First they came for the Digestives, and I said nothing...
I try not to be political on this outlet for my inner angst but news received this week quite literally takes the biscuit. It was announced this week that, as a consequence of the collective national psychosis that is Brexit and the resultant economic shock the country has experienced, from now on there will be seven fewer Digestive biscuits in a pack.
Seven daggers to the heart, more like.
The Digestive is an icon of Britain. Together with its slightly more austere cousin, the straightforward yet magisterial Rich Tea, the Digestive represents our country and our culture in a way that no mere flag, anthem, mildly aggravated tut or curry (still the national dish of choice) could. It could very easily be asserted that the Digestive IS Britain.
If you strip away all the vestiges of a state such as the government, the army, the Royal Family or any number of ‘top down’ impositions, what makes a country is what people do, what they eat, where they buy their loo roll, the real nitty gritty of life which no amount of political grandstanding can compare to. When pictures of the Queen’s breakfast table were published showing ordinary plastic boxes of cereal, some commentators scoffed but doesn’t such a detail connect the Queen to the wider population in a far more meaningful way than unveiling any number of plaques can?
Similarly, our biscuits make us who we are. Whenever we go on holiday to France one of the first things we do is visit a supermarket to stock up and one of the key aisles we pillage is the one with the biscuits. There we buy the unique well cooked treats our Gallic cousins enjoy and we love them. But it’s only a few days of eating what are usually overwhelmingly buttery tablets of wheat before a vague hankering begins. They’re nice…but are they the proper thing for a cuppa. Wouldn’t a Rich Tea be better? The answer, of course, is yes.
I take my teabags to less civilised parts of the world but not biscuits. (You will understand that this is in way perjorative if you have ever tasted tea on the continent. It is frankly an insult to any idea of taste.)
Biscuits define us and the Digestive is one of the icons of Britain. This biscuit is so amazing it is banned by the Americans - I kid you not. The fact that a biscuit called a 'Digestive' is not actually digestive upsets them. They struggle with this concept, so they eschew one of the finest baked treats the world has ever seen. That is their loss and surely a reason to love Britain’s biscuit even more - one of about a million.
And not just a tasty treat beloved - beloved! - of a nation, the mighty Digestive represents adventure and jeopardy. Dip one of those bad boys into your tea and the clock is ticking. Will it hold its structural integrity or won't it? Will you have a delicious teatime treat or a cup full of mush? It’s the baked equivalent of TNT.
You don't need to travel halfway round the world and eat koala's privates on a game show for excitement. Dunk a Digestive in your beverage and you are instantly taking an incalculable risk, having fun AND loving your country.
Your UKIPper would of course blame this terrible decimation of the Digestive on ‘Brussels’ but they would be wrong. Brussels hasn’t cut my teatime snackage, Brexit has. A true patriot would never have done this.
Politics is a dangerous game but it is a game the intricacies of which passes most people by as most people have lives to lead. However, when an essential such as Digestives is threatened, you’re talking revolution.
So, watch your Pot Noodle. Keep a firm grip on your HobNobs. Carefully conceal your PG Tips. Brexit threatens their very existence – indeed, the very existence of our way of life.
Our dunking days may be numbered...