COLUMN: October 11, 2018

A cake

I DO hate to bang on about Brexit, but it’s nearly here and we’re still no closer to knowing what it’s going to be like.

Obviously, we can make an educated guess based on facts, but half the population (or less than half these days, given that 1.3m of the Brexit electorate has died, to be replaced by even more young people) has decided that facts aren’t as important as feelings.

For example, it doesn’t matter that the UK was always sovereign, and always had the power to walk away from the EU, because it didn’t FEEL like it was sovereign.

But the fact is, nobody actually knows, not for sure, not even the government. If you interviewed the government for a job and asked them where they thought they’d be in five years’ time, they couldn’t answer you with any sort of conviction. In a fair world, some of them would actually have a conviction.

The only thing we do know is that the people who have been pressing hardest for Brexit are obsessed with cakes. The former Foreign Secretary was convinced in public that we could “have our cake and eat it”. John Redwood, the perfectly normal former Welsh Secretary, talked about making our own cakes instead of helping other countries with their cakes. And UKIP is full of fruitcakes.

So I have decided to explain the Brexit process through the medium of cakes.

LEAVER: I want an omelette.

REMAINER: Right. It’s just we haven’t got any eggs.

LEAVER: Yes, we have. There they are. [HE POINTS AT A CAKE]

REMAINER: They’re in the cake.

LEAVER: Yes, get them out of the cake, please.

REMAINER: But we voted in 1975 to put them into a cake.

LEAVER: Yes, but that cake has got icing on it. Nobody said there was going to be icing on it.

REMAINER: Icing is good.

LEAVER: And there are raisins in it. I don’t like raisins. Nobody mentioned raisins. I demand another vote.




LEAVER: Right, where’s my omelette?

REMAINER: I told you, the eggs are in the cake.

LEAVER: Well, get them out.

EU: It’s our cake.

JEREMY CORBYN: Yes, get them out now.

REMAINER: I have absolutely no idea how to get them out. Don’t you know how to get them out?

LEAVER: Yes! You just get them out and then you make an omelette.

REMAINER: But how?! Didn’t you give this any thought?

LEAVER: Saboteur! You’re talking eggs down. We could make omelettes before the eggs went into the cake, so there’s no reason why we can’t make them now.

THERESA MAY: It’s OK, I can do it.


THERESA MAY: There was a vote to remove the eggs from the cake, and so the eggs will be removed from the cake.

REMAINER: Yeah, but…

LEAVER: Hang on, if we take the eggs out of the cake, does that mean we don’t have any cake? I didn’t say I didn’t want the cake, just the bits I don’t like.

EU: It’s our cake.

REMAINER: But you can’t take the eggs out of the cake and then still have a cake.

LEAVER: You can. I saw the latest Bake Off and you can definitely make cakes without eggs in them. It’s just that they’re horrible.

REMAINER: Fine. Take the eggs out. See what happens.

LEAVER: It’s not my responsibility to take the eggs out. Get on with it.

REMAINER: Why should I have to come up with some long-winded incredibly difficult chemical process to extract eggs that have bonded at the molecular level to the cake, while somehow still having the cake?

LEAVER: You lost, get over it.

THERESA MAY: By the way, I’ve started the clock on this.

REMAINER: So I assume you have a plan?

THERESA MAY: Actually, back in a bit. Just having another election.

REMAINER: Jeremy, are you going to sort this out?

JEREMY CORBYN: Yes. No. Maybe.

EU: It’s our cake.

LEAVER: Where’s my omelette? I voted for an omelette.

REMAINER: This is ridiculous. This is never going to work. We should have another vote, or at least stop what we’re doing until we know how to get the eggs out of the cake while keeping the bits of the cake that we all like.


REMAINER: Fine, I’m moving to France. The cakes are nicer there.

LEAVER: You can’t. We’ve taken your freedom of movement.


