back to article Six critical systems, four months to Brexit – and no completed testing

The UK's food and farming department has yet to test six critical IT systems ahead of Brexit and may have to rely on manual workarounds or "unsophisticated" tech, MPs have warned. As the UK creeps ever closer to 29 March, 2019, when it is due to leave the European Union, reports of unreadiness are rolling in thick and fast. …

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Trollface

What

only 6?

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Re: What

No Worries - they will just keep kicking the can down the road.

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How about scrapping them?

Do we really need "notifications to manage food imports"?

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Re: How about scrapping them?

Do we really need "notifications to manage food imports"?

Well of course, how else will the baying hordes know to descend on Dover when food aid arrives in the post-Brexit wasteland?

Where's the zombie apocalypse/Mad Max icon when you need one?

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Joke

Re: How about scrapping them?

Scrapping food imports sounds a bit draconian to me. Brexits do not have to buy imported food it they do not want to. They have had that choice for years. (Likewise they could have left the EU any time they wanted but they are still here). The rest of us would like a choice.

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Len
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Holmes

Re: How about scrapping them?

I don't really know what the article means by "notifications" but it may refer to the system to track food.

That comes in handy when suddenly a bunch of people start falling violently ill and it is discovered that all of them had lamb the day before. We currently have a system where we can trace (across Europe) every piece of meat in the supermarket to see who packaged it, who cut it, who slaughtered the animal and who reared it. You can then work backwards to try and identify the issue and prevent more victims. A system like this is quite useful and hopefully Brexit means we can still have food safety.

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Re: How about scrapping them?

Do we really need "notifications to manage food imports"?

Tinned stuff, maybe not. Fresh, yes. Fresh food can bring in pests that can then run rife through UK agriculture were they to get in. One of the advantages of being an island is that biosecurity is a tad easier to manage.

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Re: How about scrapping them?

"Do we really need "notifications to manage food imports"?"

So, that'll be horse-burgers for everyone again, will it?

I understand that the Chinese (or at least some of the dodgier Chinese sources) can do you a good line in imitation rice or eggs.

Of course you need to be able to track and manage food imports - the days of writing off a few dead people to 'shit happens' are over in most of the world.

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Re: How about scrapping them?

@Len: hopefully Brexit means we can still have food safety.

That's precisely the big sticking point! EU food safety rules are exactly what the brexiters insist we be freed from. Because they're the US red line that has long stood in the way of a US-EU trade deal (and also a US-pacific rim deal). And a US trade deal is the only one anyone cares about that we don't have already.

That's also the Irish border problem. Once the UK is importing[1] the full range of growth-hormone-filled beef, all Monsanto's GM efforts, etc, an open border will mean the only limit on smuggling will be the capacity of transport routes from Belfast to Dublin.

[1] Not merely importing, but also preventing backdoor restraint of free trade in them. So labelling schemes that might be prejudicial to US imports (for example, Red Tractor) won't be outlawed, but will be cause for an importer to take legal action and win damages against a supermarket displaying Red Tractor if it can be shown to affect sales.

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Re: How about scrapping them?

Quote:

I don't really know what the article means by "notifications" but it may refer to the system to track food.

That comes in handy when suddenly a bunch of people start falling violently ill and it is discovered that all of them had lamb the day before. We currently have a system where we can trace (across Europe) every piece of meat in the supermarket to see who packaged it, who cut it, who slaughtered the animal and who reared it.

And it still didnt stop us getting horse burgers and horse lasagna dressed up as beef....

And those huge sausages were very suspicious....

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IT Angle

Re: How about scrapping them?

"And it still didnt stop us getting horse burgers and horse lasagna dressed up as beef...."

No, but as soon as it was noticed, it did quickly lead to the sources being identified and contained.

To use a more IT-worthy metaphor, it's a logging system rather than a prevention system.

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Joke

Re: How about scrapping them?

@Len: hopefully Brexit means we can still have food safety.

