• Morgan Fagg

Grapes of Wrath

Updated: May 12, 2019

Will England develop sour grapes in the end?

Prior to World War 2, John Steinbeck wrote the popular American novel, Grapes of Wrath and I have to admit I am at a loss to talk about the book as I have not yet read it but I will discuss it as it was released almost 80 years ago and sold 14 million copies and the author even won a Noble prize for literature. The anniversary will be in a few days and I can't help but think of the Grapes of Wrath as I was discussing BREXIT with my girlfriend while drinking some cava (sparkling white wine) and we saw some outdated Sky News programs outlining possible problems that BREXIT will bring for Britain.

One such problem is shown in the Sky News video above which talks about the opportunities and consequences for British aerospace if they leave Europe with no deal. And that is the use of European satellites which could mean England is forced to piggyback on American systems or invest significantly in developing their own satellites.

With a predicted price tag of £2- £5 billion., the sky-high cost is not the only factor that needs to be taken into account but I wanted to highlight the irony of England leaving Europe on the 12th of April.

In April 1961, Yuri Gagarin made history and 20 years later on the same day, America launched its first space shuttle, Columbia. Celebrating these milestones, the 12th of April is now known as International Day of Human Space Flight which seems an appropriate day to give the United Kingdom some space.

If England crashes out on April 12th, it will go down in history like the infamous space shuttle Columbia. It will also go down like the RMS Titanic which set sail from Ireland on the 11th of April. The voyage ahead, especially for those living in Belfast is an uncertain one despite Boris Johnson claiming that, "It will be a Titanic success."

People in Belfast will have to hold their breath about about a Titanic success but when it comes to the sheer magnitude of launching satellites into space when there isn't much space left up there for redundant satellite systems, I described it to my girlfriend as this:

"Give me your glass of cava which you have already paid for but don't worry you can easily grew some grapes and make your own."

There is a sobering reality to putting down the cool aid and swigging hard on the thought that, England has already paid into the European system and has access to the fruits of European labour. They have trod hard on those very grapes and everyone knows that wine from England might not be as sweet nor as successful as those made by European and American vineyards.

The launch of John Steinback's book The Grapes of Wrath dates back 80 years to a time of devastation in America's Dust Bowl and the Depression. The book was apparently banned and considered controversial but let's remember the crew of Columbia who died on the 1st of February 2003 which later lead the Americans to have to swallow their pride and use older Russian rockets and let's remember those who died onboard the Titanic when their magnificent ship struck an iceberg on the 14th of April 1912. I simply fear that England might not benefit from their hubristic satellite system, in the end.

We reep want we sow after all, It's not rocket science.

NOTE: I was inspired to write of the Grapes of Wrath as a friend of mine, Paul Kiernan had a very successful food and drink blog, The Grapes of Sloth which dived into the drinks industry and even taught me a think or two about enjoying some grape juice.

www.cliffsnotes.com summarises John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, writing:

"Tom Joad and his family are forced from their farm in the Depression-era Oklahoma Dust Bowl and set out for California along with thousands of others in search of jobs, land, and hope for a brighter future. Considered John Steinbeck's masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath is a story of human unity and love as well as the need for cooperative rather than individualistic ideals during hard times."

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