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Advanced Engineering 2020

NEC, Birmingham(B40 1NT)

04/11/2020 - 05/11/2020

The UK's largest annual advanced manufacturing trade show, Advanced Engineering is your opportunity to (more)

Drives & Controls Exhibition

NEC, Birmingham(B40 1NT)

25/01/2021 - 27/01/2021

The show brings together key suppliers of state-of-the-art equipment representing the multi-tasking culture (more)

A sorry tale of Brexit and instant mashed potato

With Mrs Simms being away for a few days, I’ve been left to fend for myself. For the most part this has been okay, thanks to some forward planning – which essentially meant politely asking the gastronomically adept Mrs Simms to prepare a few meals in advance, which I could then reheat at my leisure. This was all working out marvellously well until the last day, when I realised that I had misjudged some portion sizes earlier in the week and now had no mashed potato left to go with my last two sausages. With no other option, having ruled out microwave rice (bangers and rice; I think not) I discovered a tub of instant mashed potato buried right at the back of the pantry. Simply add boiling water and an optional knob of butter for fluffy mashed potato in seconds.

I spent a few moments walking around the kitchen doing passable impressions of the Smash Aliens laughing at humans peeling their potatoes and mashing them – if that means nothing to you, then look up Smash Aliens on Youtube – and then opened up the tub. Noting that one portion had been taken (must have been me, but the life of me I can’t remember when), I checked the use by date. Technically I should have finished the tub, worst case, by July 2018, and certainly within six weeks of opening (which must have expired significantly earlier than July 2018), but as a living-on-the-edge kind of guy I decided to risk it. For those of you of a nervous disposition, be reassured that it’s now three days later and I suffered no ill effects.

All of which, curiously, left me thinking about Brexit, and its analogy with a mashed potato scenario that was certainly not ideal, but at the same time not quite as bad as I thought it might be. Is that what we’ll be saying about the UK’s exit from Europe in a few year’s time, looking back on these tumultuous times? Will we be wondering whether a no deal Brexit could have been avoided had some of our politicians worked a little harder and shown a little less brinkmanship? Even the most optimistic forecasts, based on the softest of Brexits, reckon the economy will be down when we leave and will take many years to recover. The pessimistic forecasts paint a picture of economic disaster.

The irony of a potato-based Brexit analogy is that the UK is a net exporter of potatoes, the vast majority of which go to the EU. A no deal Brexit would surely put that business at risk, and would be particularly damaging at a time when Germany – traditionally one our biggest markets in the UK – has increased its own production. Just as demand for UK products dips, so the price will go up. One wonders how many other UK products we could say the same about. Surely it’s time politicians across all of the UK’s parties stopped talking about catastrophic and humiliating defeats, and started working together to make Brexit work. Given the ineptitude displayed on all sides so far, I can imagine exactly what the Smash Aliens would be saying.

Mark Simms Editor

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