I visited the UK recently from the US and was very disappointed in the taste of British food, the roast chicken did not have that little tangy Chlorine taste that I'm used to and the breakfast cereal was bland - it improved once I sprayed a dab of RoundUp onto it and tasted a lot more like what I'm used to. All you Brits need to do is appoint Johnson as Prime Minister and King Donald will rewrite the US constitution so that you'll be accepted as the 51st State with the same privileges as Puerto Rico and Guam... if you build his new golf courses and hotels everywhere.

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TRT
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Testing?

Testing is for wimps.

If you need me, I'll be in the Bahamas.

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Re: Testing?

If you need me, I'll be in the Bahamas.

Ditto. I will watch the show from the beach in the Cypriot Soviet Republic with the family.

If the situation proves to be as entertaining as I expect it to be, we will simply forfeit the return ticket and book a ticket to the Eastern European country where I have purchased an apartment to serve as a "retreat and regroup" position.

Nothing personal, just business. There is one thing I learned in the days when I was still working in chemistry. Messy reactions run in inappropriate lab equipment are best observed from outside blast radius (*).

(*)It took a 3b degree burn on my hands to learn it, but it is a lesson learned.

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Re: Testing?

DevOps FTW?

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Re: Testing?

When conducting a dangerous experiment always make a backup copy of yourself.

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Anonymous Coward

Time running out

four months to Brexit and no completed testing bloody clue!

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Re: Time running out

Honest question here from the colonies.

Why are you not having another referendum? If this Arron Banks really has taken dodgy offshore money and used it in the previous one would the result not be considered questionable?

If the worst happens at least my next trip to the wonderful UK will be a lot cheaper.

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Honest answer here also from the colonies

The short answer is there isn't time before April Fools Brexit Day.

The longer answer is: on top of the time taken to decide on a sensible question, organise campaigns and actually hold the damn thing (all while avoid clashing with the football, Strictly Come Braindead finals etc.) you have to get an enabling act through Parliament (because Britain has no constitutional mechanism for referenda). Then you still need time to work out what the hell the result actually means and decide how to implement it.

I have a vague recollection of reading that the latest plausible time to call another referendum was the last week in October.

Oops.

The EU have offered to postpone the event in case of fire, flood, general election, etc, but that would push the decision into the next EU budget period and European Parliament. That would mean the UK ponying up another four years contribution and electing some more MEPs. It would also make the agreement of liability moot and they'd have to start over again.

Oh, and Mr Banks et al are also only accused of laundering Russian money through a series of off shore bank accounts and front companies in the Isle of Man to fund their political causes. No one has been convicted, and frankly, any convictions are years away given the glacial pace of British justice, if ever given the state of financial disclosure laws in the IOM. Even then I doubt it would legally invalidate the referendum.

For some reason when I read this back I keep slipping into the voice of Jeremy Clarkson...

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Re: Honest answer here also from the colonies

Hey! Don't be dissing Strictly.

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Re: Time running out

Honest question here from the colonies.

Why are you not having another referendum?

Because it will have zero value in terms of local and international law.

1. Article 50 specifies a procedure to leave, it does not specify a procedure to stop the leave procedure.

2. Because the issue is not in the referendum in the first place. The referendum was non-binding, had zero legal value to start off with. A number of people, however, decided to make it a vehicle for various own agendas and it is these agendas which are driving the show.

3. Because of a number of newspapers which served as sycophants of Mosley and sucked Hitler's dick in the run-up to WW2, whipped hideous hysteria against the Polish who fought in the WW2 and Battle of Britain in the 40es, whipped hideous hysteria against the Hungarian Britain accepted in the 50es, whipped hideous hysteria against the Windrush, Czech, etc... They have whipped a significant part of the population into a similar hysteria and the powers that be are actually scared of what will happen if their "wishes" are denied.

4. All of this will make whoever paid Leave bills (not pointing fingers) even happier as it will increase the chaos and make the country weaker and more divided.

