Saturday 8 April 2023

Canaries and ferrets


With the possible exception of those Conservative politicians disposed to see membership of the RSPB as a terrorist act, most of us would be hard put to think of a less harmful pursuit than keeping and breeding exotic canaries. Although perhaps the canaries might see things differently. It seems however that this comparatively benign pastime is another victim of the new rules and regulations which are the inevitable result of leaving the EU single market and the customs union. Another of those hard-to-find Brexit bonuses, one might say.

The canary breeder quoted extensively in the article seems to think that canary-breeders as a group are working-class Brexit voters, although the research and polling to back up that assertion, if they exist, do not seem to be referenced in the report. But the tone of his words (“the people who are affected – working-class people, people who voted for Brexit, who voted to leave – are now finding that they can’t actually do anything because they can’t take their birds back and forth to mainland Europe”), along with the demand that canaries should be treated “in the same way as dogs, cats and ferrets*” suggests that the very fact that they were proponents of Brexit should be enough to exclude them from its effects. It's a strange form of logic to argue that people who voted for something should be excluded from the impact of their decision. It is, though, not untypical of the Brexit mindset, with its continued insistence that the UK is in some way entitled to continue to enjoy the benefits without following the rules. The idea that the consequences of Brexit would encourage a change of mind rather than an assumption that they are the result of EU intransigence is obviously one for the birds. In this case, literally so.

*Who knew that ferrets were specifically identified as an exception under the amended Northern Ireland protocol? The wondrous details of Brexit continue to astound.

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