85 thoughts on “COLUMN: October 11, 2018

  1. Gary Can I have a Scotch Egg please? They HAVE their ‘cake and eat it’ as they voted Leave, have their OWN Parliament AND have seats in the House of Commons😁 Paul McDermott

    1. Scotch Eggs originated in Whitby. Or maybe London, and try telling someone from Scotland that they’re Scotch and they’ll knock your block off.

  2. Very funny and I agree with the sentiments. But for accuracy’s sake, it was 1975 when we voted to stay in the EEC.

    1. No it wasn’t, it was 1975 that we decided to “join” the European Economic Market, not stay in it. Those of my generation advocated strongly joining the EEC as it made sense to have a “common market”. What we didn’t sign up to, is it becoming a bureaucratic federalist state reigned over by the Germans and their new best friend France. So I voted out but remain very pro European, but not the model that Merkel and Junkers want us to sign up to.

      1. Here, here.
        We voted to join the European Economic Community, we have Never voted to be governed by this new conglomerate, that never signs off it’s accounts.

      2. it’s not becoming a bureaucratic federalist state. The size of its bureaucracy is about the same as Birmingham city council. Britain staying in would be an excellent balance (as it has been) to germany/france. Leavers seem unable to foresee we’ll still have the EU and single market on our doorstep. it will still massively affect us. but now we have no say. Bravo

        Gammon in and eggs out. A recipe for disaster.

      3. Complete rubbish, go and read the Treaty of Rome, it clearly states “an ever closer union”. The concept was to closely bind the nation states of Europe together to prevent yet another devastating war – where millions were brutally killed and injured.

      4. @Phillip Alexander

        Actually, you’re wrong. The accounts *are* signed off. See here:

        The accounts have received a clean bill of health for nearly ten years now. And for the second year in a row, the ‘regularity’ of the expenditure has been given a qualified opinion (rather than an adverse one, as was previously he case). What does that mean in plain English? That 97.6% of all the spending was carried out in accordance with the rules (for the auditors, anything better than 98% will result in a clean opinion). So there’s progress.

        The funny things is though, you can’t compare this to any of the Member States. Pray, why not? I hear you ask. Because not a single Member State is held to the same exacting standard for the management of its own public finances (the UK comes close, and even there the NAO issued a qualified opinion, I different from the EU. See here: And I can tell you, if they were, the results would be enough to make even the Vatican bankers blush…

        So please stop flogging the dead ‘the EU hasn’t signed off its [not it’s] accounts’ horse because it just won’t fly (and neither will pigs).


      5. Yeah, I mean the vague mentions “of overbearing democracy”… perhaps try and personalise it. If you were in the pub, and someone came over and said “don’t talk to them, they are overbearing and dangerous”, and you said “umm. what do you actual mean by that”, and that person stormed off huffing about how bad you were, what would you expect your new friend to do? Believe them?

        in essence the EU is a very permissive space. the Finnish are part of the EU, and have their country *exactly* the way they want it. Do they *break* EU regulations to do that? YES, UNEQUIVACABLY YES!!!!! and the Union is quite happy with that, because they give clear explanations as to why.

        The French subsidise their public transport… and they can, because *even though it is against EU regulations!!!!!* they say the want to, and give a good reason, and everyone is like “OK THEN”!!!

        it is the UK GOVERNMENT who are using the EU as an excuse to neo-liberalise the UK.

        Im not saying the EU is “not at all neoliberal”, but I am saying, strongly, that it is less neoliberal than the UK government currently is. I would probably include labour in that as well

  3. Gary, a brilliant literary piece.Congratulations on capturing the moment. Unfortunately, our android cabinet are too dull and transfixed to get the message. If it’s any consolation I have spoken to many people who voted Brexit and have since changed their minds. We can only hope for a second referendum which I bet my shirt would come out 52% Remain and 48% Leave. We knew 2 years ago that the NI situation would de-rail any exit process (thankfully) so the time has come to review the situation as Fagin said in Oliver:” I think we’d better think it out again”. Mike Stamford

    1. One question, Are we or ar we not a Democratic Nation ? Oh and the Irish border never really was a hard border “ except during the troubles” and before we became full EU members the southern Irish who lived nearest to the border found it more economical to shop etc in the north due to lower prices.please get rid of the 🎩 of many excuses of why we shouldn’t leave the EU. Get over yourself and let’s get Britain returned to a independent nation.🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🇬🇧.

