back to article I predict a riot: Amazon UK chief foresees 'civil unrest' for no-deal Brexit

Amazon's UK chief Doug Gurr has claimed Britain will descend into "civil unrest" in weeks if it leaves the EU with no trade deal in place. Gurr made his comments during a business leaders' meeting in England last week with new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, according to The Times. He is reported to have told the meeting, …

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  1. Pointer2null

    eh?

    How can there be civil unrest if the world ended?

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: eh?

      Maybe that means civil unrest in Heaven, when the Brexiteers get there and find out that the EU's founding fathers have taken over the bureaucracy in the hereafter. "You Brexit lot--out!"

      (In Heaven, the bananas all have proper curvature.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: eh?

      There will be Civil Unrest all the likely scenarios:

      1/ Hard Brexit: Civil unrest as food and gas become scarce

      2/ Soft Brexit: Civil unrest, as it's not want Brexiters wanted, and didn't understand our reliance on EU trace

      3/ No Deal: See 1/

      4/ Second Referendum, See 2/

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: eh?

        1/ Hard Brexit: Civil unrest as food and gas become scarce

        You really haven't a clue how world trade and WTO rules work, do you? Why on earth should any of that happen?

        No wonder people get scared of Leave when there's such blatant nonsensical remainer FUD around. Project FEAR is alive and well, it seems.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: eh?

          1/ Hard Brexit: Civil unrest as food and gas become scarce

          You really haven't a clue how world trade and WTO rules work, do you? Why on earth should any of that happen?

          No wonder people get scared of Leave when there's such blatant nonsensical remainer FUD around. Project FEAR is alive and well, it seems.

          Well, I'm pro Europe, and I didn't buy that reason either.

          However, there will probably be a backlash after Brexit, even if all EU ties are cut (even ECHR ones, which were not on the referendum) - mainly due to the Fairy Godmothers of Leave being unable to produce one scrap of the land of milk and honey, fully funded NHS now that we no longer give our money away to Europe and etc.

          How long before some sweating tory tries to chivy up some war spirit in the face of short term hardship before he nips abroad for a short break at the expense of some CEO friend of his.

          1. illuminatus

            Re: eh?

            I swear to God, if any one of them tries to conjure up the "Blitz Spirit" I will go nuclear.

            And then, in reply, I will ask them how that Blitz Spirit would have worked in 1940 if the people of London had discovered that they were not being bombed by the Luftwaffe, but the RAF, because the central command couldn't work out a plan for where to drop their payloads, and had decided they had to do it somewhere to look decisive, even though half of the government didn't want to drop them at all, and the other half basically wanted to just cull the poor and have done with it.

        2. The JP

          Re: eh?

          @Phil - I'm not sure you have much of clue how customs controls work, nor of the impact of the rules of origin, nor of the phyiscal limitations of Dover, nor the impact of even minor delays on the throughput from customs.

          The problem with Brexit is that facts and evidence has long since been replaced by blind belief.

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            @The JP -- Re: eh?

            The problem with Brexit is that facts and evidence has long since been replaced by blind belief.

            The blind belief now appears on both sides of the aisle but each belief opposes the other. As this becomes more ingrained it's possible that something along the line of riots may occur. Especially if the actual Brexit doesn't fit in with the beliefs. There seems to be a slippery slope that's been trod upon here.

            1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Unhappy

              "Especially if the actual Brexit doesn't fit in with the beliefs."

              Which particular version of Brexit did you have in mind?

              There's so many delusions to choose from.

              1. arctic_haze Silver badge

                Re: "Especially if the actual Brexit doesn't fit in with the beliefs."

                Let me become a typical voter for a moment:

                "I believe in flat Earth, alien abductions and in government conspiracies to spray me with aluminum from planes and to induce autism through immunization shots. Should I support a soft or hard Brexit?"

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: "Especially if the actual Brexit doesn't fit in with the beliefs."