The way the situation is at present, the only way the nation may be re-united is to GO THROUGH, have the core leave constituency suffer the consequences and reapply. Once Nissan and their like have relocated to Piesti (and other similar locations) the vote will go where it should go. Naturally. By itself.

That, by the way is associated with a number of myths which puts the Happy BrExit myths to shame. Anyone deluded that a rejoin can just happen that easy and happen on the same terms Britain forfeited needs to go to Ireland and see the EXACT terms: no rebate, full set of Eu regs, metric units and Euro. Being non-compliant on all counts will put Britain in the rejoin queue _AFTER_ Serbia. 2022 at the earliest. That is the reality do the re-join brigade like it or not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time running out

>1. Article 50 specifies a procedure to leave, it does not specify a procedure to stop the leave procedure.

There is a case going before the ECJ later this month to determine whether the UK can unilaterally reverse the decision. This has gone through the Scottish courts and for some reason the government has fought it all the way. You might think it would be in their interest to be in possession of all the facts...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time running out

>That, by the way is associated with a number of myths which puts the Happy BrExit myths to shame. Anyone deluded that a rejoin can just happen that easy and happen on the same terms Britain forfeited needs to go to Ireland and see the EXACT terms: no rebate, full set of Eu regs, metric units and Euro. Being non-compliant on all counts will put Britain in the rejoin queue _AFTER_ Serbia. 2022 at the earliest. That is the reality do the re-join brigade like it or not.

IIRC we also need a written constitution before we can apply to rejoin.

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Re: Time running out

"Article 50 specifies a procedure to leave, it does not specify a procedure to stop the leave procedure."

I'm told that the man who wrote the text of Article 50 (a Briton, ironically) is of the opinion that it can be cancelled.

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Re: Time running out

Why are you not having another referendum?

Because the first one was such a stupid idea! Having another one (what would the question be?) wouldn't be popular (and not just with Brenda from Bristol) and probably wouldn't change anything. Downside: everybody gets riled up again. Upside: can't really think of one.

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Re: Time running out

@ Youngone

"Why are you not having another referendum?"

It took over 20 years to have a choice over our participation of the EU, a fair portion of that without popular support of being in it and trying to get a choice. After being lied to (Blairs labour) about consulting the population and Cameron's cast iron guarantee being worth about as much we finally had an election forcing them to give the people a vote. After that election we had the referendum (to which we were actively threatened by our own government to give the 'right' answer) which was a definitive outcome guaranteed to be enacted right away (ofc lies again from gov). Then there was another election in which the only main party for remaining in the EU (lib dems) were all but wiped out.

So after 3 votes of a hard slog to actually get a choice on the matter the idea that 1 man (Banks) is excuse enough to overturn democracy (there have been a lot of piss poor excuses so far) is wrong.

Early on when the excuses were flying fast and dumb I took great pleasure applying the logic to the remain argument. Under no circumstances does remain have a legitimate excuse to force the minority view on the UK. All the more concerning since the propaganda campaign has not stopped since before the start of the referendum.

And finally this is so similar to the Euro argument in zeal and self righteous superiority with the same poor arguments, same assumptions that the world ends at the EU border and that we should sell ourselves out that I keep the insult alive from that time. I was called a Eurosceptic which was to label us racist, xenophobic, thick, etc. Except of course we were right and the word vanished quickly. No word seems to have taken hold this time, the nearest being 'gammon' but it doesnt seem to have the same widespread use.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time running out

"May's Brexit agreement is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all." - Johnson (No, not that Johnson).

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Re: Time running out

"You might think it would be in their interest to be in possession of all the facts..."

Facts?!? We don't need facts, facts are for experts, you know, those people we despise. The ones who don't pull their weight, keep moaning about practicalities, difficulty of change, etc. Phew - facts have no place in our Glorious British Future (TM).

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Re: Time running out

"... was a definitive outcome guaranteed to be enacted right away (ofc lies again from gov)."