      1. What you’ve done there, Mac, is say what you want rather than how it can happen. If you like, what you’ve done is said you want the eggs out of the cake without saying how we’re supposed to remove them. Come back to me when you have a feasible plan that works in actual reality.

      2. “Let’s get Britain returned to being 4 independent nations.”

        There, fixed that for you.

      3. And you lived in Northern Ireland and experienced the military boarder on a daily basis? One of the main reasons the Good Friday Agreement worked was because both the UK and ROI were in the common EU community. It allowed the boarders to be removed to placate the Republics pathing away to peace. How do the UK have control of their own boarders if there is no boarder in place? You know this is the inevitable outcome especially in the instance of a no deal Brexit the boarder will return and tensions in Northern Ireland will rise. But it appears that all Leave voters don’t appear to give a flying f**k about what happens in Northern Ireland. We aren’t even an after thought we are no thought at all. May will oversee the crumbling of the last remains of the once Great British Empire. It’s ironic that these are the glory days you pine for but in truth you’ll just watch it all end.

  4. Does a ‘hard BREXIT’ mean hard-boiled eggs instead of an omelette?
    An will we need eggy soldiers with that? (NI border, obvs)

  5. This is one of the funniest things I’ve read! Well done. Would you consider making it into a youtube sketch, similar to “The Experts” ?

  6. This infers that the icing on the cake are the layers of bureaucracy added since 1975 when we voted to join a common market. A common market is a jolly good idea, but why does it now have to include a federal Europe. Those two things are quite distinct and different. The former is about trade, the latter, politics.

    1. It’s not federal Europe that bothers me, but corporate Europe, corporate Westminster, corporate Washington. How do we get back ‘sovereignty’ from those who stole the best cake for themselves and feed us chlorinated chicken instead?

      1. Nobody is feeding us chlorinated chicken. But you can bet they will once we are out of the EU and sucking up to Trump for a trade deal that will make the EU look like the garden of Eden.

    2. the cake was always political. we didn’t just join the common market we became members of the EEC (and all those supernational political instructions that organised and facilitated the common market).

  7. Start again with freshly sourced eggs and we can make whatever we want with them and not need to include raisins and icing. We can have omelette and we can, if we wish include mushrooms and peppers without needing permission or approval of the cake maker.

      1. Ok, I take your point but if we end up paying a premium with WTO we would not then be lining the coffers in Brussels. I don’t believe it will come to that, we have to negotiate with the stance that we will walk away with no deal knowing that the EU don’t want that just as much as we don’t. They need to be realistic. I accept it isn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile is. I do believe we will, in the long term prosper with the best of both worlds. I also believe that we won’t be only nation to leave the EU. I think others are watching us with interest.

  8. “For example, it doesn’t matter that the UK was always sovereign, and always had the power to walk away from the EU…”

    How? Our eggs are baked in a cake.

  9. Remainer, yes you can have your eggs left in the cake as long as you agree to give us loads more money than the others and you don’t question the corruption and croninnusm and ex FIFA style leadership..
    And don’t forget we’ll really rub you nose in it if you vote to remain.

    1. As I understand it, the money we put into the EU for ‘making’ the 11-15% of our laws for which they are responsible is far less than the cost of doing it ourselves. Note that apparently after sourcing a minority of the extra civil servants to do it, we ran out of home grown talent, and are having to recruit from … Eastern Europe! 😂.
      And that doesn’t really matter half so much as the years it will take to renegotiate the 40+ trade deals we currently enjoy via EU membership (and who will offer little Britain such advantageous terms as they do the whole EU?). During which years we have to struggle on with WTO rules which only cover actual goods, not such things as banking, services etcetera, which is where most of our trade income is made.
      The EU will obviously shape much of our future, but on the outside we will have little or no power to change things. The EU may be a bit of a ‘parson’s egg’, but surely it will take a long time to forget the egg on our faces.

