Beware the “chaotic breakfast,” a dangerous new geopolitical risk

Less messy than Brexit negotiations.
Less messy than Brexit negotiations.
Image: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett
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A subconscious tick is causing British politicians and TV anchors to replace the term for one of the UK’s most historic political upheavals with everyone’s favorite comfort food.

Referring to the UK’s ongoing, unclear, and messy Brexit negotiations, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said during a speech on Oct. 27 that the country is “hurtling towards a chaotic breakfast that will damage our economy.”

It’s an easy mistake to make. So easy, that McDonnell came out with “brexast”—a fusion of “brexit” and “breakfast”—twice during his speech:

Like me, you will have friends who have voted Conservative. They don’t want a bankers’ brexast—Brexit—any more than I do…

…The chaotic brexast the hard-liners favor would lead to job losses and businesses leaving the country.

McDonnell is not alone. During the Conservative Party’s annual conference earlier in October, Welsh Assembly Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies pledged that the party would “make breakfast… Brexit a success.”

Broadcasters, too, have noticed the perils of trying to report on Brexit while hungry. The BBC’s Aaron Heslehurst has struggled with “the impact” and “potential effects” of “breakfast” multiple times.

Brexit and breakfast have crossed paths in other ways. A brief spat between Tesco, Britain’s largest grocery chain, and consumer goods firm Unilever led to the store stocking a reduced amount of Marmite, a salty, yeast extract-based spread adored and hated by Brits in equal measure that’s also a breakfast staple.

The government also said it plans to boost British exports by selling, among other things, jam, tea, and biscuits to Japan. And according to the Department for International Trade, one country is crying out for a specific type of sweet, fruit spread.

What does “innovative” jam taste like? We assume freedom, with a hint of taking back control. As for “brexast,” our guess is it consists of marmite on toast, jam and biscuits, and a large helping of regret.