Coronavirus Survival

While we are still in the process of Brexit – leaving the EU – a pandemic has hit the world. It’s not just the UK needing to prepare for leaving the EU but the whole world preparing to fight a new virus.

https://www.brexitsurvivaljournal.com/

PANIC Happening

People have not prepared, so now they are panicking and buying everything in sight. Supermarket shelves are empty of toilet paper and bread. Milk is in short supply and people are fighting over what few supplies are available. This happens not only when a pandemic occurs but also every winter in places where they get a lot of snow and it suddenly, surprisingly, starts snowing because it’s winter.

These Things Are ALWAYS Going To Happen

There is always going to be a tornado, a flood, an illness, a snowstorm, a power cut or SOMETHING that is going to disrupt daily life.

We Have Lost The Ability To Prepare

Some years ago, shops closed all day on Sundays and often at lunchtimes and on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. They closed for a couple of days at Christmas and Easter. We knew how to prepare for that. Even earlier, there WERE no shops. People grew their own vegetables, hunted for autumn fruit and caught their own meat. They had apple barrels and hung meat in the fireplace or kept a stockpot going, where fresh stuff was thrown in. I am not suggesting we go back to those days (though some already have) but that we get back to understanding how to stock and prepare for the lean times.

Just In Time

JIT or “Just In Time” is another problem. Shops used to have stockrooms where they stored the next lot of goods for going on the shelves. They always had anything from 3 days to 3 weeks of supplies available. Now, they have “Just In Time” deliveries. They get a delivery every day and it’s gone by the time the next JIT delivery arrives. At Christmas or Easter, they increase the number of deliveries by about 30% to take account of increased demand. Before the last Brexit deadline, when it was thought the UK might leave the EU with no deal, the government knew that lorry delays and customs would delay deliveries from abroad and asked supermarkets to increase their stocks to carry about 3 months supply of goods. Whether those stocks have now been run down, I do not know. But there will be a need for that kind of storage again at the end of December 2020, when the next Brext deadline takes place. The use of JIT deliveries means that when demand increases unexpectedly, as it does in the time of a pandemic or the threat of floods, for instance, the shops do not have sufficient stock to meet that increased demand, so we see empty shelves.

Panic

Of course, the sight of empty shelves produces panic as people worry that others know more than them and they won’t be able to feed their family. Then we see fights breaking out, angry scenes as people are unable to get what they need, poorer people who are unable to buy extra missing out, etc.

PREP Not Panic

If you PREP – that is prepare for shortages or for things not being available in times of environmental crisis, like illness or floods or snowstorms – then you are helping EVERYONE. You won’t need to panic buy because you will have what you need, nor will you need to spend money from a tight budget because you will have built up your stocks gradually, thinking about what you will NEED. That means more left for others, including those who are unable to stock up. It also means less waste, because you won’t be throwing out stuff you can’t use and you won’t be buying loads of stuff you would never use. It also means you don’t have to go out, if you have to self isolate due to illness or possible infection.

When You Can’t Stock Pile For Brexit

I have seen a lot of posts recently on whether people are stocking up for Brexit. I was surprised (and pleased) to see that in one particular group over 2/3rds of respondents were stocking up to some extent.
www.brexitsurvivaljournal.comBut I was also sad to see that a number of people said that they did not even know how they would put food on the table THIS week, never mind stocking up for the future. šŸ™

Some people also said they would love to stockpile for Brexit but they did not know how to: they felt that any extra tins would get used up before Brexit came along. So I thought it would be useful to start a list of ideas for how to create and keep a small stockpile for future needs.

Squirrel It Away

www.brexitsurvivaljournal.comSquirrels hide nuts in Autumn, so they will have something to eat when they wake up (they do not hibernate fully, but wake and go back to sleep again). Get yourself a small box (free from the greengrocer) and put your tins or other non-perishable food in there and hide it away, under your bed, in the wardrobe, under a cupboard, wherever you won’t go straight to when making your ordinary meals. Forget about it, unless there is an emergency. Once Brexit is over, you can add the stuff to your normal store or keep it in case of another emergency in the future. Remember to check dates every so often!

