Sadly, anybody sitting down in 50 years’ time to look back at the news media from the past three years is likely to choke on whatever food and beverage happens to be de-rigueur in 2072. First, Brexit was knocked off the front pages by a worldwide pandemic and then, just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, Covid was unceremoniously bundled into touch by the war in Ukraine.
Putting Covid to one side for a moment, the other two appear to have their roots in what some would call imperialism, and others would describe as nationalism. But are the two of them about to come together, unwittingly, to promote a different ‘ism’ – patriotism?
I only ask because it appears to me that one of the biggest things to come out of both Brexit and the dreadful situation in Ukraine is that whilst co-operation and trade between nations is undoubtedly the most convenient option – and one that supports consumer demand for a cheap and readily available supply of everything from iron ore to lemons – it isn’t necessarily the most robust solution. The inevitable rise in the cost of food, fuel, and raw materials as a result of the conflict will have an impact on every aspect of our lives, as indeed will the resultant disruption to the supply chain. Along with the growing spectre of inflation, all of these pose a new challenge to a hospitality industry still trying to recover after the pandemic.
So, on the face of it there doesn’t appear to be too much to be positive about, but here’s a thought… at a time when we are all obsessed with reducing waste, whether that be food or drink, cutting down on food miles, and championing provenance and buying local, wouldn’t it be great if the current situation proved to be the catalyst for a resurgence in UK business and the rise of a new generation of entrepreneurs determined to showcase everything that is great about this country, from farming to manufacturing, banking to engineering. Regardless of how you feel about Brexit that would really be something wouldn’t it?!