The impending arrival of Brexit
I have been trying to not write about the endless negotiations going on in Brussels about Britain’s trade deal with the European Union. I have interviewed many people about it and there is almost a universal cry of, please, just give us some solid answers to base our plans on. One haulier has been training his staff in the many possible permutations for over a year now. If X occurs, then Y. If Z occurs, then implenent A again. It’s like doing my probability class all over (I failed that one and owed my father money for it at university).
Every time I see the television advertisement saying that business has to prepare, I cringe. Businesses have been trying to prepare. I am not quite sure what the British government has been doing, except infighting and dealing with a global pandemic in a similarly haphazard way. We have had three prime ministers since Brexit was voted in, by a slim margin, in 2016.
It goes to show that even among the Brexiteers, the policy of leaving the EU is not a universally agreed one. However, as I write this talks are still ongoing. I would like to be optimistic on this, but again, lorries are piling up at ports here and the M20 looks like a lorry park (it’s a major motorway).
Then again, as one cheese maker put it, maybe this will be good for our domestic market. It may well be, as dairy tends to collect its milk in the same country and process it internally into cheese and other products. Where it starts bumping into things is if you need a part that’s been supplied by the EU previously, or you like to buy Italian rennet or something. I hear Filippo Berio, the olive oil supplier, has a stockpile in the UK of its products to ensure supply is not constricted. So, people have been making plans despite the government.
As Andrew Marr, a British television newsman put it back when the vote was counted, Brexit will neither be as good as you hope for, nor as bad as you fear. Meanwhile, I will eat my mince pies and try to avoid the news over the holiday season. Wake me up when it’s over.
- Suzanne Christiansen, editor, Dairy Industries International.
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