The view through the, rain spattered, window of ‘Dunmoanin’ seems bleak and uninspiring as the hopes and dreams of my embittered and embattled nation are systematically dashed to pieces on the rocks below. The VOR and I are holed up in this isolated cottage while the teens recover from exam fatigue and I wrestle with an article on what Brexit may mean for the wine industry.
‘Dunmoanin’ appears to be an extremely popular bolthole. A glance at the visitors book reveals such illustrious names as Osborne, Assange, John Darwin, Gordon Brown and Lucky Lucan and the VOR informs me that we must leave, in a timely manner, as another new guest is expected soon.
Gazing absentmindedly, and disconsolately, at the leaden sea-sky twin set – I believe grey’s in this season – a damp, drizzly sense of foreboding descends on tennis professionals, cricketers and political aspirants alike.
Cursing the gods of wifi whilst trying, and failing, to download the Dambusters, I begin with the economy which has plunged to a level not seen for thirty years when eerily apocryphal songs like Patti Labelle’s ‘On My Own’ and Howard Jones’s ‘No One Is To Blame’ graced the pop charts. Unfortunately it appears that we are on our own and someone’s definitely to blame.
The big winners in a weak pound war, are as ever, the major players. If you’re wealthy chances are it won’t affect you and all you have to do is sit tight, ride it out, check the markets and enjoy the show. To use that hackneyed and irritating old phrase ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’.
For non EU producers it will be easier, and cheaper, to import without the hindrance of a potentially ever rising scale of EU duty. The strong USD and AUD means that our American, Antipodean and South African friends will be sharing the big brand love like there’s no tomorrow. So it will be business as usual on the shelves of your local supermarket, although finding a bottle of Yellowtail, Blossom Hill or The Devil’s Codpiece ,for less than a fiver, may be a thing of the glorious and rose tinted past.
Ironically, its the little people who will suffer. Not the leprechauns – although they may have their own problems – but the kind of small businesses the Brexiteers assured us would be having the time of their lives. It’s great to support British business if you know where its raw materials are coming from. The simple fact is that the small do not have the financial reserves to ride out the coming s**tstorm.
If you have a business whose products primarily come from the EU, then your suppliers may choose to sell entirely within the EU. And even if they do sell to you – chances are they currently don’t like you all that much – then you will be clobbered with ever increasing supply chain costs. This, in turn, limits the choices of Mr and Mrs John Bull.
Of course ,if you are a conspiracy theorist, this could all be a fiendish plot to sell more English wine. But remember, Boris and Michael were drinking beer, not flutes full of namby pamby Nyetimber.
So what if we turn our backs on the sunny sybaritic fruit of the vine and opt for an alternative. We Brits came late to wine remember, historically preferring the taste of beer, like the majority of our northern European neighbours, and spirits such as gin (extremely popular) and schnapps (not so). These are manly drinks and we deny our northernness, in this grey and unpleasant land, at our peril!
‘I’m ready’ the VOR says. ‘Have you sorted everything?’
‘Yes’ I say. ‘I’ve replenished what we’ve used and taken the liberty of stocking the larder with some good old fashioned British produce like Spam, Cadburys Smash, Fry’s Chocolate Cream, Jammy Dodgers, Bully Beef and a few cans of Old Molethrottler. I’ve also scattered some rubbish over the lawn and lit some candles as a reminder of the seventies and I finally managed to download a few ‘Carry On’ films and some episodes of ‘Yes Minister.’
‘You’d better hurry’ she shouts as a large red bus draws up outside. ‘And stop saying ‘Take Back Control’ in that Dalek voice.