A small pot of a dark yeasty substance has somehow become the crucible of the Brexit debate. When the news broke that Marmite was no longer available on the Tesco website due to a dispute with its manufacturer Unilever over a proposed price hike consumers expressed outrage on Twitter. Unilever’s argument is that uncertainty over Brexit and the fall in Sterling, has necessitated a 10 per cent rise in prices, a move which Tesco is refusing to accept — leading to the disappearance from its shelves of this divisive spread.
How must David Cameron’s former spin doctor, Craig Oliver, feel this morning? All that time reeling in expert after expert to spread the doctrine of Project Fear and all he needed to do was tweet out an image of an empty jar of Marmite. He should have consulted a YouGov poll from 2011 which reveals the spread of Marmite sentiment across the country. It turns out that it is most popular in the Tories’s southern heartlands which voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU, with 44 per cent in the “love it” camp, compared to 28 per cent who “hate it”.
Unfortunately for Labour, the Marmite crisis is not a cause they can leap on in their battle to force a vote for MPs on the terms of the government’s EU negotiations. Their eurosceptic northern heartlands are almost as anti-Marmite as they are anti-EU, with 38 per cent hating Marmite, compared to the 23 per cent who love it.