                  "I believe in flat Earth, alien abductions and in government conspiracies to spray me with aluminum from planes and to induce autism through immunization shots. Should I support a soft or hard Brexit?"

                  Oh soft, definitely. You clearly need to be protected from yourself. Remain would be even safer.

                2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                  Unhappy

                  "I believe in flat Earth, alien abductions..government conspiracies to spray me with aluminum

                  and to induce autism through immunization shots. "

                  "Should I support a soft or hard Brexit?""

                  Hard brexit of course.

                  You are a delusional f**kwit.

                  Hard brexit is the perfect fit for the rest of your delusional belief system.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: eh?

            I, for one, stuck my head in the sand (or my own arse) and say, in a somwhat muffled voice: it's cozy in here, it's gonna be allright.

            p.s. I heard recently that the UK isn't self-sustainable in terms of dairy products (FAKE NEWS?!). I'm sure French farmers (I fart in your general direction!) will be happy to supply what's needed. At WTO + customs rates, but hey, at least we can blame them for being BAD, BAD FRENCHIES...

            1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

              Re: eh?

              Customs duties are levied by the importer. They are optional up to a WTO maximum.

              The only way we would have to pay import duty on French milk is if the government decided "lets set import duties on foreign milk".

              And are you really saying that French farmers will forgo profit to spite us and that there aren't any other countries in the world that will sell us milk?

              1. graeme leggett Silver badge

                Re: eh?

                You recall previous French intransigence and agricultural based strikes and blockades? British lamb in roadside BBQ, anyone?

                In the past, you got the EU to admonish the French and issue fines. The French complain but comply eventually. Under WTO? "bouff" will be the response.

            2. shawnfromnh

              Re: eh?

              Fuck the french. The US would make a fair deal with you for dairy and as much as you needed and at a fair price also.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: eh?

                "The US would make a fair deal with you for dairy and as much as you needed and at a fair price also."

                That's not the problem. The problem with the US is all the hormones they put in the cows with no idea of the long term effects.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: eh?

          You really haven't a clue how world trade and WTO rules work, do you? Why on earth should any of that happen?

          No wonder people get scared of Leave when there's such blatant nonsensical remainer FUD around. Project FEAR is alive and well, it seems.

          ================================================================

          Let's see...

          UK border services don't know how many customs officers they have, or whether the number is increasing or decreasing, and claim it will take too much money to find out because of the need to search manual records in multiple dispersed locations.

          They are working on a truck park for the vehicles delayed crossing in Dover due to customs checks entering the EU, but it won't be ready in time if there is no transition period, in part because the first attempt to do so failed badly enough that they had to start over.

          The flow of goods is supposed to be speeded and facilitated by magic software that does not exist and has not been explained in detail. Given the history of implementing large high volume government computer systems, the claim that this could be developed and implemented in under a year seems... questionable. Let's be gentle and say that.

          It's been suggested that goods be waved through without inspection to prevent delaying imports... but this leaves a gaping hole in immigration controls, controls that are one of the selling points for the brexit-lovers.

          And then there a the lapses of certifications, inspections, and licensing when UK bodies are no longer part of the EU regulatory structure and many existing authorizations lapse at the border going both ways.

          Also, a large number of transport drivers in the UK are from the EU, as are a huge proportion of agricultural workers. UK food production may well plummet, and drivers will be in short supply. Pilots and train crews will need to re-certify with appropriate regulatory bodies, and similar issues will probably arise with equipment inspections and certifications. It is not clear that regulatory bodies have sufficient time to test and re-certify the number of people and pieces of equipment involved in a period of less than a year.

          Cargo being trans-shipped in continental ports to smaller shallow draft vessels may need to be inspected there, which would add further delays and costs.

          Business licenses, insurance, etc. will also have to be reworked.

          Anyone who thinks that Brexitday+1 will run smoothly or even sort of well has not thought about the complications and interactions involved.

          The issue is not a 'project fear' but rather a 'project denial-of-reality'.

