Monday, 31 December 2018
The Independent, ever watchful for a story which gives them some form of validation, have found another straw to clutch. This time it is “Brexit Kills Curry” as they try to pin the alleged demise of the UK curry industry on Brexit. The reasons given, apparently supplied by the Bangladesh Caterers Association, are that the price of ingredients has risen due to the fall in the value of the pound and that, post-Brexit, they will be unable to afford to import curry chefs.
Eric Pickles’ famous ‘curry college’ venture of 2011 appears to have stalled because too few sons of existing curry house owners want to follow father into the kitchen to earn third-world wages for unsocial hours. But Brexit? Do behave; the curry community is the architect of its own reported demise and maybe if there were fewer incidences of faecal ingredients, suspect meat, filthy premises or of takeaways being used as fronts for some of the other activities that are now closely associated with said community, the industry might survive.
But who cares? We used to cook curry in Britain long before there were what we insist on calling Indian restaurants (even though the majority are actually staffed by immigrants from Pakistan or Bangladesh, a good number of whom are illegally in the country anyway). And that was back when the only easily accessible ingredient was ‘curry powder’ whose formula was something of a mystery. Now, however, pretty much anybody with a grasp of basic cooking can rustle up a meal fit for a Raja.
Many anti-Brexiteers love stories like this, where they can claim that leaving the EU will effectively be time travel, turning the clock back to *insert-decade-that-most-represents-your-contempt-for-Britain*. But you can’t easily erase people’s memories, remove their more recently acquired skills, or alter their tastes; all the scare stories about cuisines being lost are bunk. Sure, we will probably struggle to produce proper French bread, but we’re not going to have to subsist on spaghetti hoops on toast.
Industries rise and fall all the time – how many coopers are still in business in your neck of the woods? And does anybody remember when you rented your television set? Floppy discs, analogue photo film, typewriters, encyclopaedias... the list goes on and on and while nostalgia may impart warm, fuzzy feelings for some things lost, once they’re gone, they’re usually gone for good. And have you seen what you can do with your telephone these days? Once you work out that you can make your own curry, to your own taste, whenever you wish and cheaper... without the added shit, contempt and corruption, there may be no going back.
Fried chicken shops, Pizza parlours, kebab emporia, the whole takeaway industry is among the symptoms of the sickness that has taken hols in this land. Fundamentally it is the belief that we can’t do things for ourselves. Our governments have lied to us that low-paid immigrant labour is essential for the economy and because education has become propaganda too few people are competent to do the maths and uncover the lie. We can’t live without coffee on the go, it seems, for which we need to fund an entire high street of Starbucks and Costas, all of them staffed almost exclusively by foreigners. What is wrong with us?
Curry - as British as the Raj
Stop using Brexit as an excuse. If you want expensive coffee and the full, flock wallpaper, slightly racist Punjabi experience then good luck to you. But stop pretending that every little thing that goes wrong is because of people you despise expressing their wish to be independent. And stop imagining that the British are incapable of finding solutions. Go on, prove yourselves wrong and cook yourself a curry.