      1. It’s called Donald Trump. Or is he a duck? I’m sure he has some eggs although he’ll probably get one of his mates to bodyslam you rather than part with them.

  10. 1.3m people have died since the referendum!!
    Coincidentally that was the margin in favour. If only 700,000 had voted differently! Apart from cronyism and chest thumping nationalist arguments, along with a fond remembrance of a lost empire, I still don’t understand what the actual reason for leaving was. Does cronyism not exist in the present government of uk? Does every member of the commons and Lords really work hard for the betterment of society? Do the politicians not have just as extensive a wine cellar in Westminster as they have in Brussels?
    Do faceless uk civil servants not make decisions and policy in nhs, revenue and lots of other government agencies that affect people’s lives just as much as eu policies do. Of course they do!!!
    The cake will never be the same without the uk eggs in it. But the rest of us will still have a cake. The uk will have a pancake. And Both sides will be left thinking and regretting what the full cake might have been like had The Uk really got behind the eu and not always been a reluctant member, whinging about how things were always better when Britannia rules the waves.
    Europe could have been a real force for better in the world with the uk properly committed. We could have made a difference to eg climate change, economic development for a whole new world.
    Ah well, let’s not get back to the ‘good old days’ when the way of solving an international problem was to go to war and murder an entirely generation. That was the reason the eu was founded in the first place.

    1. Thank you for that. It’s what I often hear myself say, because many people forget that civil services exist at home too. I’d rather have gray men (and increasingly women) decide things ‘en comité’ than lots of tub-thumping destructive machismo. It was my biggest frustration during the referendum campaign that the benefits of peace, common values and cultural bridge-building were so routinely ignored, and that Remain’s gameplan was to focus solely on the money – rather than aspiring to something loftier. Sigh.

    2. This is the best comment/explanation I’ve read for a long time. Clearly and simply put , all of your points so true and down to earth considering Brexit is so complicated and the public have been hoodwinked. It’s always so surprising why some of the general public truly believe that our politicians know what they are doing and are above reproach!!!

  11. Forget the cake, forget the omelette. I’m looking forward to the delicious chlorinated chicken that nice Mr. Trump is preparing for us.

  12. Basically, 70 odd years ago there was a lot of nastiness and once it was over France, Germany, Italy & the BeNeLux countries decided that a joint cake would make them all much nicer to each other. Other countries agreed that the recipe looked good and also joined in. The problem a lot of Brexiters have is that they claim what we signed up for was just a simple savoury snack when all along the recipe was very much cake-based. The recipe (Treaty of Rome) laid out what the point of the exercise was – it’s not the EU’s fault that it was only ever sold to the British public as a snack. Indeed, a couple of the extras that were added in recent years were pushed hard by the British (Tory) government (an internal market layer and an Eastern European expansion layer). And much of the flavourings were designed to appeal to British tastes. But every now and again the British government would come up with something nasty that they wanted the British public to swallow and so would wrap the nasty thing in a bit of EU cake and blame Brussels.
    And then the grumblings for a plain omelette began from people who fantasised about the food they used to have when rationing was still in force…

  13. Great article which captures my mood over Brexit. Moving very quickly towards supporting another referendum.
    However I do find it amusing how people are arguing various cases but no one challenges whether the analogy of eggs in a cake is a fair one! It probably isn’t!!!

