The BBC has run a story headlined ‘Brexit threat to sandwiches’, citing an unnamed “senior grocery executive”.
“Sandwiches would be one of the first victims of a breakdown in the food supply chain in the event of a disorderly no-deal Brexit,” wrote BBC business editor Simon Jack, in a one-sided report which did not name its industry sources or offer any space for Brexit supporters to respond to their claims — despite the BBC’s legal obligations to provide balanced, politically neutral public service news coverage.
Jack described “images being conjured of massive warehouses being filled with emergency rations to see the nation through as if on a war footing”, echoing recent claims by EU loyalist Dominic Grieve MP — de facto leader of the anti-Brexit rebels within the Tory parliamentary party — that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit would plunge the country into a state of “national emergency”.
Project Fear Lives: BBC Pushes Anti-Brexit Study by Group Funded by the EU and Advised by Top Eurocrats https://t.co/jFvyTsj7IF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 12, 2017
Jack did name one source of commentary — former Waitrose boss and David Cameron era trade minister Lord Mark Price, noting that he “downplays the chances of shortages of food availability but concedes that prices would probably rise” if the United Kingdom left the EU without a deal and dealt with it on standard World Trade Organization terms.
The BBC journalist failed to note that Lord Price was an active Remain campaigner and made similar claims during the EU referendum, or that the price rises he describes depend on Britain imposing WTO import tariffs on itself — a move not supported by any of Britain’s major political parties and not required by the WTO themselves.
In fact, removing EU-mandated tariffs on non-EU agricultural products after Brexit would see food prices fall considerably.
— LBC (@LBC) December 18, 2017
The BBC editor’s article concludes by indicating that the “massive problem” it describes could be avoided by extending the Article 50 negotiations period with the EU — keeping the UK in the bloc for even longer than is currently planned.
“Staying in the EU for a bit longer would keep the chiller cabinet full of sandwiches,” he suggests.
It should be noted that the sandwich was reputedly “invented” in Britain by John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, in 1762 — a year falling centuries before the European Union, its Customs Union and Single Market were ever heard of, and in which Britain found itself actively at war with much of continental Europe.
None of this appeared to impede the success of the snack.
The latest from Project Fear…
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) July 20, 2018
The ‘Brexit threat to sandwiches’ report is not the first food-based scare story to hit the headlinesd recently, with Remainers claiming butter, cheese, and yoghurt could become “occasional luxuries” in a ‘No Deal’ scenario — with Britain apparently incapable of producing dairy products domestically or purchasing them globally in the absence of EU imports despite the very significant UK dairy agriculture industry — just days ago.
The reports come just as a Tory MP close to the Remain-supporting Prime Minister revealed that she plans to “scare people witless so [they] will eventually embrace the Theresa May plan” for an ultra-soft Brexit, in a revival of the discredited Project Fear tactics deployed by Remainers during the referendum.