Hold the Remoaning! Melissa Kite takes a wry look at how plummeting house prices and that emergency wine haul could be the best thing that’s ever happened
Stockpile that wine
No News Please, We’d Rather Have Sex!
Television has become unwatchable, with wall-to-wall arguing on every channel as all sides in the Brexit debate become more extreme by the day. Question Time gives you a hernia. Sky News makes you want to self-harm. Even the soaps are full of plot lines to do with leaving the EU. The Archers is now an everyday tale of farming folk coping with threatened export tariffs on lamb.
Agh! There’s no escapism. As a result, we Brits are going to bed earlier and earlier. I’m turning in before 8pm most nights to bury my head in the sand – well, duvet. Aside from the health benefits of getting more sleep, it must surely be possible that a few of us are, dare we say, having more sex? Of course, we ought to be lying in bed reading the 599-page Withdrawal Agreement. I did that once and it was better than a sleeping pill.
Dinner Parties are no longer dull
In the old days, before we voted to leave the EU, you may remember that entertaining was a tricky affair. There were, from time to time, awkward silences around dinner tables as guests struggled to keep up the conversation. Not any more. Since Brexit, you can be sure that no matter who you invite to dinner, your guests will be at each other’s throats, screaming their opinions over the soup until they are blue in the face from indigestion.
The same can be said for ordinary mealtimes when family members now barely draw breath from their pro- or anti-European ravings long enough to resentfully push a few forkfuls of food into their mouths before storming off upstairs. Consequently, there is little point preparing home-cooked meals for your loved ones. A bucket of KFC thrown into the middle of the squabbling mob will suffice, saving you money in the supermarket.
Stockpiling is fun – and good for the economy
I’ve made myself a Brexit bunker in the cellar with water containers full of Perrier, bottles of wine for those post-Brexit dinner parties, sacks of flour for bread-making and extra feed for my horses, along with supplies of equine anti-inflammatories and antibiotics. It’s great for someone of my spoilt and over-pampered generation to experience something of the wartime panic our parents or grandparents fondly remember. Also, some economists believe the stockpiling of insulin, aeroplane and car parts – with all the extra warehousing that entails – has already boosted the economy.
The Joy Of Shortages
Let’s face it, we need less. We’ve had too much of everything for too long. If Brexit means difficulty importing some food and luxury items, a bit of deprivation will do us good. A more basic diet and less overindulging might even save the NHS money in the long run. Note to Remainers: I am not making a specific pledge here about a precise amount of extra cash the NHS would enjoy if we all ate and drank less, but obviously it could be as much as shed loads, or even gazillions.
Grow Your Own…Everything
Threats of food shortages will also boost our resourcefulness. The UK only produces just over half of what it eats. Should there be problems with imports post Brexit, aside from the flour, oats, sugar beet, salt, vinegar and mustard we do make, we’re going to have to rediscover our Land Girls spirit and grow the rest of what we need, too.
Of course, there will be culinary hardship. Entire Jamie Oliver recipes will be wiped out and Nigella lemon cakes rendered obsolete if the doom-mongers are right. Spices, chilli and olive oil may be hard to get, as well as the haricot beans used for baked beans. But on the environmental side, fewer beans means less gas released into the atmosphere, so it’s not all bad.
If it turns out we need more land to grow food, we will have to stop concreting over the countryside. No more executive estates of million-pound homes with a few token affordable flats thrown in by the developers to get planning permission on the green belt. Construction firms will have no choice but to build truly affordable housing on brownfield sites. And just in time, for we could be about to see a first-time buyer boom.
If house prices fall, young people will be able to get on the housing ladder. Millions of 20-somethings from the boomerang generation will finally leave home for good and their poor parents will be able to enjoy empty-nesting and a well-earned cruise. They might find the price of their holiday has gone up and the queue at European ports is longer, but you can’t have everything.
For Brexit, For Worse
Talking of house prices, the middle classes are stuck where they are because they can’t bring themselves to sell their homes at a low point, so they’ve had to put off that divorce they were looking forward to in midlife. This is ironic considering the breakdown of their relationship was in part due to all that post-referendum bickering. Around a fifth of 300 relationship support practitioners surveyed by the charity Relate said they had worked with clients who argued over Brexit. Traditionalists will be overjoyed that being unhappy together is back in fashion and marriage is once again becoming a life sentence.
Deal or No Deal
Have you written your Brexit bucket list yet? Like the millennium bug, the stories of doom and disaster are making some of us wonderfully fatalistic and adventurous. The alarmists are preparing us for the end, so we might as well have a good time.
A recent consumer survey revealed that 89 per cent say they will still book a European beach break this year, while 83 per cent stated they would happily holiday abroad on Brexit day itself. This is fighting talk. Besides, if you do get away, there’s always a chance you might hook that Spanish waiter, who’s looking more handsome by the minute if he can get you the EU passport you need to fulfil your dream of retiring to the Dordogne.
Euro-Nostalgia, The New Craze
You may have noticed that people are starting to feel wistful about all things European, including the things they used to hate. This is always the way just before you say goodbye to something. Why else would young people who have never before so much as noticed we are in the EU be painting their faces with its flag? Snails, sangria, Blue Nun, red tape, towels on sunbeds, drunken bureaucrats at gravy-train summits… suddenly we love them all. Is Brexit just God’s way of making us appreciate Jean-Claude Juncker?
Bon voyage and bonne chance, everyone! See you on the other side…