          1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

            Re: eh?

            "Anyone who thinks that Brexitday+1 will run smoothly or even sort of well has not thought about the complications and interactions involved."

            40 years of gradual integration to be replaced with, er, something else, in a much shorter timescale.

            It's not going to be simple.

            1. Schultz
              Holmes

              "Anyone who thinks that Brexitday+1 will run smoothly ..."

              Come on Brits, I count on your famously stiff upper lip. Queue up, be patient, and remember that your blood, toils, tears and sweat will eventually build a better world. (I withhold judgement whether that better world will appear within or outside of the EU :).

            2. tfb Silver badge

              Re: eh?

              And the 'something else' is going to be something thought up[*] by Boris 'fuck business' Johnson and Jacob 'fuck everything since the 18th century' Rees-Mogg. This is going to work so well.

              [*] Please don't assume that my use of the term 'thought up' implies these people can actually think, or at least about anything other than their own aggrandisement.

            3. shawnfromnh

              Re: eh?

              I don't know if anyone here has noticed but the EU has been grabbing more and more power from their nations to the Brussels officials and basically instead of making the EU the market powerhouse they were supposed to instead are running immigration and other crap that have nothing to do with business and in many cases are putting the native citizens out of work with non english speaking foreigners that work for a fraction of the wages because they are living on the public dole that the full wage earners and businesses are funding in taxes and driving budgets into the red. Hell that bitch in germany is pushing for as many immigrants as possible into the EU and her own government is about to give her the boot and your government is getting pointers from her which scares the shit out of me. Your government should not be taking orders from some fat german prime minister who seems to have no common sense when it comes to running a country.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: eh?

            "Anyone who thinks that Brexitday+1 will run smoothly or even sort of well has not thought about the complications and interactions involved."

            And not forgetting the collapse of the IT industry when everyone's European Computer Driving License expires :-)

          3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            The issue is not a 'project fear' but rather a 'project denial-of-reality'.

            Yes, that's about the PoV that got this sh**storm started in the first place.

            Remain was badly run but Leave basically lied, and went on lying. From who funded them to what the benefits are.

            The banjos got well and truly played.

          4. DoctorPaul
            WTF?

            Re: eh?

            Nice to see a post from someone who seems to know what they're talking about.

            My stepson worked for years in import/export processing and assures us that Dover will gridlock - no ifs, no buts, it will be a total meltdown.

            Think Operation Stack every single day, then double it :-(

          5. shawnfromnh

            Re: eh?

            With all the people out of work I can imagine if business had to they would plan early and get truck drivers and such trained in advance and there are tons of people that would probably work in many of the fields you mentioned if the pay was right. I don't see gloom and doom in your countries future because thats what everyone said with trump changing the trade treaties in the US and we're actually doing better than ever unless you watch CNN "Clinton new network" then you'll see that we are about to collapse when in reality we are doing great and I'm making $3/hr more than before trump at a more enjoyable job also and I only see it getting better. So I would ignor what the gloomers are saying and believe that you have a great country and it at least not france with all their problems and things only getting worse.

        4. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: eh?

          According to WTO rules, goods must be checked at ports of entry and tariffs must be applied. The UK at the moment just doesn't have the capacity to do that with the amount of goods that come from Europe. If we assume the UK does get the capacity, JIT supply chains would be screwed anyway.

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: eh?

            "According to WTO rules, goods must be checked at ports of entry and tariffs must be applied"

            That doesnt mean you have to physically inspect every shipment. Just like now.

            1. Warm Braw Silver badge

              Re: eh?

              That doesnt mean you have to physically inspect every shipment

              Even if we inspected no shipments, there would be inspections on the other side of the Channel - and for example, the French do not have (as far as I'm aware) inspection facilities for agricultural products at Calais, so those exports would have to be routed to other ports and join the queue with other non-EU shipments. There aren't two separate pools of drivers moving goods out of the country and into it - it doesn't really matter where the delays are, once drivers are stuck in a queue they (and their vehicles) aren't available for transport in the other direction.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: eh?