Sorry mate, the government can never guarantee that - in the UK Parliament is sovereign. And as this is a most complex issue, requiring complex arrangements and legislation, Parliament will have to vote on that.

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Re: Time running out

The reason we're not having another referendum, apart from timing, is that it wouldn't change anything.

Yes, opinion has swung towards remain, but if you *actually look* at the polls, the difference still isn't much outside the margin of error, just as it was originally.

There are entrenched positions, and British society is fractured down the middle. This will take generations to fix. The only way to swing opinion is for things to considerably worsen (unless you're on crack and think there will be a notable improvement).

Of course I haven't read the 550 page agreement, but from what I can see it isn't an appalling option given the alternatives (obviously I'd prefer Brexit to be cancelled). Once (if) the agreement comes into effect the population will discover the alternatives are so staggeringly awful we'll go back into the EU. Queenie will probably have popped her clogs by then, so Charlie will have to feature on the UK Euro.

Feck knows what will happen, though, as all the parties are still playing politics. Corbyn doesn't like Europe, and Labour are happy to sit back and let the country (more specifically the Tories) burn so they have a chance at power. Anna Soubry suggested a Government of National Unity to handle Brexit, and I agree - this is appallingly obvious and should have been started two years ago.

Personally I'd implement a law that if any politician puts party or self interest before country they'd be prosecuted. That'd stick Boris, Gove, Raab, IDS, Cameron and several others in the clink. Can't see a downside personally.

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Re: Time running out

@ H in The Hague

"Sorry mate, the government can never guarantee that"

Yes. As I said the government lied again.

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Re: Time running out

It took over 20 years to have a choice over our participation of the EU

The date you are looking at is November 2001 and it is exactly 17 years. I will not say any more courtesy of UK libel laws. Do your own research. To put it this way, some of my Russian acquaintances a couple of years back were giggling about this as the payback to the West for Saharov. Again, do your own research on the context and what the dad of the Russian Tsar Bomba has to do with it.

Early on when the excuses were flying fast and dumb I took great pleasure applying the logic to the remain argument Most of your arguments either fall into logical fallacies or in some cases outright lies. As in your post - the libdems were wiped out not because of BrExit, but because they reneged on every single promise (besides BrExit) they made while in the coalition government. Most of them represented university towns the subsidies, university fees, etc fiasco is what costed them the election.

I was called a Eurosceptic which was to label us racist, xenophobic, thick, etc There is a grain of thruth here. As for any Eurosceptic. You all have slept through a key lesson in your economy class in high school (taught as part of Geography in UK).

1. Service industries do not create value, they only add value

2. In order to add value, a service industry must have a flow of goods to add value to. While a value is added to a service at the bottom of the stack of flows is a flow of goods.

Since you have been to school there is: 3. Lean manufacturing steps function according to service industry value add rules

UK Economy is 60%+ pure service sector and 20% more are lean manufacturing. Less than 20% is initial value creation or verticals.

Now, simple, stupid question - how the f*** does the idea of BrExit work economically when 80% of your economy lives only because things flow through the country. Regardless of what the things are - goods, money, data, IT services, whatever. How does this 80% work if you erect trade barriers and by how much they are reduced? How thick, xenophobic and ignorant do you have to be to shoot yourself in the foot on this one?

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Re: Honest answer here also from the colonies

"Don't be dissing Strictly"

What else should one do with it? Watching it's out of the question of course.

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Re: Time running out

"it does not specify a procedure to stop the leave procedure"

It doesn't say it can't be done either.

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Re: Time running out

"You might think it would be in their interest to be in possession of all the facts"

They never wanted that. They didn't even want to establish the correct procedure for invoking it until it went before the courts.

Looking at it in one way it's a pity that it actually did go before the courts then; now would have been a superb time for the court to come up with the verdict that the invocation hadn't been approved by Parliament and was invalid if May had gone on with her original idea.

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Re: Time running out

"IIRC we also need a written constitution before we can apply to rejoin."

