Editor’s comment: September 2018

"If you've eaten the last of the Spam, Brenda, there's going to be hell to pay..."

"If you've eaten the last of the Spam, Brenda, there's going to be hell to pay..." - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Thinking of stockpiling food for a No Deal Brexit? Take some inspiration from our editor Mike Lowe who’s come up with his own essential shopping list ahead of our ‘imminent isolation’

The idea that the government might be able to stockpile food and other essentials in the event of a No Deal Brexit was so risible that I didn’t think anyone would take it seriously. Just about every business in this country operates a ‘Just In Time’ strategy (not least the motor manufacturers who would see production grind to a halt if a truckload of nuts and bolts didn’t turn up on time) and food suppliers simply don’t have the storage capacity to keep more than a few pallets of tinned pilchards in stock. And then there’s the question of seasonability. If imports become problematic, then we’ll have to live on an Olde English diet of turnips, cabbage and sprouts from November through to March.

However, no-one seems to have explained this to 300 Guardian readers who responded to an enquiry as to how they might be preparing for this imminent Armageddon. Now it was obvious that some of its worthier, holier-than-thou readers would embrace nuts and sackcloth at the drop of a macrobiotic yoghurt pot, but I was surprised at the number already investing in ‘Brexit Supplies’. One chap has bought shelving racks and plastic storage boxes for his garage and is doubling up on non-perishable and long-dated stuff every time he goes shopping. Another is buying yeast and flour and is “endeavouring to learn to bake bread”. (It’s not that hard, mate.) A third has run a power cable down the back garden to the shed where a small chest freezer is full of mackerel and spinach. (An uninterrupted power supply? Are you sure? A diet of mackerel and spinach? Are you sure?)

The shopping lists of these surprise survivalists are as you would expect. There are the usual vegetables, pulses, tinned tuna, rice, pasta, curry paste, water chestnuts, herbs and spices and, completely out of character, cans of spaghetti hoops – although no-one seems to be stocking up on shotgun cartridges for when hordes of wild Welshmen come marauding across the Severn.

Inspired by this forward planning, I thought I’d better come up with my own list of essential shopping ahead of our imminent isolation. Here’s an extract, Generation Game conveyor belt-style: Powdered egg, Calor gas, malt loaf, matches, processed peas, a wind turbine, Pot Noodles, longlife custard, semaphore flags, Fray Bentos pies, eight pints of A+ blood, billiard chalk, Branston pickle, antibiotics, long johns, profiteroles, a pair of waders, tinned sponge puddings, barbed wire, solar panels, packets of Smash, a foot pump, chocolate digestives, Izal toilet paper, home brew kit, a mop, Jeyes Fluid, diesel, a giant Toblerone, a bear trap and a pig.

I think that should just about cover it.


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You would have thought that a useful companion in the coming Apocalypse would be a Girl Guide with an armful of badges and a talent for fire-lighting, cooking and knots. Sadly it seems that some of these skills might now be lost in the cuddly-feely world we still live in. A total of 72 new badges have been introduced in a shake-up intended to help girls and young women “take on the world”. (I do wonder if we’re getting a bit obsessed with promoting these poor fragile beings whether they like it or not. Most of the women I know are formidable forces who certainly don’t need a leg up when it comes to establishing their place in society, and would give you a painful Chinese burn if you suggested that they did.)

Anyway, the hostess badge has been retired, and badges for mindfulness and vlogging (mucking about on the internet) introduced. Brownies can now collect an aviation badge, although why you would want to let an eight-year-old fly a plane is beyond me, and Rangers can collect a badge for festival-going, which will surely include lessons on balancing on a fit young man’s shoulders and blocking everyone else’s view. Perhaps even more alarming is the mixology badge for Guides. I’m sure a Porn Star Martini will be quite welcome when I’m huddled down in my No Deal Brexit bunker. I’m just not sure that I want a 14-year-old child making it.

For more from Mike, follow him on Twitter! @cotslifeeditor