I know, I know. There are far more pressing issues in the world than my little round jar of Marmite, my favorite crunchy peanut butter, my licorice allsorts or my milk chocolate digestive biscuits to eat with my morning coffee or afternoon tea. But in my small world Marks and Spencer, or Marks and Sparks as my English mother used to call it, plays a significant food role. It saddens me to go there and see nothing but near-empty shelves. And they’re getting emptier and emptier! Yesterday I grabbed one of the last tins of baked bins standing, a bottle of Worcestershire sauce and a bag of gluten-free tortilla chips.
So, this is one of the many wonders of Brexit, is it? What did those hideous Leave voters promise Brexit to be once it was rammed through at the last minute by the blustering Bojo (Boris Johnson)? The sunny uplands? No, the sunlit uplands of a golden age! A bright new dawn!
From The Guardian – For all the triumphalist claims of the Brexiters, the sunny uplands they told us to expect are no more than another cold, dark, wet winter’s day.
The Brexit deal itself is nothing but thin gruel. It will make it much harder for Britain to sell services to EU countries, where we were once advantaged. Britons will lose their right to freely travel, work and settle in other European countries. British exports will for the first time in decades face checks on their origins and compliance with EU regulations.
After nearly half a century of closer integration with the European economy, Britain is now locked into needlessly throwing up new barriers to trade with our closest neighbours. As the past few days has shown, the ports can quickly descend into chaos. Even if implementation of the deal is smooth – a big if – it will prove costly to the UK economy. That means fewer good jobs, lower incomes and higher prices.
Another example is a commercial cheesemaker in Cheshire who has been left with a £250,000 Brexit hole in his business as a direct result of the UK’s departure from the EU on 1 January. He says he had hoped to take part in the “sunny uplands” promised by the government post-Brexit but has instead seen the viability of his online retail come to a “dead stop”.
“It’s as if someone forgot to negotiate this part of the deal, they forgot that there needed to be an exemption or allowance for the direct consumer sales.”
To save his business he will now switch a £1m investment he was planning to make in a new distribution centre in Cheshire, England to the European Union, with the loss of 20 jobs and tax revenue to the UK.
“I’m now going to invest in France, provide French employment, and contribute to the EU tax system,” says the cheesemaker, “Which was pretty much going against the whole reason that we were meant to be leaving.”
In yesterday’s LE MONDE – After Brexit, British citizen status in Europe is equivalent to that of the Chinese tourist. (Ouch!) The most dramatic consequence of Brexit is the loss of European citizenship for the British. On December 31, 2020, sixty-seven million British nationals lost the right to settle and work in the EU and in other countries. Likewise, EU citizens have lost these rights in UK territories. This is the greatest loss of rights that we can ever remember.
So getting back to my Marmite and licorice allsorts, which was the origin of this whole story, here’s a really good video I found of the M&S stores in Paris back in 2013. Now those were sunny days!