In hindsight, it seems obvious that we'd end up here. Brexit is too divisive: almost half the country didn't want it, so why should we expect the House of Commons to be any less split?
As a result, the UK finds itself in the unenviable position of staring down the barrel of the hardest possible Brexit – a No Deal scenario, which could spell shortages of all sorts of vital things and, worst of all, Jacob Rees-Mogg and his Slenderman x Demon Headmaster vibe dominating the BBC for the next year. As it stands right now, we won't No Deal on the 12th of April, as previously feared, but it's possible that we still might! And it might be worse! Awooo!
There is a section of the country that is still bang up for No Deal – mostly people in their forties and fifties with Union Jack Twitter avatars and exactly 14 tweets, all of which are calling female Guardian journalists "traitors". These people think we ought to embrace the Blitz spirit, keep calm and bloody well carry on. "Get in line for your Brexit rations," they say, "but make sure you start an orderly queue, because we're Brits and that’s what we do!"
No Deal means pleasing these people and ignoring the millions who are worried about the fact that EU migrants are vital to our economy and culture, and concerned about the serious warnings over access to medicines following a No Deal withdrawal. As such, it'd cause major upheaval and none of the wartime spirit that this lot are romanticising, not least because as the war was Actually Very Bad, it never existed in the first place. As such, it's likely this bizarre environment will affect how we act.
And so: No Deal Behaviour, a guide.
YOU WILL START PANIC BUYING A LOAD OF PASTA
Until now, Brexit stockpilers have been entirely mocked in the press, but just watch how your behaviour changes once the EU have Peggy Mitchell'd us out of their pub. Down the supermarket on a Sunday, eyeing up the pasta, trying to work out how many bags you can reasonably fit in your cupboard, "just in case".
Fast forward two weeks and one viral BBC News story about potential shortages of, like, beans, and you've filled your living room with entire boxes of non-perishables. You know, just in case.
PANIC BUYING SUB-CATEGORY: LETTUCE
Don't be fooled by the childlike nature of this graphic on the BBC website, for it in fact contains some very dark news: the UK imports 90 percent – NINETY PERCENT – of its lettuce outside of growing season. Also, 80 percent of tomatoes and 70 percent of soft fruit. Controversially, I think the way we view food is depraved, and it's actually fucked up to have access to literally anything at any time, but, accustomed as we are, this will lead to various behaviours.
Firstly, there will be a woeful influx of jokes about all the vegans dying by people who don’t know about Quorn nuggets. Secondly, a special sub-category of stockpilers will establish themselves in the form of clean eaters, who will put a third freezer in the garage specifically for storing Iceberg lettuces and berries and things. Thirdly, the British sandwich game is about to get even worse than it already is :(
YOU WILL SEE A NUMBER OF MPS TRYING TO HAVE THEIR 'CHURCHILL MOMENT' DURING A PARTICULARLY ROWDY PMQS
Lawnmowering the country into a crisis is what gets many politicians all honked up, because it means they have an opportunity to make what they would call "An Historic Speech" and go down as a premier statesperson for all time. This means that about 15 people, including Dominic Raab and Heidi Allen, will stand up during PMQs, clutching a sheet of paper on which a staffer has written something about "unity", which features a riff of some sort on a famous quote by Churchill ("We will fight them on the borders," &c. &c.). Bercow will cut every single one of them short.
WIDESPREAD NOSTALGIA FOR THE 2007/2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS
Prolonged mass unemployment followed by the rise of zero-hour contracts and other nefarious working conditions for "the 99 percent" will seem like a piece of piss compared to plunging a country that’s already spent nine years on its arse under Tory austerity into even worse conditions, but at least the memes will be good.
THE POUND WILL SIMPLY STOP WORKING
The pound already has one foot in the grave and, if economic forecasts are anything to go by, will hurl itself in completely like Leland Palmer at a funeral the moment we crash out of the EU with the support of absolutely no policies. Once our economy collapses to the point where a fry-up costs £78, the pound will eventually become an obsolete currency and we’ll all be paying for things with fags and pages ripped from old copies of Viz.
THERE WILL BE A BEER SHORTAGE, LIKE THE ONE THAT WAS THREATENED DURING THE WORLD CUP, BUT ACTUAL, AND BAD
During the last World Cup, there were genuine fears that there'd be a beer shortage, so quickly were we consuming our national beverage (before you say shit about tea: it isn't ours). And if that was a potential problem during a period in which we were all actually pretty happy, imagine what would happen during a national catastrophe.
War shaggers love to envisage the people of the UK as stiff upper lip types, and while we are a repressed people, we are also a people who love drowning sorrows in five pints and a kebab.
At some point, Thompson brochures and all-inclusive resorts became the default Great British family holiday traditions, while previous traditions – like Butlins and caravan parks, which are basically the same thing but with more pool tables and shitter weather – gradually fell out of favour. With a post-No Deal loss of freedom of movement, there will no doubt be a large amount of people who'll refuse to pay for a European travel Visa on principle alone, opting instead to pack their partner and three kids into a Ford Focus for a lovely ten-day stint in Torquay to play badminton in a fleece. By 2025, the Southampton coast will be lined with faux-Spanish apartments that look like the Tiki Room in Oceana, and a career in the Redcoats will be right up there with vlogging.
YOU WILL VOTE, INEVITABLY, IN ANOTHER GENERAL ELECTION
No Deal Brexit will have one silver lining: it'll almost definitely mean that Theresa May is toppled from her rule over the Tory party, which she currently runs in the manner of Supernanny if she was absolutely shit at her job. Obviously this also means that the UK will quickly be subject to the ten biblical plagues, otherwise known as a Tory leadership contest featuring Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, but it follows that there’d be a general election in order to secure a mandate for the new leader.
An election after No Deal Brexit would be huge, in the sense that it would be absolutely lawless. I’m imagining a scenario where instead of televised debates with Paxman, we’d get candidates doing live cage fighting, hosted by Ant and Dec, and featuring a public vote instead of polls. Which, to be honest, compared to the current way of doing things, might actually be better.
HAVING YOUR CHRONIC ILLNESS DEMONSTRABLY WORSENED BECAUSE THE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT HAS ALLOWED PARTY POLITICS AND ITS UPCOMING LEADERSHIP ELECTION TO OVERRIDE THE FACT THAT NO DEAL WILL PROBABLY LEAD TO MEDICINE SHORTAGES FOR SOME OF THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN SOCIETY