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Opinion

Paul McNamee: Fizzy logic puts Brexit back in the spotlight

“A small thing like the production of carbon dioxide has a massive knock-on effect on society. And come Brexit, there is going to be a myriad of what at present look like small things, but will have massive implications for how we live”

It’s sunny. Your mind is elsewhere. You’re thinking about the sun. You’re thinking about water and kicking back and enjoying it all. You might be looking for a little shade. You might be complaining it’s toooooo hot. In case you’ve missed things, in case you’ve been taking a break, this is where we are.

There’s a beer shortage. It’s because manufacturers of CO2, who supply the bubbles in lager and fizzy pop, have scaled back production. There could also be a meat shortage soon, also due to CO2. And Danny fackin’ Dyer is being hailed as the truest commentator on Brexit we have after calling David Cameron a twat. Which, when written down, doesn’t sound like much. It’s all down to the timing of delivery.

Harold Pinter loved Danny Dyer. Clearly, he recognised an innate ability to employ a pregnant pause (This is a reference Ben Elton won’t like. He’s delivering a Letter to My Younger Self this week).

If you popped off for an early summer break, and you’re greeted by all this, welcome back.

The thing around the CO2 is the most telling. I’d tried to find a joke about cows farting and gas, because there are few things funnier than cow farting gags (apart, maybe, from nuns driving a small car or Belgian footballers kicking the ball at a goalpost and having it rebound on their faces). But it all became too strained and I left it.

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CO2, I’ve learned, is produced largely as a by-product of fertiliser manufacture (yes, the cows were lurking around here). But because manufacture has been scaled back across Europe, there is a huge knock-on effect in multiple industries.

The gas is used to stun animals in abattoirs. Therefore, last week, Scotland’s biggest abattoir was shut and the animals moved south for slaughter. But those abattoirs in the south are running low, so soon there could be a backlog, which will result in empty supermarket shelves or higher prices.

CO2 is also used to help preserve some food stocks. So, without that, there could be more problems. And I’ve not even started on the booze.

One small pan-European thing that nobody had really thought about before, and BOOM – crisis.

As Danny Dyer has pointed out, we’re still no clearer on what exactly Brexit is and what it will mean across society. And while it may currently be hot outside and senior politicians, like the rest of us, might just want to open the windows, listen to a bit of Kamasi Washington and watch the football, they REALLY need to get on with this. To focus and show some smart thinking.

A small thing like the production of carbon dioxide has a massive knock-on effect on society. And come Brexit, there is going to be a myriad of what at present look like small things, but that will have massive implications for how we live.

There’s one other thing about this heat. Our vendors are out in it. They are on the street trying to make a living. Look out for them. Water and sunscreen is appreciated.

Image: DJ Speiss/Flickr

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