After waking up to the tumultuous election results in the UK, we have not exactly been given the promised ‘strong and stable government’ that was bandied about. Although the phrase was repeated by the PM so frequently that it prompted comparisons to the Jungle Book’s ‘Trust in me…’, it was still not enough to convert the majority of constituencies into an adequate trance-like state of support. In fact, it feels more like the Tories have scored an own goal. But amidst the chaos of the fallout and uncertainty, you have to laugh. And looking around me, it is obvious that many have chosen to digest the result with a smile on their face. If anything, there is actually a feeling of hope in the air. It may seem utterly bizarre to the rest of the world that the atmosphere at the moment does not seem too bleak even though the pound has tanked to further depths. However, perhaps this is no different to the very British response to some other recent shocking events.
As the world knows, we very recently experienced two absolutely horrific terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. The fact that they were targeted specifically at children leaving a pop concert and those out enjoying themselves on a sunny evening was truly disturbing. However, rather than terrifying anyone, they seemed to only provoke a display of resilience and swell public spirit that continues today. The resolute refusal of the public to retreat from the normalcy of everyday life has simply stoked an atmosphere of defiance and this has spilled over into humour. It is no wonder then, that the publication of the New York Times headline, Terrorist Attacks in the Heart of London Leave 6 Dead in a Nation Still Reeling and subsequent criticism of the response of our politicians through social media, could not help but cause a war of words all over Twitter.
With competing Twitter feeds trending such as #OneLoveManchester, #LondonBridge and #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling, the overwhelming response to the terrorist attacks and the alarmist coverage of the UK by foreign newscasters ranged from the humorous and ridiculous to outright mockery. Perhaps the twitter feed that best sums up the unique British response to the attacks was #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling. The tweets that followed can only be described as a limitless series of sarcastic suggestions of what it really takes to shock the Brits in their everyday life. There were several themes to the tweets along the lines of the shocking unpredictability of the British weather, being stuck in London’s many tourist traps or shopping areas and references to a different kind of ‘reel’, the common folk dance in Scotland and Ireland. However, I could not help but notice another common theme in these tweets which of course, was related to food and drink.
Starting with my favourite tweet of all from Howard Manella @hmannella, who noticed that in one of the photos featured by the media, a member of the public is shown fleeing the attack at London Bridge carrying half of pint of lager. Yes, he shown running and fleeing terrorists but doing so using his free hand to keep the pint steady so he doesn’t spill a drop. It must be said that this feat is both admirable and hilarious.
And who could argue with the numerous tweets that shared such feelings of injustice by recent price increases and shrinkages of favourite chocolates? Not to mention complaints about the pointlessness of toasters that do not fit an entire slice of bread, choosing the wrong items in a meal deal and discovering the biscuits in your cupboard have gone soggy. Also at the heart of what really makes Britain reel are widely disputed customs that others get wrong. Number 1 of food gripes is people who make a cup of tea incorrectly. Such as when the water is heated using a microwave. Or when milk is poured into a cup before the tea. Other faux pas include people who eat KitKats left to right like some kind of rodent instead of chomping it finger by finger. And of course, there is much to reel about when it comes to the mispronunciation of ‘scone’ or the decision to sell Bake Off to C4.
So in the end, things may be a bit chaotic from the election result and recent shocking events in the UK. But at least at the moment, we are far from truly reeling. As the days go on, the uncertainty can only continue to galvanise people and provide an endless source of sarcastic tweets. And what better way to use social media, than as a force for good? With an uncertain future ahead, for now, the Brits will keep calm and carry on.
One more thing that chaos typically creates besides humour is an appetite. The recipe this time is for some very moreish Plum, blueberry and walnut scones. And as everyone knows, scone rhymes with ‘gone’!