Home Feminism Is There Anything, At All, That Rhiannon Understands?

Is There Anything, At All, That Rhiannon Understands?



Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett tells us that Brexit will deprive us of our pizzas. And other nice food. One error she’s making is that she’s believing the Daily Mail – always an error that:

For example:

So what’s on the menu? Thankfully, MailOnline has provided us with a handy graphic predicting our post-Brexit food future, and – spoiler alert – most of it is beige. I considered momentarily whether this was some kind of meta-commentary on the racism at the heart of the Brexit vision, but concluded that Brexiteers don’t really do semiotics. Unless you count the post-referendum graffiti on the Polish cultural centre, or the National Front posters that appeared after the vote, or Farage standing in front of that Ukip billboard.

I don’t know about you, but I for one am excited that pizza (“dough is made from wheat varieties that thrive in other climates”) is to be replaced with (checks menu) … is that toast? And chips? Never mind. If I don’t fancy a toast-and-chips extravaganza and my usual, house deposit-sapping avocados are rotting in a shipping container somewhere near Dover while a lorry driver defecates in a hedgerow, there is always …(picks up menu again) … egg on toast with a glass of milk. Oh.

Beyond believing the Mail she’s being stupid again. For that’s not a listing of European foods at all. That’s a listing of imported ones.

There’s that example of cod there – usually Norwegian or Icelandic we’re told. Neither of which are countries in the European Union. That being why they’ve got cod to sell, because they’re not part of the Common Fisheries Policy, the most stupid, yea even more so than the Common Agricultural Policy, of the EU’s impositions.

Then there’s the avocado thing:

Although Mexico is by far the world’s largest producer of avocados, the UK relies on imports from elsewhere, with Peru, South Africa, Chile, Israel and Spain (in that order) accounting for 84% of the avocados brought into the UK over the last 5 years (analysis carried out using data from HM Revenue and Customs).

Hmm, so we’re not that reliant upon the EU for those then.

And the wheat? True, I don’t actually know about pizza dough. But much Italian pasta is made from Canadian wheat as the Italian grown stuff isn’t suitable for it.

Which is all something of a joy, isn’t it? The examples used are pretty much nothing to do with the EU or Brexit. And the Mail’s graphic is about imported foods, not EU foods.

Actually, the Mail’s talking about the diet we would have to have is we were all to eat locally. Perhaps Rhiannon would like to go talk to her Guardian colleagues about their insistence that we should all do that then? George, you ready for that conversation?



  1. The only ‘food’ that might come mainly from the EU is the wine. But the heathen Chinee are bitching that Aussie wine is too cheap, so you can easily buy as much of ours as you wish.

    But I have to agree. Provided you have the cash, I can’t imagine that the EU, or indeed the rest of the world (well, maybe not the Chinks) would make any difficulty about selling you anything.

  2. An astounding ignorance of where foodstuffs come from. And, who exactly is going to be buying all those Belgian chocolates that can’t (for some unstated reason be exported from Brussels and imported to the UK? Upon reflection, Brexit may result in improvement to the variety of the British diet.

  3. The origin of the food is irrelevant, apart from it being outside the UK (or possibly outside GB). The problem being described is that exitting the customs union means lots of extra customs checks, which the ports are not ready to perform, so they will cause a reduction in throughput and long delays. While the root cause of this is goods coming from the EU, the congestion will affect goods coming from everywhere.

    • Why would we have ‘extra’ customs checks for Canadian wheat, South African oranges, New Zealand butter, Argentine beef and Australian lamb?

    • Charles, this is horse shit. I have first hand experience of pretty much every major port and airport around the country handling inbound freight from both EU and non-EU countries.

      The non-EU stuff generally has an easier time as more information gets provided up front, so checks are conducted whilst in transit with only a tiny percentage physically inspected on landing.

      Freight coming from the EU (mainly lorries through channel ports) has a much harder time as it’s generally not known what’s coming – EU law prevents any kind of pre information. Given the throughput at Dover and Cheriton it’s not possible to stop a truck for a ‘quick chat’ – a big queue will form very quickly so any vehicle of possible interest has to be taken offline and wait for inspection. This can cause big problems for just-in-time operations such as supermarkets.

      Ports handling mainly non-EU imports will not be impacted by a change in rules to EU imports, simply the balance of what gets intercepted may tilt for a while, but this will be mainly politically driven rather than from any perceived risk.

      I predict that within 2 years of a proper Brexit (if govt. is sensible about it) our border controls will be far smoother than they are today for EU traffic.

  4. Exiting the customs unions only means extra customs checks if we choose to have extra customs check. Being *in* means you are forced to *not* have checks, being out does not force to to *have* them, just *removes* the forcing to not have them. Not being forced to not do something does not force you to do something. You can completely freely choose to not do the thing you are not longer being forced to not do.

    I admit that the use of more than one negative is too much for the poor minds at the Guardian. They regularly demonstrate that you have to have absolute proof of complete functional illiteracy before being allowed to work there.

    • I’m not sure what you’re saying is actually true, @jgh. Aren’t there some non-discrimination clauses (I’m thinking WTO level) that prevent a country from actively discriminating in terms of border checks? This was a big part of the NI border issue as I understood it. Broadly speaking, I think leaving the EU customs union means that the UK is legally obliged to apply comparable checks on imports from the EU as it does on imports from elsewhere, and can’t just keep waving them through. I may be wrong but think that’s the rough gist of the matter. Now you could argue that we should just skip doing checks on all imports from anywhere, but that doesn’t sound politically or practically viable – there are reasons countries undertake border checks.

      • Not sure about the WTO rules on that, but bear in mind that 99.9% of ‘border checks’ for non-EU imports are done electronically without a person needing to physically needing to crack open the container. So no, we won’t skip doing checks – we will actually end up doing more checks on inbound freight from the EU with less disruption and cost. Win win!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


in British English
expunct (ɪkˈspʌŋkt)
VERB (transitive)
1. to delete or erase; blot out; obliterate
2. to wipe out or destroy

Support Us

Recent posts

American Hyperconsumerism Is Killing Fewer People!

This report does not say what the Guardian headline writers think it does: Three Americans create enough carbon emissions to kill one person, study finds The...

Contracts Often Lag New Revenue Streams

I've been - vaguely and not with any great interest - anticipating a story like this: Scarlett Johansson sues Walt Disney over Marvel’s Black Widow...

Richard Murphy Rediscovers Monetarism

We have a delightful example of how Richard Murphy simply doesn't understand the basic nuts and bolts of the economics he wants to impose...

Vox Is Missing The Point About Having A Constitution

Not that we should be all that surprised by this from the progressives at Vox. No government- well, no one not controlled by...

So Let’s Have An Elitist Technocracy Instead!

There's been a certain amount - OK, a lot - of squealing in the US about how democracy is the ultimate value and we...

Recent comments