People keep saying we haven't a written constitution. We do. It's just not written in one place and some of it was written such a long time ago people forget it. The Constitutions of Clarendon would be a good place to start, proceed via Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights to the Representation of the People Act and beyond.

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Re: Time running out

@Codejunky

Exactly what was the pig that was supposed to have been in the poke at that referendum? Complete Brexit taking down a good chunk of the UK economy and the Good Friday Agreement with it in the hope of eventually building trade agreements with the rest of the world that would rebuild the economy in about a decade's time? More or less what we have now? Some fantasy agreement with the EU in which we keep all the good bits but ditch the bits BoJo etc don't like? Magic happens?

AFAICS the immediate prospect, short of exiting the back stop, is about as good as it was ever likely to get - stay in some sort of customs union without being in the decision making in the name of taking back control. Of the others one would be a disaster and the other two never were going to happen.

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Re: Time running out

As I said the government lied again.

The lies were coming from Leave. It was supposed to have been about as easy as winnign trade wars according to Trump (and about as easy in reality, for some negative value of easy).

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Windows

Re: Time running out - service industries

This is why, yeah those many years ago, I advised our children to learn a second language (Spanish was a good option) and plan to emigrate to a country which had major natural resources to fall back on if shit happened to service industries.

At the time I was working on the theory that "knowledge industries" were very transportable to cheaper areas of the world. Only basic raw materials were tied to a country.

I didn't have Brexit in mind, but it may unfortunately prove me right.

One gone, other has long term options which may pan out. Meanwhile the crumblies are currently stuck here as more and more possible destinations lock down immigration. Partly because of Brits running for cover, but mainly because Chinese and Indians seem to be getting their money out whilst they can and buying up all the property.

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Re: Time running out

@ Voland's right hand

"The date you are looking at is November 2001 and it is exactly 17 years."

The EU was created in 93.

"I will not say any more courtesy of UK libel laws"

Ok. I dont consider myself a snowflake and have heard plenty but I understand some people can become touchy.

"the libdems were wiped out not because of BrExit, but because they reneged on every single promise (besides BrExit) they made while in the coalition government."

The only main party 100% behind remain. Labour were quietly out and tory not so quiet. Labours history if lies and the tories following on would surely disqualify both of those too then?

"Most of them represented university towns the subsidies, university fees, etc fiasco is what costed them the election."

Very true. And it is these universities so desperately EU and yet abandoned the only main party pushing absolute remain regardless of the referendum.

"Now, simple, stupid question - how the f*** does the idea of BrExit work economically when 80% of your economy lives only because things flow through the country."

By not being so stupid. Our little world ending at the EU borders then going through their tariffs and increasing regulations is small. There is a world out there and instead of walling ourselves off behind high tariffs and stupid regulations we can actually participate in the world.

"Regardless of what the things are - goods, money, data, IT services, whatever"

You seem to have hit on something there. The EU was considering cutting itself off from the European global financial centre in the world because we hurt their wittle feewings. After unknotting their panties they finally seem to have realised it will not pick up and move to the EU because they have a hissy and have finally realised that 70% of Euro clearing and access to global markets is kinda important to a functioning economy. The EU seem to have realised how dumb they look when they want Euro clearing in their borders but want the Euro to be an international reserve currency (aka clear outside the EU). Our gov have their doosies too but do we really want these children dictating UK policty when they are this dumb? We cant even kick them out for being so dumb.

"How does this 80% work if you erect trade barriers and by how much they are reduced?"

Well said. And if we reduce the trade barriers we are better off. The same lies have to be pushed to claim we will be worse off, while we are doing better and have every reason to believe we will be fine. Amusingly certain claims are being strongly tested. For example the claim that mass immigration doesnt reduce wages is rubbing up against less migrants to boost the workforce and so wages are rising. We have had zero of the 2 predicted recessions due to brexit. We have the goals of the treasury and BoE to improve the economy since the recession being met and they even gave credit to voting leave.

