Here we are, then, on the last day of the UK’s membership of the EU. We fought, we lost, and now we’ve got to live with the consequences.
Which won’t really start to take effect until the start of next year, of course, because we’ll be in the transition period until then. Until 2021 we’ll still be able to travel freely; there will be no added tariffs on goods; food standards will still be the high ones we’re used to.
Ah yes, food standards. Just the other day I had a realisation — no, it was something that I already knew. More a dawning fear of how close a bad thing was. What brought it home was this headline in the Independent: “Brexit: US insists chlorinated chicken must be on menu in any UK trade agreement.”
Obviously no-one’s going to force anyone to buy or eat chicken, chlorine-washed or otherwise. But remember why chicken in the US is washed in chlorine, and why importing it into the EU is banned: it’s because the food standards are significantly lower than those in the EU. The chlorine washing is to kill off bacteria and make the meat fit for human consumption.
So what that headline means is that a US trade deal could depend on the UK lowering its food standards. That’s what Brexit means: our government could choose to lower the standards of hygiene required in food production. Sit with that thought for a while.
There are a couple of good things to think about on this bleak day. Both of those are also from America, and neither has anything to do with Brexit. But I’ll leave them for later posts. Stay tuned.
I leave you with this delightful snippet of Alex Andreou, on the Remainiacs podcast, suggesting how to cope with today, and the future.