Skim It Off The Top

At the start of the month or the week, or when you get some money and you buy some stuff, remove part of what you have bought (one tin, one jar, one packet) and add it to the box below the bed or in the wardrobe and forget about it until there is an emergency. www.brexitsurvivaljournal.com

Keep The Pennies

www.brexitsurvivaljournal.comThis also applies to any small change you get from the shop. DO NOT throw small change away, store it in a jar. It mounts up. Even keep your small change in a separate pocket and just save what is left over at the end of the week, if you can’t save it each day. Your local small shop will be glad to get paid with change, it often costs them to get more change from the bank for use in their shop!

In terms of small change, try sofa diving, or look on the ground near shop doors, you may find pennies or silver that other people have discarded!

If you can afford it, try saving a penny PLUS a penny for each day of the year. For instance, on 1st January, save 1 penny in a jar. On 2nd January, add 2 pennies to the jar, 3 on the 3rd, 4 on the 4th, etc. By the end of March, you will be saving 91 pence a day and you will already have Ā£41.86 in the jar. Very often, you can save 10p or possibly even Ā£1 a day, without really missing it from your budget. It is surprising how quickly it mounts up, if you do that regularly.

UnLawful – Parliament Suspension

www.brexitsurvivaljournal.comUnlawful

The UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnston’s suspension of Parliament in September for 5 weeks until October 19th 2019 was unlawful.

What Does This Mean

As the suspension was illegal. it means that Parliament is NOT suspended.

What Happens Now

It seems that several things could happen:

  1. The speaker of the House of Commons and the Speaker of the House of Lords can get together to recall Parliament, as it was not suspended;
  2. The Prime Minister may have an option to suspend Parliament again, as an executive function, that is, not asking the Queen to sign the order;
  3. The previous session may be reinstated or there may need to be a Queen’s Speech, signalling a new Parliamentary session, which means that any legislation that was going through Parliament when it was prorogued (suspended) will be lost.

It’s all “Wait and See”.

Update

The speaker of the House of Commons has called on Parliament to reconvene at 11.30am on Wednesday 25th of September 2019. You can read the latest news on this.

Updated 27 September 2019

Parliament reconvened and it seems that the previous session has continued, as if it had not been suspended. There have been some noisy scenes in the house, with some members attempting to shout others down and some very bad tempered repartee. It is currently a “wait and see” game, with each side trying to ensure that is is not outfoxed.

 

Yellowhammer Black Swan and Kingfisher

www.brexitsurvivaljournal.comNOT Birdwatching

No, this is not a bird watching post but an article on 3 codenames for secret government reports on Brexit.

YellowHammer

What is Yellowhammer? A Yellowhammer is a small bird with a song that is said to sound like “A little bit of bread and no cheese” and the term is now being used as a code name by government for work relating to a no-deal scenario for Brexit. It was in August 2019 that The Sunday Times reported on a document, code named Yellowhammer, that provided a realistic assessment of severe problems if the UK left the EU without a deal, including:

  • a three-month “meltdown” at channel ports with major hold-ups;
  • HGV delays at Dover between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half days;
  • a hard Irish border;
  • shortages of some foods and medicine import delays;
  • possible public disorder increase with protests and counter-protests; and,
  • a rise in community tensions.

Scaremongering

The Government has dismissed the document as “scaremongering”, and a “worst-case scenario”, with extra funding being made available to mitigate any problems.

Irresponsible Punishment

The Opposition Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said the document showed a no-deal Brexit would punish those who could least afford it and must be stopped, while Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said it was completely irresponsible for Government to have tried to ignore the warnings. The document was published because Parliament required this. Large parts of the document were still hidden.
Ā 

Black Swan Kingfisher

There are rumours that two other secret documents, Black Swan and Kingfisher, exist, with Kingfisher looking at supporting British businesses suffering under a no-deal Brexit, and Black Swan, preparing for disaster!

Unlawful – Scottish Appeal Court Ruling

11 September 2019

The Scottish Appeal Court has ruled that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnston’s decision to prorogue (suspend) Parliament for 5 weeks until 14 October 2019 was unlawful.

This is unlikely to have any effect, however, as the UK’s Supreme Court will be holding a hearing on this next week.

It appears, from a brief reading, that the decision of “not lawful” was based on the reason for proroguing Parliament. The reason provided by the government for suspending Parliament was that they needed time to prepare the Queen’s Speech. The Queen’s Speech is a programme of work that the Government intends to carry out in the incoming year. The apparent reason argued by the MPs complaining about suspensionĀ  was that government wished to avoid discussion and dissension in the weeks ahead of the Brexit date of 31 October 2019 and that suspension prevented Parliament from carrying out its legal duty to provide a check on government.

