Incisive, irreverent, and not entirely relevant William Sitwell has a talent to amuse, with his bleak Orwellian vision of British post-Brexit utopia
We are being swamped in the abyss of Brexit and the more we struggle the deeper we sink. Rarely does a news bulletin pass without mention of it in some shape or form. It is in our newspapers, our magazines. It is across social media. Friends who previously never ventured forth into the political arena preach on Facebook. It is hideous and it is not a good way to drown. Those who were in favour of Brexit talk of sunny uplands. They seem not to worry about the path – or lack of – that will get us there. By some mysterious act of magic, a sturdy jetty will emerge. We will be lifted from the swamp and once on the steady boards will walk freely and gaily towards aforementioned uplands. Remainers, meanwhile, are determined that everything will end in disaster. Down and down, deeper and deeper into the swelling, throttling mud we will descend. Nothing will save us, there is no light. It’s over. Oblivion will claim us.
And so the Brexit negotiations are an extraordinary game of blind hope versus blind panic. David Davis marches to Brussels and even though he is party to the most complicated talks, unravelling years of deliberate bureaucratic barbed wire, he sits at a table without even notes.
Now since few who voted had any clue about what they were voting for – which is why referenda are an aberration (we vote in MPs to do the tedious micro-analysis of impossible-and-too-dull-to-comprehend-legislation aided and abetted by civil servants) – our nation now needs clarity. And so here it comes, Sitwell’s Brexit Positioning Paper. It’s a British Brexit, which means it’s hard; rock solid in fact.
WINE (PART 1)
No more French or indeed any foreign wine to be imported into the UK. Climate change, which is not man but insect made – mainly by wasps – has created a marvellous environment for English wine. This growing business must be protected and encouraged. Any restaurant or pub caught serving non-English wine (and that includes any Welsh, Scottish or Irish wine, which is made by backward farmers who have sex with animals) will be torched and burnt to the ground. French people may not buy English wine (there’s not enough of it) but good winemakers will be allowed to work on our vineyards. But they may not speak ill of it in public. EG: statements such as ‘English sparkling wine shows great promise but we need to add sugar to the 2017 vintage due to a lack of sunshine in the August ripening period’ will result in long jail terms.
WINE (PART 2)
Wine is too complicated to understand. Grape varieties, terroir, vintages, non-vintages, garage wines, late-bottled disgorgements, organic, natural… all these terms distract the British from concentrating on what matters – i.e. drinking. Post Brexit there will be only white wine and red wine. And port and sherry. The latter may only be served at room temperature. In spite of the rules governing foreign imports of wine (see above), champagne will continue to flow across Britain at weddings, parties and at the races. Look I’m all for bigging up English wine but there’s a limit, right??
BEER, CIDER AND SPIRITS
All taxes on such drinks will be removed, unless you are foreign. Bartenders and publicans will be charged with applying what will be a flat 30 per cent levy on the drinks. They will not ask for the purchaser’s ID or passport but will merely form an opinion based on first impressions. ‘Right mate, you look foreign and you sound a bit funny so that’ll be £8 for that pint.’
Rice, which is eaten only by foreigners, will no longer be imported or available for sale in the UK. Anyone caught eating rice will be snarled at and made to sign a declaration pledging to only eat potatoes from then on. Given the large stocks of rice that will be in the UK on the date of Brexit, local councils will hold amnesties. People can bring their rice to central car parks where it can be unloaded and then flattened by steam rollers.
Pilau rice is fine because you get it in curry houses which serve chicken tikka masala which is a British dish and it works nicely to soak up the red sauce.
