Editorial by Bronte Aurell, Author & Owner of ScandiKitchen
Already as the first few words typed out onto the screen, this promise was broken. Brexit is everywhere around us and still, three years on, overshadows everything we do here in the UK and divides so many people.
Dear Members & Readers,
In preparation for writing this editorial for the Danish UK association, I made one stipulation to myself: Do not mention Brexit.
It’s not all about protest, proroguing and Prime Ministers, though. Instead, writing-about-not-writing-about-Brexitgot me thinking much more about the roles we association members play in each other’s lives, especially during times of a somewhat uncertain nature. Because it is not simply about Brexit as the political force but also very much about the division and confusion it has created along the way – and how we react together, as a community.
For the past twelve years, ScandiKitchen – the business I run with my Swedish partner Jonas – has sat alongside the lives of the Nordic ex-pats and immigrants in the UK. As purveyors of remoulade and pickled herring to the people, we went from being the small quirky London café to a food importer supplying the bigger fish. This journey went uphill and downhill as we survived the recession, rode the trendy Scandi waves and even plunged ourselves into the great ‘how to pronounce hygge’debate. Just as we thought things were plain sailing, the UK voted to leave the European Union, changing everyone’s lives, affecting everything from the businesses that trade here to Mrs Jensen in Bournemouth who married her British sweetheart in 1984 (and never thought she’d have to question her cross-border identity).
Being a business that often exists to temporarily medicate people’s homesickness through food, we get a privileged look into what is going on in the heart of the Nordic community. At the same level in business, the Danish UK association has the same opportunity together with its Nordic partners to tie us closer together when the outlook is less predictable. From the brilliant meetings and conferences organised by all the various Chambers of Commerce on how to deal with Brexit, what to do about Brexit etc – to the smaller gatherings in churches and cafes such as ours where people can find help on how to move forward (importantly voiced in their own languages). Every one of these meet-ups and groups have, in the face of a lot of division, served to actually bring us all closer and make us stronger. Whether we were questioning the business climate or someone wondering whether it’s time to move on: the community support has been felt throughout, reinforcing a great sense of belonging when it was needed most.
At times like these, we feel extremely proud to be a Nordic company doing business in the UK, being supported by such a fantastic rich mix of organisations. Despite the gloom predicted over the next while, we’ve still been left with a sense of optimism that stems from the unity and common goal in which our communities are working together, both across the business forums and in our personal lives. From the Danes helping Danes, to all the pan-Nordic and UK organisations helping each other – working towards a common goal of making any Brexit landing as soft as possible, for the greater good of all of us.
Bronte Aurell, ScandiKitchen