"How thick, xenophobic and ignorant do you have to be to shoot yourself in the foot on this one?"

With the assumption of shooting myself in the foot but still with everything I said above the answer is not. Remove the assumption and still seeing no thick, xenophobic or ignorance on my part. And of course the word Eurosceptic vanished because we were right. That is why I have to keep it alive myself because we were right no matter the petty name calling we received.

"Russian acquaintances"

I have one of these as well. I have friends from all over the world, EU (various parts), Russia, Asia, US, Africa. Most of them come on student visas to get here (apart from the Russian who isnt a student and cant get here without a high paying salary + faffing) and suffer the immigration system. All except the EU friends who waltz into various office jobs and such which my Russian friend would be happy to do if she could just move here. But EU is the pre-approved land while others are not so. All of them working although those outside the EU seem to have more skilled and technical jobs (bar the Russian). I would love for her to come here.

I do wonder how I can be thick, xenophobic and ignorant because I dont assume EU superiority over the rest of the world. I keep hearing how the US will screw us over, the EU will, China will. One commenter once claimed the world would conspire to screw us over because they can! Remainers fearing the world. You make interesting economic points but they seem to be based on shutting ourselves away from the world. But that is what we are breaking out of.

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Re: Time running out

@ Doctor Syntax

"The lies were coming from Leave."

Cmon we both know both sides lied their asses off. And brexit is difficult for the remainer to deliver, she is proving it. She overrode the leavers she assigned the task to.

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Pint

We have to actually achieve Brexit for this to be a worry. Theresa May is doing everything possible to prevent it.

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I don't think she's preventing it, she's doing everything to keep it in quantum superposition

unfortunately she's unaware that superposition can be achieved only for systems with few dozen atoms at a time

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@Tigra07:

See Hanlon's Razor

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Is the UK ready for Brexit in any way?

I keep reading the articles about all the ways in which they aren't prepared, is that the story everywhere or is El Reg just cherry picking the worst headlines?

At least during Y2K we all knew about all the ways in which things were prepared (and in many cases, quite overprepared) despite the doom and gloom of the popular press, but the general public didn't so when it went off without any major glitches they felt the IT world had been crying wolf. Will the same thing happen when Brexit occurs, or is the UK in for some real pain?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is the UK ready for Brexit in any way?

>> or is the UK in for some real pain?

Even now, after all these months, nobody knows what will happen. There are so many irreconcilable differences, the chances of getting any sort of agreement is roughly zero.

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Re: Is the UK ready for Brexit in any way?

"when it went off without any major glitches they felt the IT world had been crying wolf."

In all fairness, many IT companies (the ones making money on remediation) were in fact crying wolf as loudly as they could. The fact that the media actually gave them press time made that even worse.

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Re: Is the UK ready for Brexit in any way?

Y2K???

despite the doom and gloom of the popular press

You mean the sort of 'planes falling out of the sky' fear press and media often pushed (hey, doom sells papers (and religions)).

Most work I did on that was ensuring banks and the like weren't going to be calculating dates wrong due to stored 2 digit years and statements and invoices going to customers dates '1900'.

Embarrassing, but not usually Apocalypse stuff.

However, the extra 'apocalypse' panic was sure handy helping to convince management to fork out for some project time to ensure the embarrassing didn't happen.

Large scale Brexit unreadiness will be more chaotic for many, others will notice nothing, maybe.

Or maybe we'll wake up to the bureaucracy grinding to a halt on the jagged wheels of a broken system

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Re: Is the UK ready for Brexit in any way?

Even now, after all these months, nobody knows what will happen. There are so many irreconcilable differences, the chances of getting any sort of agreement is roughly zero.

We keep being told it's 95% done.....

Is that just the arrangement for the parking and sandwiches fillers for the lunchtime breaks during talks???

Probably.

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Re: Is the UK ready for Brexit in any way?

> We keep being told it's 95% done.....

There's an old saying: The first 95% takes 95% of the time. The last 5% also takes 95% of the time.

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