Three recent tweets encapsulate the misinformation, corruption and mess of Brexit Britain. They’re a window into a peculiar time.

The UK government’s Department for International Trade (DIT) “helps businesses export, drives inward and outward investment, negotiates market access and trade deals, and champions free trade”. This department is especially important during Brexit as it needs to be forging the trade deals that are being lost. A recent DIT tweet is aimed squarely at the nostalgic Brexit Leave voters – it’s about restoring and touring an “iconic Spitfire”. The Spitfire is an 80 year-old plane, used during World War Two. The last Spitfire rolled off production lines in 1948. The DIT is supporting a tour of an elderly symbol of war and past military glories.

A tweet from the British Government's Department for International Trade
A tweet from the British Government’s Department for International Trade

Meanwhile, extracts from a Sunday Times article are being tweeted. Some are saying that the article reveals why the Conservatives are so keen on Brexit: they plan to strengthen their corporate donors at the expense of working people (many of whom voted for additional public services rather than tax cuts for the rich).

The article states that in a recent meeting about Brexit, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid unveiled a “shock and awe strategy” for a no-deal Brexit: including tax cuts, weakening workers’ rights and ditching environmental regulations.

Sunday Times article
Sunday Times article

A third tweet provides the background noise. Thousands of people are sharing a tweet from Amy, a British style and lifestyle blogger. She writes: “green peppers turn yellow then orange then red and they’re actually all the same pepper just less ripe”. Sounds plausible.

Tweet about peppers
Tweet about peppers

Except that ethnobotanist James Wong writes that Amy’s widely shared tweet is false: “Although it *is* true that green peppers are just unripe regular ones, yellow, orange and red peppers are all genetically different varieties at full maturity. Their DNA predetermines the maximum amount of pigments they can produce, which creates this variation in colour.”

Three tweets that give us a glimpse of Brexit Britain. A Conservative government conjuring with WW2 fantasies, while planning to enrich themselves. In the background, the constant hum of social media amplifying the false and the mistaken.

See also
The battle for Britain’s story

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