Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Brexit
13 June 2012updated 02 Sep 2021 5:29pm

Rule (No Deal Brexit) Britannia! The UK’s flotilla plan for critical food and medicine

Ruling the waves. Kind of.

By Media Mole

Much of the more patriotic end of Brexit coverage has focused on the UK ruling the waves once again after leaving the European Union.

Politicians cynically evoking the emotive power of Britain’s fishing industry; campaigners staging boat-based protests dumping fish into the Thames at Westminster; The Sun’s HMS Global Britain (bound for Brussels, of course); the Telegraph’s campaign to recommission the Royal Yacht Britannia to “secure trade deals after Brexit”; and – just yesterday – an article in the Express reporting Tory MPs calling for a new royal yacht, headlined: “Britannia could rule the waves again after Brexit with plan to help strike trade deals.

And now it looks like Brexiteers’ dreams of returning to the waves could, after all, come true – but not quite in the way they imagined.

The Financial Times reports that the government is looking at using a flotilla to ferry food and medicine to Britain, as an alternative way to bringing “critical supplies” into the country in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
How automation can help telecoms companies unlock their growth potential
The pandemic has had a scarring effect on loneliness, but we can do better
Feel confident gifting tech to your children this Christmas

The article describes how this move was “greeted with disbelief at a stormy meeting of Theresa May’s cabinet” yesterday. Ministers were warned of a bottleneck at the key Dover-Calais route, thanks to customs controls on the EU side, forcing the UK to find new ways of bringing in perishable supplies.

Rule Britannia!