The Guardian is wrong - there will be flowers for Mother's Day

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An article appeared in The Guardian*1 last week (18/01/19) that is now doing the rounds on Facebook etc. It claims that there is a risk of no flowers for Mother’s Day because of the ongoing fiasco that is Brexit.  Ballderdash!

In fact not only is it inaccurate but it's not helpful either. In addition it includes NO comment from anyone connected with the UK flowers industry but instead is focussed purely on the Dutch who are, understandably, worried sick that their very lucrative UK market will have any glitches.

Truth is there are, and have been for quite a while, provisions in place for flowers in the event of a no deal scenario and the Dutch know it. They may not like it - any more than any of us in the UK like what is happening - but this sort of reporting does not help and purely serves to fuel the fear factor.

You see, quite apart from anything, if we leave on Friday 29th with no deal - indeed if we leave at all at this rate - and if, for some reason, the exit period *2 doesn’t happen the dates The Guardian are using simply don’t stack up.

Mother’s Day is on the 31st and the vast majority of supplies from Holland should be UK based by 23.59hrs on the 29th; be it in a lorry, warehouse, packer or shop to give everyone a chance to cut, condition and get the product ready for sale.  Indeed, if any florist or flower seller is relying on all their stock to arrive on, or the day before the BIGGEST sales day in the UK flower calendar I would be seriously worried about their business abilities. 

What’s more the article fails to mention is that not all flowers come through Holland. Never mind all the brilliant British grown production that’s going to be available there are – and have been for years - millions of stems sent directly to the UK from South America, Kenya, Israel etc.  All of which will be arriving at UK based wholesalers in the normal way; a strong case for buying from a local wholesaler methinks but that’s another story.

I am no fan of what’s happening – it's a downright mess and I am personally appalled how its been handled.  However I am equally unimpressed by irresponsible journalism and comments from those in prominent positions who should know better.

I was at the same meeting on January 10th with Matthijs Mesken, the boss at the VGB quoted in the article, so know what was said in terms of plans. As such this article, and other comments I’ve read over the last few months, seems more designed to sell papers, make people look important or put the fear of God in people trying to earn a living rather than telling the truth.

Which is why I would say to anyone worrying about what's going to happen, please don’t panic. We may be in murky waters, we are undoubtedly heading for changes (our Brexit At a Glance will be up shortly) and I suspect when it does happen it will cause some short term angst. However it is not going to be Armageddon.  UK florists and flower sellers WILL have flowers for Mother’s Day (and beyond), children of all ages will be able to say ‘I love you Mum’ and the flower industry is not going to collapse.

*1 You can read the full Guardian article here

*2 As it stands - and assuming a deal – then we have 21 months after 29.3.19 where life carries on as normal whilst they all hammer out more detail; deep joy I hear you cry! If we crash out there are plans in place. Not easy but nothing compared to WWII when growers in Cornwall had to move their flowers up to Covent Garden in suitcases because flowers were banned on the list of permitted transportable goods. It was only after a decent lunch, hosted by Covent Garden wholesalers at The Savoy, that Winston Churchill - at the time the man in charge - was prevailed upon to put them back on the list; a move he agreed to because he felt in the dark days of war the least people could have was flowers.