The call to arms from Michael Gove for mass Cheese Patriotism is not just a slap in the face for the Lactose Intolerant Community but raises some diffcult questions about rennet and takes us perilously close to Cheddar Gorge.
The chief Brexiteer who will bring Chlorinated Chicken to your table seems confused about cheese and biscuits. Setting aside the Marxist sympathisers like Leicester and Windsor, or divisive nationalists like Cornish Yarg, the message is clear: we all need to get behind the Stinky Bishop.
“Ask not that your country can do for you, but what you can do for your Caerphilly.”
This isn’t just a question for the Hallouminati.* The price of food, which is what Brexit threatens, is a real issue for Austerity breadline Britain.
If we end this year realising that “Brexit means Cheese Patriotism”, this isn’t all a joke.
Gove’s latest unpasteurised absurdism stands in the context of a very real problem about Scottish food branding. For weeks campaigners have been arguing to protect ‘Scotland the brand’ whilst being derided as tinfoil nationalists. But the problem has much more to do with provenance than patriotism.
In other words, in a world in which traceability of food and food standards is about to become an even more contested issue, knowing where your food comes from is essential.
For Scotland, who may well have our GM-Free status undermined by the Brexit power-grab, this is vital to protecting our food industry.
Gove flys the Union Jack for British food whilst simultaneously undermining the Scottish food economy. He asks you to support British food producers while introducing a trade deal which will destroy them.
As Lesley Riddch writes, it’s an issue that has begun to affect our soft-No voting voters in rural and farming communities (‘UK’s failure to protect Scotland brand is one of many reasons No voters are now thinking again‘):
“The recent stooshie over the loss of Scotland as a brand name or place of origin on Tesco and M&S supermarket shelves didn’t just galvanise angry consumers and prompt the launch of the #keepScotlandtheBrand social media campaign and The National’s own Save Our Scotland Brand campaign.
Food producers, farmers, whisky manufacturers and tourism businesses all started to realise their export and even domestic sales are at stake because all depend upon the fact Scotland is synonymous with premium quality products the world over. If Scotland loses that brand recognition – either subsumed beneath a catch-all “British” tag or forced to share its name with any post-Brexit trade partners – Scotland will lose tourists, market share and revenue and our rural economy will be hit particularly hard.
And it could well happen. Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Scotch whisky are just three products set to lose their protected status after Brexit. Will the UK Government really risk losing valuable trade deals to protect the jewels of Scotland’s trading crown?”
Yes. Yes they will.
Brexit will undermind key sectors of the food industry. It already is doing this. As the penny drops an apppeal to Dairylea Nationalism won’t cut it. This is Wensleydale Westminster, and it’s crackers.
The choice isn’t between a Soft Cheese Brexit and a Hard Cheese Brexit. It’s about escaping the madness.
“You can’t eat flags”, remember?
* copyright Darren McGarvey