LONDON — As Brexit metaphors go, it’s up there.
British Prime Minister Theresa May reportedly said she scrapes the mold off jam, which was quickly dubbed a perfect metaphor to describe Britain’s European Union departure plans.
The British leader, who is a keen cook, reportedly told members in her top leadership team that instead of throwing out moldy jam, she scoops off the mold and eats what is underneath. What is left is perfectly edible, she reportedly said. Her views came up in a discussion about food waste, according to the Daily Mail.
The comments sparked a heated debate between scrapers and binners. This is Britain, a place that cares deeply about its fruit preserves.
It also did not take long before comparisons were made to Brexit. The Daily Mirror dubbed it “Jamgate” and said it was the “perfect metaphor” to describe May’s attempt to “scrape clean a moldy Brexit.”
“She’s still trying to scrape clean the ‘backstop’ from her 585-page Brexit deal, rather than, you know, giving up and getting a new one,” the paper said. “Unlike her jars of preserve, however, there are doubts about how easily she can dress up what’s left as tasty.”
May is, of course, in a jam as she struggles to get a Brexit deal through Parliament. Britain is set to leave the bloc in just 44 days, and if nothing changes, then Britain will exit the bloc without a deal, potentially leading to food shortages.
Jamgate is just one of a range of metaphors that have been employed for Brexit. There was the time in Berlin when May got stuck in a locked car door with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel looking on: It was a rainy December day, and May’s door would not budge for a few cringeworthy seconds. “I can’t get out!” was the caption on the front page of the Sun newspaper the following day.
Cake is frequently used as a metaphor to discuss Brexit. The Conservative lawmaker Tobias Ellwood seemingly made a comment about delaying Brexit when he tweeted a picture of his son with a cake they baked for 30 minutes, longer than the instructions said. “It was a big decision — honouring the cookbook or take more time to get the right result,” he tweeted.
Others have used more dramatic descriptions to describe Brexit. Boris Johnson, a leading figure in the Brexit campaign, once said “Brexit means Brexit, and we are going to make a Titanic success of it.” Not only did this trigger much mocking, it was also the inspiration for the video “Brexit: A Titanic Disaster.”
It is unclear how much sticking power Jamgate will have, but lawmakers on Wednesday were weighing in.
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party who famously makes his own jam and tends an allotment, said he does not share May’s jam-scraping habits.
“Jeremy’s love of both making and consuming jam is well-known, and as such he personally never gets to the point of scraping or chucking mold,” his spokesman said.