surinenglish

Project fear

When Spaniards hear expats refer to 'Project Fear' ('Proyecto Miedo') they have little idea what they are talking about, even if their knowledge of English is above average.

Trying to explain that the half of the population of Britain that prefers to leave the European Union is having the frighteners put on them by those who wished to remain, produces looks of incredulity.

The news that the Queen may go into hiding and that supplies of imported medicines may dry up, are pretty serious matters.

What is also taken very seriously is the continuance of wine imports to the UK. Yes, there is some very good English wine, but it is almost all red, and, not surprisingly because it is taxed at the same rate as all imported wine, quite expensive. Certainly it could never take the place of that cheap and cheerful Rioja we all drink.

So sombreros off to a few enterprising wineries, namely Bodegas Riojanas in the first instance, that have thoughtfully sent to the UK in January the equivalent quantity of wine they send in half a year.

Other wineries have of course followed suit. Post-Brexit UK may be short of critical drug supplies, but sufficient tinto will not be a problem.

Project Fear really gets up a head of steam when it comes to adequate food supplies. Rumours are rife, and when news that London restaurant Native, in Borough Market, was serving grey squirrel cooked in various ways, it was too good a story not to exaggerate.

There was even the myth, initially given wide credence, that an apprehensive French hunter had organised a shoot, the outcome of which enabled him to deliver a thousand squirrels to the British Embassy in Paris with the message, 'A present to our dear British cousins, so they need not go hungry'.

There is no record of what the Embassy staff did with all those poor little grey-furred carcases. They doubtless respected previous form and put them through a shredder.

What is evident is that whatever happens, wine aficionados of post-Brexit Britain will not go short of Rioja, nor of organic wild meat, ergo grey squirrels.