Brexit, personal preparedness and why being sensible actually rules the day

This post was originally published 15 January 2019 (re-instated here after a major site upgrade)

Brexit, personal preparedness and why being sensible actually rules the day … and that’s despite considerable media efforts to the contrary. Hello and welcome to another preparedness blog after a long period of quiet. I’ve been repeatedly asked to comment on Brexit and personal preparedness, e.g. this recent exchange on twitter

Now, official guidance on personal preparedness has not exactly been forthcoming.

This is a shame and a hugely missed opportunity, one that’s all too easily filled by those willing to exploit the fear and confusion of people such as Lynda, 61 from near Wakefield, quoted by the BBC as saying

“I’m not worried about Brexit, I’m worried about the aftermath”

In yesterday’s article titled Hundreds stock up over food supply fears. A few hours later, to my dismay, this was surpassed by the Guardian upping the ante with I don’t trust the government to look after me and my dog.

Such headlines are but the tip of a highly visible iceberg of months and months worth of articles, blogs, twitter and facebook feeds about Brexit and stockpiling – one gigantic project fear! Once again, as I’ve discussed in the Shelter-in-Place post back in 2016 written as a contribution for the #30days30waysUK campaign, the media hypes the issue without bothering to really look deeper or wider.

Yes, there may be hundreds (according to the BBC) or just a few (as reported in the Guardian) amongst a UK population of nearly 67 million people who are ‘prepping’ and good on them to have a few extra food and medical supplies they absolutely cannot live without for a certain amount of time.

From a personal preparedness point of view, Brexit is hardly on par with a disaster such as major and widespread flooding, an earthquake or an industrial accident which may paralyse or wipe out crucial infrastructure and systems.

I’m thoroughly disappointed once again in how approaches to better personal preparedness are being (mis-) represented, adding to the confusion rather than ameliorating it .

At least the BBC made one attempt at balance by speaking to Prof Tim Benton, an expert in food systems from the University of Leeds, who said he did

not foresee the UK running out of food but believed there could be “situations where we cannot reliably get what we expect to see on the shelves on a daily basis“.

I’ve added emphasis there because in my view this is exactly where the crux of the matter lies: it’s all about expectations.

What exactly is it that we are expecting here with Brexit? What are your assumptions? Just what are you personally preparing for and how?

Yes, there will be some delays and potentially shortages in certain areas for some time but the UK is certainly nowhere near facing a doomsday scenario. Yet, media interest is intense, so much so that for months, EVAQ8 have received continuous enquires from as far as Japan and Denmark, for example this TV2 clip (from 0:45 – yes they had a somewhat increased interest in long-shelf life nutrition products in the greater scheme of things) aired in November.

That’s why EVAQ8 keeps reiterating, e.g:

So, you may have seen this breaking news story that the UK Government is to tell citizens to start preparing for no-deal…

Posted by EVAQ8 on Tuesday, 18 December 2018


If you feel you must stockpile – whatever exactly that looks like and means to you personally and please (!!) assess your situation rather than jumping on a hyped bandwagon – then take a good look at blog Modern Emergency Food Storage especially if you are short of storage space and explore some of the links from there.

Personally, for many years and irrespective of where I live, a well stocked pantry is simply part of every-day life and not because I was brought up in Switzerland with a ‘bunker’ in the basement and lived in Egypt for many years almost entirely off grid.

If push came to shove, my family here in the UK (including a fussy cat) could probably live off what’s in the cupboard and freezer for about six weeks and that is just normal, irrespective of Brexit. Add to that some self-heating food and a tin or two of long-shelf life nutrition as well as a few other choice ‘prepper’ items if that’s what you want to call a comprehensive first aid kit with additional meds, some water purification products, sleeping bags (we camp) and head torches on top of our GoBags. Interesting then will be the dinner conversations, especially when everyone starts missing their favourite foods and treats; in the UK, we are all so very spoilt for choice often without fully realising it.

What do I expect? Personally, I expect change, to explore some products new to me rather than relying on what I regularly buy in the shops. What I do NOT expect is finding empty shelves for extended periods of time, nor massive power outages, nor drinking water issues, nor civil unrest… especially if everyone, including the media, can stop obsessing and the government steps up with much better public Emergency Risk Communication.


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