined survivalist groups, but, according to this US newspaper, is now common practice for the UK population during a time when the UK is attempting to leave the European Union. The article reports concerns that leaving the EU without a deal could lead to a shortage of some goods.
I was very surprised to read the article, as I have yet to meet or hear of anyone who is taking the idea of food shortages that seriously, and certainly not involved in stockpiling or buying ‘Brexit Boxes’. I do know of one elderly gentleman who is stocking up on his heart pills and haemorrhoid cream, just in case, but that is about it. Maybe they are doing it very quietly when no-one is looking and not talking about it. One company that produces ‘Brexit Boxes’ for such emergencies claims a substantial rise in sales across the country. This attempt at “stockpiling made easy” includes 60 “essential items” such as freeze dried meals, a water filter and something to start a fire, which we used to call matches.
‘Brexit Boxes’ are supposed to make people feel more secure in the knowledge that they can enjoy a meal of chicken tikka, macaroni cheese and filtered water, whilst society is generally collapsing around them. “Sod the neighbours”, I hear Charles and Marina cry in Essex, “let’s just get on with our tasty meal”.
Apparently, the food items have a 25-year shelf life, saturated in tasty preservatives that are a chemist’s dream, and are really delicious, which is good to know. The boxes are a kind of insurance policy, which may be compared to buying a car or house insurance policy and hopefully is never needed, particularly for those items with a 25-year shelf life.
Even supermarkets, such as Tesco and organisations, such as Mumsnet, have joined in the fun about what to stockpile in case of Brexit chaos that could disrupt food and medical supplies. The American newspaper also warns that additional police have been put on standby and that London’s Metropolitan Police are advising retailers to provide additional security, since a shortage of goods, including ‘Brexit Boxes’, could lead to problems with customer behaviour.
Needless to say, the UK Government has dismissed the reports of stockpiling as “unnecessary”, but will be issuing guidance to householders on how to plan for such events. Personally, I suspect that the best thing to do is to start digging an underground shelter - just in case.
© Barrie Mahoney