Last week, the Sunday Times splashed its front page on news that the Queen was to be extracted from London "if Brexit goes bad".
Brexit has already gone bad, which might be why you haven’t seen Liz down the Trocadero much lately. But it seems the powers that be are starting to price up quite how much worse it could get. What the Times doesn’t tell you is that the Royal evacuation plans are recycled. They’ve been dusted down from the 1960s, when the threat of nuclear attack led the MacMillan government to build a vast secret headquarters, deep underground in the Wiltshire countryside, capable of housing 4,000 top officials in their own ministries. They did not muck about with Armageddon in those days.
Still, it makes you think. Of investing in a crossbow and some foil blankets.
Which is why I phoned up Lincoln Miles, owner of Preppers Shop UK – the country’s biggest and best vendor of apocalypse prophylactics. Lincoln hasn’t had that many people in asking directly about Brexit, but has seen a 200 percent growth in his business over the past year. Clearly, something’s in the air.
Personally, he isn't that bothered about Brexit either. He sees more trouble in a general economic catastrophe – Italian bonds toppling US treasuries, crashing the Chinese balance of payments – than any UK-specific scenario. "But I suppose even the past few days we’ve had down here in Cornwall, with the heavy snow, made us think of food and what happens if it runs out," he said. "It can all happen very quickly…"
It can all happen very quickly. This paper-thin veneer of civilisation, of ASDA Rollback and The Ordinary non-greasy moisturising balms, could shuck itself off in a heartbeat, revealing bone and sinew, teeth, terror and nothingness beneath. So do try to make sure you’re not caught out when the big day dawns.
Here are some top notch items from Lincoln’s store, and ideas on where they might feature in the No Dealpocalypse.
Day Three of a No Deal Brexit, and panic-buying has meant major supermarkets running out of food, starting with bread and ending with the absence of Quorn mince. As the government appeals for calm, the smell of braised dog wafts through the 'burbs.
You will need: Three months' worth of canned and freeze-dried food. The box is guaranteed to last 20 years, but you'll have a hard time sending it back either way. At 180,000 calories, it affords 2,000 calories a day. More than enough to support a woman, and enough to help a man gradually shed unsightly pounds. Your friends will envy the life-giving nutrients – and your svelte new physique.
Lincoln says: "Freeze-dried food weighs next to nothing. The associations are traditionally with military food, and in those days they tasted how they looked: pretty vile. But these days, the market has expanded a lot, and they’re proper decent."
Day Ten of No Deal Brexit. As the validity of the tariff quota for Argentine beef remains unclear, ISIS sleeper cells sense an opportunity. Anthrax spores have been deployed on Milton Keynes town centre, killing all occupants of the abandoned Jury’s Inn, and many of those busy ransacking the nearby Missoula Montana Bar & Grill. Could your borough be next?
You will need: A Lakeland (not the kitchenwares people) Coverall Haz-Mat Chemical Suit. For the full effect, why not couple it with ex-Yugoslavian army gas masks? Remember: the Yugoslavians had an actual war in the 1990s, so at least you know it works.
Lincoln says: "It is ideal if you’re worried about terrorism. But actually, sales of gas masks have dropped in the past year. People tend to buy what’s in the news, and the Islamic terror thing has been less prominent."
Day 17, and Jean-Claude Juncker is still trying to smoke Blighty out of its hole over the Irish Backstop. Luckily, plucky Brits have discovered much of that famed "Blitz spirit" they kept droning on about on Question Time. Through every town and village, local action parties are sent to cull remaining cattle and live off the land as best they can; to get Wiccan or die trying. The sense of liberation is palpable. Across these isles, hundreds of unremarkable former middle managers are finally afforded their chance to kill a cow with a crossbow.
You Will Need: Anglo Arms Panther Tactical Crossbow Set with Red Dot Sight In Black. And a strong stomach.
Lincoln says: "Look, this is not really a thing you’d need for Brexit. It’s illegal to hunt with crossbows, because it’s not a clean kill like a rifle. So it’s an emergency backup tool, if law and order broke down completely."
Like in HARD BREXIT, you mean??
Day 33 of No Deal Brexit. The Queen’s hideout has been rumbled. As her security detail simply melts back into the crowds, the hated puppet Lizzy Windsor is being given the Full Gaddafi by a band of proles with a length of drain pipe, chanting "Coin Face! Coin Face!" The wifi is long gone, but there might just be enough 3G left in the antennae to stream her final moments on your Sony Xperia™.
You will need: A Sony On The Go Portable Charger. Compatible with most Sony devices, including Xperia™, Cyber-shot™, Handycam® and Walkman. Don’t accidentally miss out on a 93-year-old’s monstrous final moments – 35 million sold is your proof of ultimate reliability.
Lincoln says: "You can power as you go. To power that, I suppose you’d need a generator and lots of jerry cans of fuel. Or solar panels. We sell a lot of the Biolite [£59.99 5+, includes battery storage], and if you have enough of those you can last a long time."
Day 101. As the three-month mark comes and goes, post-Brexit fatigue starts to set in. French Destroyers now patrol the Channel to prevent the tide of refugees crossing into Calais. Yet none bother anymore. The east of England is ruled by a religious junta of the Bishop of Norwich and two Field Marshals. In the lands of Wessex, the crown belongs to a nine-year-old boy king. In the north, they sacrifice their remaining horses to a crudely-painted watercolour of Christine Bleakley. "What giants must once have roamed this place?" locals goggle, in the tumbledown ruins of the FirstDirect Arena.
You Will Need: A sachet containing 125ml of drinking water. "Without water you will die. Simple as that," trills the blurb, and we can only whole-heartedly agree. Don't die. Live a little. Pass on genes. Life must reproduce itself. Make more life. Drink down a cooling saucerful of liquid goodness.
Lincoln says: "If you just have bottled water, you can’t store it indefinitely because, in the end, the BPAs in the plastic leach into the water and contaminate it. This is sealed and protected from light, so it’s a longer-term solution."
The wait for the Holy Sky King may be endless. But the hydration will be optimal. Nice.