WATCH THIS SPACE!

General Election In The UK

www.brexitsurvivaljournal.comThe UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnston, has said that he will call a General Election in the UK, if Parliament does not support him in his attempts to bring about Brexit by 31 October 2019.

During a General Election, Parliament is suspended, although the government remains in power.

Calling an election is a calculated risk and the Prime Minister must feel that his government has a good chance of winning the election if one is called.

Points To Consider

An election takes about 6 weeks to prepare and hold and to count votes and bring together a government (if no party wins a majority). This could take place over the 31st October 2019, which would mean the UK leaving the EU by default with no deal, which the House of Commons has repeatedly said they do not want. The Prime Minister has said that he would hold the election early enough that a new government would be in place before 31st October.

www.brexitsurvivaljournal.comThe Prime Minister has said that any members of the ruling party (Tories / Conservatives) voting against him in the House of Commons vote will not be allowed to stand as MPs if an election is called.

Some politicians have called for the Brexit question to be completed first BEFORE any General Election is called.

A General Election has to be held every five years in the UK but an early election can be called if two thirds of MPs agree. Normally, the opposition parties would agree to holding an election, as they would want to have the chance of getting into power and by voting against an election, might be considered to be supporting the party in power.

If an election is held before the Brexit question is settled, then the vote is likely to be on Brexit issues, rather than on normal election issues, such as finance, trade, housing and social issues.

The leader of the Brexit Party has said that he will not field candidates in constituencies where Tories have a good chance of winning if the Conservative (Tory) Party has a no-deal Brexit option in their election manifesto.

The House of Commons has a majority against leaving the EU without a deal, however, this is split over a number of parties and the parties cannot agree on a single strategy to combat any no-deal Brexit.

Parliament To Be Prorogued

www.brexitsurvivaljournal.comParliament is to be prorogued (suspended) from sometime between 9 and 12 September 2019 until 14 October 2019. This was announced by the current government, after the Queen gave permission. (This is actually a technicality, as the Queen is a constitutional monarch. Parliament is the ruling body, the Queen acts on the advice of her Ministers, whether she likes it or not.)

There is likely to be Brexit chaos over the next few months. Prepare for this by stocking up on essentials. Use the Brexit Survival Journal to check what you need and make notes.

Kicked Out

UK May Not Have A Choice About Staying in Europe

www.brexitsurvivaljournal.comThe UK parliament is currently (24th August 2019) in recess (on its summer holiday). It next sits 3rd September 2019, when a great deal of political activity will start.

Political Machinations

The whole of the UK as well as its MPs is divided about what to do about Brexit. The Brexit deadline is 31st October 2019. The main options being floated are:

  1. Leave without a deal on 31st October 2019 (no-deal)
  2. Negotiate a new deal and leave on 31st October 2019
  3. Parliament to “take charge” and pass legislation preventing a no-deal Brexit
  4. Government of National Unity to be formed to agree a way forward
  5. General Election

Backstop

There are other options, some of which are variations on those listed above. One of the main issues about agreeing a deal for Brexit is what is called the “backstop”. This concerns Northern Ireland (politically part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland. This is the only land border that the UK has with the European Union. The EU offer includes a backstop option that will prevent a hard border (customs stops and checks) if the transition period for finally agreeing the deal is exceeded or no deal can be finally agreed.

Those who want Brexit do not want the backstop option to be included, as it will require the UK remaining in a customs union with the EU for some time, possibly indefinitely, some fear.

There are others who are concerned about a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as the Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland had agreed there would be free movement between North and South.

UK’s Choice Or Not

Up until now, it has been thought that it was solely the UK’s choice as to whether or not to leave the EU, however, the Brexit deadline, 31st October 2019, is fast approaching. For those who wish to either stay in the EU or negotiate a softer divorce, that date may need to be postponed to allow for another referendum or more negotiations.

Would The EU Agree

Shifting the 31st October date again would require EU agreement. Some in the EU are getting tired of the arguments and may not agree to any further extension. Indeed some may be very glad to get rid of the UK!

Hard Brexit 31st October 2019

With those opposed to leaving the EU, or to leaving without an agreement, time is now very short for any action and if the EU refuses to grant an extension, even if they can agree sufficiently to request one, it is currently looking more and more likely that the UK will leave the EU on 31st October 2019 without any agreement. If so, then the time to start preparing for shortages is NOW!