                "once drivers are stuck in a queue they (and their vehicles) aren't available for transport in the other direction."

                Of course the quarter of all transport workers who are migrants (as are 25% of transport support workers doing warehousing, etc) may be otherwise unavailable, possibly permanently.

                With more than 2 million non-UK EU workers as of 2015, a number of sectors could be very severely impacted including transport, food and beverage service, construction, health care, and agriculture.

                1. JohnMurray

                  Re: eh?

                  Has anyone though of how the trucks stacked waiting are going to be fed/fuelled/ and how the drivers hygiene needs are going to be met?

                  It's going to be one smelly motorway, quite soon...

                2. TheVogon Silver badge

                  Re: eh?

                  "a number of sectors could be very severely impacted including transport, food and beverage service, construction, health care, and agriculture."

                  You mean they will have to pay market wages for a change to attract employees? Shocking!

              2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: eh?

                once drivers are stuck in a queue they (and their vehicles) aren't available for transport in the other direction

                And, almost as important, quite a bit of what we export is quite perishable. Which won't be improved by sitting in a lorry queue for two days at 30C..

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: eh?

            " If we assume the UK does get the capacity, JIT supply chains would be screwed anyway."

            We should assume that anything relying on JIT manufactiring is going to pack up and leave - and it will take any local suppliers with it, or find new ones on the mainland.

            That's not Project Fear, that's pragmatic multinational business decision making - and it's already been going on for some time.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: eh?

              "We should assume that anything relying on JIT manufactiring is going to pack up and leave - and it will take any local suppliers with it, or find new ones on the mainland."

              JIT manufacturing doesn't need to leave the UK just because the time scales may change. They just factor in the time it takes to get stuff from one place to another. To some extent, it may increase costs since in effect, capital will be tied up for longer as goods in transit. But so long as the goods get to the destination "Just In Time", why does matter if said goods took 2 hours or 2 days to get there?

              There may be impacts on fresh goods and some others, probably on many JIT systems initially, but that's what forward planning is about. And all of the this is assuming a worst case, hard "no deal" Brexit, something neither the UK nor the EU wants. The UK may be prepared to walk away from the table, but that doesn't mean they will have to if a good enough deal is reached.

          3. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: eh?

            According to WTO rules, goods must be checked at ports of entry and tariffs must be applied. The UK at the moment just doesn't have the capacity to do that with the amount of goods that come from Europe.

            Post-Brexit ALL UK trade - yes that is both EU and non-EU trade will be subject to WTO rules - something being missed by many, including I suspect the leading Brexiteers in the Conservative party...

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: eh?

              "Post-no deal-Brexit if it happens ALL UK trade - yes that is both EU and non-EU trade will be subject to WTO rules - something being missed by many, including I suspect the leading Brexiteers in the Conservative party..."

              FTFY - The whole point of the negotiations is to avoid a "no deal" Brexit.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: eh?

                The whole point of the negotiations is to avoid a "no deal" Brexit.

                --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                Funny, it looks more like the point of negotiations from the UK side is to keep repeating an impossible wish list in hopes that the other side will have a moment of collective insanity and agree, while completely ignoring the realities being pointed out by the EU.

              2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                Joke

                FTFY - The whole point of the negotiations is to avoid a "no deal" Brexit

                But..

                <gollum>

                We wants it

                We needs it

                We must have hard Brexit (whatever that actually means).

                </gollum>

            2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: eh?

              including I suspect the leading Brexiteers in the Conservative party

              Oh I dunno - there must be a reason why Reece-Mogg's finance company has shifted a lot of their money to European stocks..

              Can you spell "hypocrite"? I can..

          4. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: eh?

            Don't be silly.

            JIT never worked when there was any sort of distance between factories / suppliers and customers.

            The truth is that newer models will take in to account the risk introduced by the logistics of shipping. And then recommend how many days of supplies to keep on hand.

