Blackfriar: We all need a treat to get us through the third year of Brexit mayhem

Why is luxury chocolate maker Hotel Chocolat doing so well when other retailers are going to the wall?

Brexit treat of choice: A Hotel Chocolat ice-cream
Brexit treat of choice: A Hotel Chocolat ice-cream

The firm has announced a 14 per cent jump in annual revenue, boosted by its new ice-cream range.

The company has identified Yorkshire as one of its best performing areas and it is scouring the county for new sites.

In the year to June 30, Hotel Chocolat said revenue rose 14 per cent to £132m and it has opened 16 Hotel Chocolat locations in the year contributing 5 per cent to group sales year-on-year.

Analysts at Peel Hunt said the group’s stores are seeing good footfall growth, which is impressive given that customer numbers on high streets in general have been patchy.

It’s all about affordable treats. It’s hard to pass a Hotel Chocolat in a station concourse and not feel that you deserve something to get you through the third year of Brexit mayhem.

We all need something to cheer us up as the two hapless hopefuls for the Tory party leadership try to outdo each other in who can be the biggest idiot.

A no-deal Brexit will be catastrophic for the British economy, resulting in job losses and a probable recession.

Don’t take my word for it, just listen to the CBI, the TUC, the Bank of England, Make UK (the manufacturers’ organisation) and the Institute of Directors.

Yet both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt say that is exactly what they will do if the EU doesn’t cave in to their macho posturing.

Once one of these two becomes Tory leader and our next Prime Minister they will either have to take us out of the EU with no-deal, leading to tariffs and an Irish border or they will renege on their promises to the Tory faithful to get us out of the EU this year.

As previously sane ministers like Matt Hancock and Amber Rudd jump on the no-deal Brexit bandwagon, you wonder who on earth is going to actually take some responsibility and point out the madness of all this.

Chancellor Philip Hammond is trying his hardest and described it as “terrifying” that MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is supportive of Mr Johnson, can claim a no-deal Brexit could boost our economy by £80bn.

Mr Hammond knows he will be leaving the cabinet and has decided to put the country’s fortunes ahead of his own political career.

This is something that U-turn politicians like Mr Hancock and Ms Rudd have failed to do.

They have jettisoned conscience and common sense for a seat in Mr Johnson’s cabinet.

The whole Conservative Party contest has been held as if those of us who are not card-carrying Tories can’t hear every falsehood, every U-turn and all the toadying up to a prospective leader whom they have denigrated in the past.

We can hear you and we are noting every promise you make that you will break as soon as the leadership competition is over.

A few months ago, a wise person told me that at some point in the future, we will look back on the Theresa May era with nostalgia, a longing for a saner, more sensible moment in time. I was incredulous at the time, but it is looking increasingly likely.

Mrs May has rightly denounced President Donald Trump’s outrageous tweets telling four congresswomen, three of whom were born in the US, to go back to their own countries. Mr Johnson and Mr Hammond said the minimum they could get away with - still dreaming of the great American trade deal which we won’t get.

If this racism is ignored it is legitimised. We live in dangerous times and we must not tolerate this slide into populist politics both in the UK and the US.