Power Cuts

Blackouts in England And Wales

www.brexitsurvivaljournal.comOn 9 August 2019, nearly a million people were affected by a major power cut across large areas of England and Wales, including the Midlands, the South East, South West and North East of England, and Wales. This affected businesses, homes and transport networks, with hundreds stranded at railway stations or on trains: and traffic lights stopping working. The electricity suppliers, the National Grid, said two separate power generators had failed but supplies had now been restored. (BBC News)

According to the National Grid’s director of operations, Duncan Burt, this was an “incredibly rare event” and the company would “learn lessons”, but the electricity regulator Ofgen, has demanded an “urgent detailed report” on the problem and could take action against the company, including a fine. The government also said it would investigate what went wrong. (More BBC News)

Incredibly Rare Events Can Happen

You may hear the term “rare, statistically speaking”, which means something is not very likely to happen but IT’S NOT IMPOSSIBLE for it to happen. It might be rare, but it is possible. And if it is possible, then sod’s law says it will happen at the very worst time possible. If it happens at the worst time, then the consequences, the results, will be the worst possible.

Problems With Power Cuts

The most obvious ones are:

  • The lights go out, no TV, no computer, no radio;
  • The stove cooking your dinner goes off;
  • The heat goes off -it’s cold in winter;
  • Traffic lights may go out, causing traffic chaos;
  • Electric trains like the underground stop running with trains stuck in tunnels or between stations;
  • Lifts stop operating, possible stuck between floors;
  • Petrol pumps stop working – no fuel;
  • ATMs stop working – no money;
  • Freezers defrost.

Planning Ahead

  • Batteries;
  • Battery radio, keep laptop charged up while electricity on
  • Rechargeable Torches kept on charge all the time. or candles and matches (be careful with these);
  • gas stove, camping stove, gas or charcoal barbecue or coal fire for cooking;
  • gas or coal fire for heating;
  • keep a stash of cash for emergencies
  • keep freezers closed, keep them topped up or use boxes and newspapers for insulation and lower heat gain.

Plan For Your Own Comfort And Safety

Make your own plans for your and your family’s comfort, safety and survival.

Toddler Tuesday

#ToddlerTuesday

www.brexitsurvivaljournal.comAny parent of small children knows they don’t do “boredom”. If they aren’t kept busy, they will find something to amuse themselves and that can often be what you do not want them to do. They are also very often “picky” with their food and need foods that they will eat.

Surviving Brexit With Babies, Toddlers And Small Children

Hopefully, Brexit will pass off without anyone noticing any difference and you can just play with and feed your children as usual.

If it doesn’t, then preparing ahead of time will save your sanity and make life easier for everyone.

Food

Stock up on any special items you normally feed your child with, including formula (baby milk), rusks, and any foods you know your child likes AND that can be stored with a good long “use by” date. These might include tinned baked beans or spaghetti for older children or tinned soup. Remember to include treats appropriate to your child’s age, such as chocolate buttons and Smarties. They are not only useful as rewards or bribes but if there are problems preparing food, they can stop a child from becoming too hungry. You can also store sliced bread in the freezer, provided it is well wrapped against freezer burn. Frozen sliced bread can be toasted direct from frozen for a quick snack of toast.

Leaving Home

Let’s hope no one has to leave home but if you do, a prepared “go” bag, including a wash bag, pyjamas, clean underwear and a change of clothes for each child is useful. Remember nappies and wet wipes for any child using them. Other useful items for each bag include a bottle of water and a snack, such as a chocolate bar (appropriate to age).

Amusements

Just in case there are power cuts or you have to leave home, then including a game or book or toys in the go bag for each child can save a lot of trouble. Colouring books and crayons or coloured pencils are useful, low tech, easy-carry and cheap items to include. Books are heavier but may be useful for older children. A favourite toy may be vital to remember. Low tech toys are useful if there are power cuts even if you remain at home. You can always remove a few current toys to pack away because by the time October 31st comes around, those toys will seem new again.

Cold Weather

At October 31st, the weather in the UK is usually turning colder, even if there are a few days of Indian Summer. Keep some warm clothes on hand in case there are power cuts or lack of warmth or you have to move.

Brexit Survival Journal

Get checklists that will help you survive Brexit and provide space for you to add your own items with the Brexit Survival Journal.