By Arachne

Despite the US's takeover of global headlines this week, and all of us watching on repeat the US police and military forces' intriguing inability to see white faces, just a little bit of local (i.e. national) news has got through. The outcry over the Marks and Spencers' Percy Pig sweet fiasco, for example. Because these delicacies are manufactured in Germany and brought to the UK before being re-exported, Irish consumers will now have to pay an amount of tax no-one can yet discover under 'the red tape' (sic, Daily Express, Daily Mail et al) to get their fix of, wait for it: Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Modified Potato Starch, Dextrose, Modified Tapioca Starch, Fruit Juice from Concentrates (3.5%), Acid (Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Lactic Acid), Potato Protein, Flavourings, Fruit Concentrates, Pectin, Beeswax, Caramelised Sugar Syrup.

Really? Ireland, I think your EU allies are doing you a favour.

A lower-profile story was an interview on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme with an EU plant exporter who was bemoaning the paperwork involved in getting her plants to the UK. The example she gave of her delayed plants risking finally reaching the UK no longer in tip-top condition was ivy. 

Ivy. That's the plant I spent hours and hours and hours wrecking my hands trying to rip out of the soil, fence and walls of my garden last year. OK, I know there are hundreds of different varieties and some are prettier than others. I've ripped them all out. I have seen ivy survive weeks without earth, air or water, spontaneously regenerate from a single cell and metamorphose from root to shrub while I go indoors to make my coffee. Yes, I've been known to wilt waiting for the Eurostar in Gare du Nord, but ivy?! 

I'm all for tariff-free imports of lemons, tulips, parmesan, books in Bulgarian, jamón ibérico, nectarines and vaccines but it's completely beyond me why the UK should want to import ivy.

Please can we have sensible news next week?

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