Can you remember when, in the build up to the year 2000, the world was abuzz with talk of the ‘Millennium Bug’?
I was seven at the time, so only vaguely remember the sense of impending disaster. When the clock finally struck midnight on December 31, 1999, I recall a lot of adults dancing the conga, singing raucously and spilling alcohol on someone’s rather nice carpet but that was the extent of the crisis. The computer bug, such as it was, did not cause planes to combust mid air, nor nuclear plants to go into meltdown.
Human beings are prone to bouts of hysteria and overestimating doom. We have done it since the dawn of time, when we were very quickly assured that God would be stopping the clock pretty much the second he started it. Armageddon was but days away, if the religious were to be believed, and, as we moved to a post religious existence, we became absolutely certain that we had just months to go until the polar ice caps melted and the world was destroyed (a theme we’ve been following for the best part of half a century now).
In politics, too, we assume the worst; every time a new leader emerges, their opponents are quick to label them ‘literally Hitler,’ which, sadly, we take all too seriously every time.
And, following hot on the heels of Donald Trump being declared by the masses ‘the worst president in history’ (even as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton potter around their garden sheds, wars and impeachments blissfully forgotten), we are faced with the latest round of chest beating and teeth gnashing, over no-deal Brexit.
There have been some pretty wacky responses to the idea of a no deal. Here are a few of the best.
KFC could run out of chicken
Apparently, all across the UK, a shortage of poultry is about to take hold. There’ll be riots in the streets as the Colonel declares martial law to ensure the delivery trucks aren’t jumped by youths desperate for some fried goodness, and the shortage could see other outlets affected, too. What will happen to the plucky, can-do spirit of the British if the cheeky Nandos flame dies? Where will Change UK concoct their plots? Will we be able to survive long enough for us to strike a trade deal with the US, and be rescued by squadrons of B52s airdropping chlorinated chicken across London?
There may be a shortage of essential medicines
My mother would say that as long as we get the chlorinated chicken, we’ll be able to make chicken broth, and in so doing, will have won half the battle in the event of a medicine shortage. If Tom Watson can overcome Type 2 Diabetes, all whilst presumably dodging novichok assassination attempts from the leader’s office (Comrade Corbyn was a Czechslovak useful idiot, after all) then the rest of us can surely join the ensuing health drive. In the event of widespread medicine shortages we can always go back to tried and tested British methods: dried herbs, smelling salts, bleeding, leeches and the like.
Premier League football clubs may not be able to sign foreign players
If the stories are to be believed and no deal will make it more difficult for English clubs to sign EU players, this may adversely affect the quality of football in the UK. Liverpool and Manchester City are probably the best two sides in the world at the moment, and are packed with European talent. Well, not to worry, because it presents an ample opportunity for young, English players to step up and make their mark on the biggest stage. Yes, Virgil Van Dijk is the best in the world. But who is to say Lewis Dunk can’t be as good? Or Conor Coady, or Declan Rice? Sure, they don’t posses the talent, but they have the British can-do spirit. And that’s all you need, right?
Besides, being unable to trade with Europe doesn’t mean we can’t import footballers from Brazil and Argentina, two burgeoning global economies, and it is surely about time we struck trade deals with untapped footballing nations, such as Chad, India, or Kazakhstan.
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown may emigrate
This is a story that the public needs to continuously be reminded of. Please don’t leave without a deal, Mr Johnson. What ever would we do without Yasmin Alibhai-Brown?
A Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Government
Perhaps the most farfetched of all the project fear tropes that have been trotted out over the prospect of no deal is the idea that, in the event of Britain leaving the EU, the government may face a general election and lose it. That the electorate might allow an aging communist with a soft spot for antisemites, Venezuelan dictators and the IRA to march into Downing Street and up the steps into Number Ten is pure fantasy. It’s not going to happen.
I mean, surely not?