DRIED FRUIT AND NUTS
Dried fruit and nuts must no longer be consumed at the desks of office workers. Since there’s nothing wrong with a good old fashioned Rich Tea biscuit, that’s what you can eat thank you very much. And while we’re at it, no more ‘grazing’ through the day. Post-Brexit Britain will be a country where meals are eaten at fixed hours. IE Breakfast between 8.30 and 9.30, Lunch at 1pm, tea (now compulsory – for all citizens) at 4.30-5pm, and dinner at 8pm. Diners at lunchtime will be encouraged to drink and snoozing – whilst a filthy Mediterranean habit – will be allowed for those rendered squiffy by 3pm and who need – for the good of the nation’s productivity levels – forty winks before they return to their desks / building sites / heavy machinery.
There are too many types of coffee available which confuses shoppers. Some even claim to have been produced under principles of Fair Trade. This is of no interest, neither is it of interest if percentages of revenues raised in the sale of coffee are used to build schools or hospitals in Africa. It’s not like this makes the stuff taste better, right? So the only coffee available will be instant, which is far easier to make and if you add enough milk and sugar you can’t taste it anyway, so what’s the point. Furthermore all mass brands of coffee shop will be banned: so no more Starbucks, Costa and the like. Any small independent coffee or tea shops can only serve tea and coffee, black or white or with sugar. No more froth, mocha, skinny or otherwise.
As above. Plus milk and two sugars become mandatory.
British milk from British cows who have eaten British grass will be the only milk served. And that’s full fat also, no semi-skimmed. All non-dairy milks will be banned, so out goes almond, soya, oat and the like. Post-Brexit there will be no more dairy intolerances.
All granolas will be cleared from supermarket shelves. Only mainstream cereals will be available; i.e. Shreddies, Cornflakes, Weetabix. Special K will remain in circulation pending a decision from DEFRA. But since it has (albeit disingenuous) associations with dieting – which is frankly un-British and therefore foreign – most likely it’ll get the chop.
Avocadoes which are a metropolitan atrocity and are never ripe in time anyway will be available in selected supermarkets but are not to be eaten at breakfast. Poached eggs may be consumed but cannot be topped with chilli flakes. While home cooks may make their own sourdough loaves, they are not to talk about it – sourdough and rye bread will no longer be available in shops. Breakfast should generally consist of eggs, bacon, sausage and should include at least once a week, black pudding and kidneys. Consumers are asked to dispose of all Dijon mustard. Colman’s only will be served. Croissants will continue to be sold as they taste nice and have loads of butter in them.
OIL AND VINEGARS
In a major Brexit concession olive oil of all grades will continue to be imported and sold. Balsamic vinegar? Forget it.
All restaurants may continue to serve any variety of foreign food although menus must be written in English. For example none of this ‘hors d’oevres’ nonsense, they are ‘starters’. Also all foreign menus must offer chips as an option. Korean, Taiwanese, Bulgarian and Norwegian are out though. I mean enough’s enough, right? And no more sashimi. I mean who would eat raw fish and then call themselves British?
They are far too many supermarkets in Britain. Shopping needs to be streamlined and made simpler (see above) so the Government will take over the selling of all household goods. All current supermarket brands will cease to exist, will merge and re-open as VG stores. Bringing this solid, plain and straight-forward store will instil British gladness in all patriotic hearts. Furthermore there will be a set number of VG stores according to the size of the population. There will be no limit on small businesses such as butchers, fishmongers and bakeries.
Waste is a huge problem to both the environment and our mental states. To combat waste all offers such as Buy-One-Get-One-Free will be banned. In a bid to stop people buying unnecessary quantities of food, ‘Fridge Police’ will inspect fridges and larders and instruct people on how to make soup before their food goes off. These powers can be conferred onto housekeepers and cleaners, in the same way that plumbers are Corgi-registered. BTW junk mail will be banned also.
All bottled water to be banned. And all fizzy drinks except Coca Cola (Diet Coke banned also) which will be rationed to two bottles (not cans) per week.
VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS
Banned, obviously. Neither should anyone (i.e. children) feel compelled to eat lettuce.
With these minor changes to our daily eating and drinking routines we can return to the era of post-war Britain where nothing ever tasted of anything and neither did it need to and what’s more there were far fewer fat people.