Vegetable Brexit: What’s Leave and what’s Remain? by Chris Windle

Published: 6th Nov, 2019

Back in September Twitter was ablaze with people sharing which TV characters would have voted Remain and which would have voted Leave. It was great fun. Much better than work. Obviously no one bothered with The Good Life – no need, they’re all Leave. Tom’s even more Leave than Margo.  

Anyway, despite being fun it added nothing useful to the Brexit debate. Essentially it was a waste of time and we should all be ashamed of ourselves. Why? Because for serious insights into the range of political views sweeping the nation we should be looking elsewhere, more specifically down the vegetable aisle at our local supermarket.  Where edible plant life stands on our future relationship with Europe is the key barometer of our time.

So, finally, here’s a guide that’ll help you cook an entirely Leave or Remain dinner depending on your taste. Obviously it’ll be vegetarian so that rules out Leavers (this is the first of many sweeping generalisations).

This information feels even more important now an election’s on the way. These guys could swing it.

Aubergines – There are several of them in every Newsnight audience: big, purple and furious. They didn’t fight in two world wars/watch The World At War 39 times to have democracy snatched away from them by having another vote. Leave right to their bitter core, despite their foreign sounding name. Like Mark Francois but taller. Lovely roasted in wedges and dipped in natural yoghurt (also like Mark Francois).

Corn on the cob – Painfully Remain. Just refuses to leave. Yeah corn tastes sweet and harmless, but it’ll annoy you for hours, stuck in your teeth, condescendingly telling you why it’s better in than out, possibly with a megaphone. You’ve got to force it to move on with some hard flossing or a piece of tricky political manoeuvring.   

Potatoes – Brexit has really torn the potato community apart. King Edward totally fell for the £350 million-a-week for the NHS claim – he’s worried roasting in so much goose fat is going to put him in A&E at some point. But Maris Piper loves going to Paris and really doesn’t want to have to apply for a tourist visa to enjoy a proper dauphinoise.

Parsnips – Long, pasty bastards. A parsnip would be polite to your face before ordering your death behind your back. It’s basically Jacob Rees-Mogg in root vegetable form. An overrated mainstay of the great British roast dinner, it wants the Mediterranean diet to fuck off and can usually be found chatting to an aubergine at a golf club or Masonic meeting.

It would have ‘Leave means Leave’ tattooed down its leg if it didn’t think tattoos were a sign of poor upbringing. Funnily enough it was those European empire builders the ancient Romans who introduced parsnips to these shores.

Broccoli – You want to love broccoli. It’s so full of goodness. But fucking hell it’s a sense of humour death zone. It’s wearing sandals to a party and bringing every conversation back to its new beekeeping hobby. Naturally broccoli is Remain, because life’s better if we all just get along. Hard to disagree, but if you ever see one heading your way for a chat, play dead.

Mushrooms – Earthy, great base for a rich sauce, also good in a stir fry, or on toast, or baked. They’re multi-talented, probably speak several languages and hold an intimidating number of degrees. Which is pretty impressive for something vaguely related to athlete’s foot.  

They voted Remain. But are finding the whole process deeply depressing and would settle for a Norway style soft Brexit, partly because they had a wonderful holiday there to see the aurora borealis. They also have a small place in Provence and diverse assets, so will be ok either way.    

Legumes – Couldn’t be more Remain if they were called Jean Claude Legume and had Ode to Joy as their ringtone, right? Wrong! Legumes are disaster capitalists and Brexit is an opportunity. If the economy implodes all we’ll be able to afford to eat is bean stew.    

There are other vegetables but, frankly, who cares what a lettuce thinks?

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