  14. I am a New Zealander and this piece is brilliant and would be funny if it wasn’t so serious. 45 years ago UK turned its back on countries like ours and went into Europe. It hurt us at the time and caused us to suffer over a decade of economic stagnation as we adjusted to a new order.UK had been by far our biggest trading partner. Today UK is our 12th largest trading partner and NZ has enjoyed over 20 years of economic prosperity and stable political leadership but we had to endure some pain to get to that state.Actually the UK did us a favour 45 years ago forcing us to stand on our own feet.
    It seems to me that the core of British concern over the EU is about sovereignty, the ability to make your own rules. Is it not possible to address these concerns from within the EU? If not you may have to follow the path NZ had to take 45 years ago. I am sure the UK will come right again but I do see some rough times ahead.

  15. In the absence of a second referendum (pretty please) and a vote to remain (oh yes) plus some needed reforms of EU structures and mechanisms, has anybody considered calling in Heston Blumenthal?

  16. Before trying to put the issues to right, we need to see what PM comes up with at EU meeting and how UK parties (especially her own) deal with it.

  17. Buy a chicken? Not a boy one obviously.
    It’s kind of too late and now we have to make the best of a bad situation. Sod the cake and the omelette, let’s have a gin.

  18. Very good, but to continue the allegory…….

    Many considered the cake to be a good idea at the time it was initially cooked. Unfortunately the cake has gone off as some of the ingredients have developed overpowering flavours.

    There is no question that although it will initially cost you something to get some chickens of your own, you will then have eggs for your omelette and your own chickens to eat.

    If you can produce them more economically than the other ingredients in the cake then you will also be able to sell your excess eggs and chickens to the Raisins and the Icing and the Flour and the Sugar and the Flavourings etc when they too work out that they too would be better off out of what has become a very bad tasting Belgian Bureaucratic Melange cake. This will be a cake that will taste even worse when the Eggs are actually out of it.

    1. That a better Brexit cake metaphor would be wanting the flour back because you’ve decided you want good old fashioned British baps instead.

  19. Usually, icing is good. But, actually, the icing, in this case, is not good. It is bad. Very bad. So bad, in fact, it has ruined the entire cake, which is why we are where we are. Had they left it alone as it started out, we would not have voted leave. We would probably never have heard of Nigel Farage, and never had a referendum.
    As it is, we do not need to extract the eggs from the cake. We need to throw the entire stale, mouldy old cake in the bin. Then we need to go and make a bunch of pastries with a load of other chefs. When the EU chefs see this happening, and how good it is, we let them come back to us with a new recipe and make a whole new cake. Sure it will be painful to walk away from the cake at first, but we’ll have a better one in the end. And a whole bunch of pastries to go with it.

  20. Nonsensical, Gary. Your lickspittles are too cowardly to tell you that this is a spectacularly bad piece of writing.

    Cry harder. Or accept that you lost. Either one.

  21. Aren’t we all remarkably clever at pointing out no one knows what to do with Brexit with witty analogies. If only we could use that intellect to better use. Instead we still collectively wait for it to happen but at least then remainers can say … told you so. But I guess if you didnt vote for it you dont need to do anything right as long as you can point the finger elsewhere … not that it will put you in any better position, you just get to be a bit smug at the end of it without doing anything to change your fate. Long live cakes 🙂

  22. Don’t worry our Trump lookalike promised us £350M a week for the NHS, so the country will have a healthy future.

  23. There is a lot of hope in that 1.3 million of those easily convinced by Boris, Gove, Farage, (trolls and bots were more for the younger unquestioning ones), have died.
    Certainly time for those who are now old enough to vote to decide on their future, which Europe supports far better than a void.

  24. I know where we will be in 5 years time ,one of two options. If the conservatives are still in power then we will be in an extended transitional arrangement while they tear each other apart over Brexit. If labour are in power then we will be in an extended transitional arrangement and Brexit will be forgotten about because they will be busy sorting out the railway etc.

  25. Brilliant . . . and where are the Leaver comments telling us how to get to their “promised land”. I worry about queues at Dover (and other ports) in the short term, even if we could solve everything with clever software in the longer term.

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