            Big Data at work. ;-)

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: eh?

              "JIT never worked when there was any sort of distance between factories / suppliers and customers."

              JIT isn't about distance, it's about time, hence the expansion of JIT into Just In Time. It's doesn't matter where the stuff comes from so long as it gets from source to destination "Just In Time". The major selling point of JIT is that goods are not stockpiled, costing money instead of earning money, sitting in a warehouse.

              Back when Ferrybridge power station was still burning coal, they switched a load of coal deliveries back to the canal. They didn't care that the coal took a day instead of an hour or two to get from Immingham docks, it still got there when it was needed. (yes, not a great example, since they also had a mountain of stock-piled coal too.)

            2. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

              Re: eh?

              'The truth is that newer models will take in to account the risk introduced by the logistics of shipping. And then recommend how many days of supplies to keep on hand.'

              Yeah, we can just pile the additional stock under a tarpaulin in the staff car park, and the production staff can walk to work. Leave it to the bean counters to work out how to pay for it all.

              Big reality at work. ;-)

          5. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: eh?

            WTO does *NOT* insist that tarrifs must be applied. The only insist that if we ***CHOOSE*** to apply tariffs that they be no higher than 5%. Zero is no higher than 5. Zero is fully allowable and encouraged by WTO rules. Seeing as some EU tariffs are currently 60%+ WTO rules would actually mean us being forced to ****REDUCE**** tariffs.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: eh?

              >Zero is fully allowable and encouraged by WTO rules. Seeing as some EU tariffs are currently 60%+ WTO rules would actually mean us being forced to ****REDUCE**** tariffs.

              Tariffs for intra-EU trade are zero. So for those products that attract a 60%+ tariff, we have to ask two questions, firstly what is the EU/Single Market's level of self-sufficiency and secondly to what level the producer is subsidising their product ie. are they dumping it on the world market.

              So rather than simply point and shout about how terrible some unspecified tariff is, I suggest you do a little digging first. I'm sure you wouldn't object to their being a 60%+ tariff on foreign workers if it meant employing you was cheaper than employing them. Remember one of the reasons British Leyland survived for so long was because it was cheaper for the government to keep its workers in jobs and thus moving money around the system than it was to close it down...

        5. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Project FEAR

          There is genuine reason for fear. Pretend there are thousands of possible good Brexit deals. I am afraid that the UK government are too clueless to negotiate any of them.

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: eh?

          The £/USD exchange rate drops to £1 == $0.50 (or worse)

          Then people won't ship us Oil because we can't pay for it.

          This is the sort of scenario Amazon are working on.

          All I can say is,

          Amazon, go HOME but pay your TAXES First. We can exist without you. You are NOT wanted.

          1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
            Boffin

            @AC ... Re: eh?

            Seriously?

            Look the worse case would be 1 GBP to 1 USD.

            You will get oil because you can pay for it. You also have Oil production off your coasts.

            So I suggest you get back to reality and switch to decaf.

            I think you need to look at the US during the Carter administration. That's your worst case.

            If the US could survive... so too will the UK.

            1. JohnMurray

              Re: @AC ... eh?

              Because we have a reduced refinery capacity now....we import over 10 million tonnes of oil products into the UK each year, and it's increasing.

            2. Mooseman Bronze badge

              Re: @AC ... eh?

              "Look the worse case would be 1 GBP to 1 USD.

              You will get oil because you can pay for it. You also have Oil production off your coasts.

              So I suggest you get back to reality and switch to decaf.

              I think you need to look at the US during the Carter administration. That's your worst case.

              If the US could survive... so too will the UK."

              We get oil because we can pay for it but at higher cost. We have dwindling oil off our coast, the dividend from the 1970s bonanza was squandered by successive UK governments ( look at Norway for a better idea) The US under Carter is comparable how exactly? The US survived because it has massive resources, propped up its steel and mining industries and imposed trade tarrifs on everything imported.

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