Research Wins – At Last A Benefit To Brexit?

What do you call these?

Yes! After a three year relentless quest to find a single benefit to Brexit I thought I’d found one.

On a family day out at my local museum and chippy, a conversation started about batter bits, scraps or crispies or whatever you call them in your neck of the woods.

Previously under Europe, according to the local chip shop owner, scraps or batter bits were not allowed to be sold in the UK.

The chip shop owner passionately put down Europe and Health and Safety because they deemed them as ‘rubbish’ and having ‘too much fat’ to be sold.

‘Now we make our own laws we can!’ he added triumphantly.

Explore Mistakes, They Might Be A Path Out Of The Woods

I really wanted this man to be right. The Brexit benefit question had niggled away at me for years. There was never a simple answer.

So I thought I’d cracked it with this chip shop owner. Here was a simple uncomplicated example of a Brexit benefit.

I was so pleased with myself, I even did a post last year on my Facebook Page in unbridled excitement without checking the facts.

So what it’s only Facebook, I hear you cry. That’s the norm for social media.

Luckily for me I have one of those brains that keeps gnawing away at problems. As the third year anniversary of Brexit is upon us, the question of this Brexit benefit reared its inquisitive head again.

With further research, it looks like neither of the chip shop owner’s claims against Europe or Health and Safety are verifiable with evidence.

In fact, the Independent newspaper reported in 2012 this ‘banned’ batter bits story is a Heath and Safety myth. Crucially, one that predates the EU referendum on 23rd June 2016, let alone our official withdrawal of the European Union on 31st January 2020.

The HSE said the chip shop in the article had used a “lazy excuse”.

HM Government’s cover of The Benefits of Brexit document showing a ‘Freeport’ one of the many benefits of Brexit.

However, all is not lost. As research would have it, there are plenty of Brexit benefits to be had if you care to read the 105 page PDF The Benefits of Brexit published in 2022 by the UK government.

As the then, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated in the foreword, ‘And so that historic night two years ago marked not the final page of the story, but the start of a whole new chapter for our country, our economy and our people.’

It just goes to show, by doing your research on even the tiny scrappiest detail, it can illuminate embellishment, bias, reliability, conflation, wishful thinking, hubris, urban myths, and the myriad other obstacles that present themselves (or not) when trying to get the facts right on a complex issue.

Research work with open-minded confidence

In the early days, a friend of mine once described the Internet as a big library with no librarians.

These days the search functions have improved manifold and the world’s information is much more organised and specific search returns. However it can still feel really over-whelming confronted with all this information at your fingertips.

The most daunting question people are often faced with is, Where do I start?

Wikipedia’s reputation has never been higher, according to The Economist

Wikipedia is a great place to dip your toe in because it is a free, encyclopaedia and is the largest and most used reference work in the world (The Economist 2021).

But you will also need plenty of resources, skills and a dogged determination because:

  • Doing research takes time and money.
  • Finding the right piece of data, quote or fact or figure for an article, advert or essay can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
  • Locating the exact graph or table for a visual to sum up the main point is invaluable.
  • Being able to absorb and distill large complex pieces of information into a simple example or explanation is key.

As a freelance researcher and contracted academic researcher I understand how important it is to source information and content accurately, reliably and without bias – well, as objectively and with reflexivity, as much as any human can.

There is some data out there, we should try as hard as possible to look into, learn why, and try ultimately to understand. Even if most of the time many things turn out to be unresolvable or different from what we originally thought.

If you think you could benefit from some research support and get help to find that elusive needle in a haystack, please do get in touch or leave a comment below.

#Brexit #BrexitBenefit #BrexitReality #BritishFood #Chips #Scraps #BatterBits #Researcher


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