back to article MPs sceptical of plan for IT to save the day after UK quits customs union

MPs have slammed government's approach of touting tech "as its magic solution to customs post Brexit" in a Parliamentary debate. Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, was discussing the Cross Border Trade Bill, which will lay the groundwork for Blighty exiting the EU customs union. He said the government has …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    There are no specs because the UK's trade agreement hasn't been negotiated with the EU yet

    And there won't be any specs till March 2019. So hopefully there'll also be a transitional period of at least two years with no deviation from EU law or the UK will be screwed.

    Or maybe the government is already doing speculative execution of possible solutions and the nearest one will be chosen in 2019 and then agiled into the final system/a smoking wreck (you choose). Expensive, though.

    Message to MPs: IT is not magic, you do have to tell computers what to do first.

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: There are no specs because the UK's trade agreement hasn't been negotiated with the EU yet

      But of course we can develop a full featured solution ready for Brexit despite having no idea what it will need to do until a few instants before Brexit. And all the companies which will use it will be able to make all their own systems compatible with it in the same amount of time.

      After all, our wonderful government has stated that it will happen, so that proves it.

      Don't listen to all that carping about the 'real world' - a Minister's casual comment overrides mere physical reality. Good grief, next you'll be saying that the NHS is in crisis merely because there's people dying on trolleys waiting for treatment, despite the prime minister clearly stating that there isn't a problem.

      1. W Donelson

        Re: There are no specs because the UK's trade agreement hasn't been negotiated with the EU yet

        Imagine mass starvation in the UK as the economy collapses and food trucks are backed up at ports while the food rots.

        Note: The last time the UK fed itself was in about 1885.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: There are no specs because the UK's trade agreement hasn't been negotiated with the EU yet

      So hopefully there'll also be a transitional period of at least two years with no deviation from EU law or the UK will be screwed.

      As things stand at the moment the transitional period can only run until midnight of 31st December 2020 because otherwise the UK has to sign up for the next budget…

      Of course, the current fudge allows for a maintenance of the status quo sans voting rights because of the Irish question.

      Of course, Britain can take it! Cue stirring black and white footage of the new volunteer army of border and customs officers skillfully and knowledgeably handing everything. Thank goodness, Mr Chalmondely-Warner!

      1. Yes Me Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: There are no specs because the UK's trade agreement hasn't been negotiated with the EU yet

        The good people of Kent are looking forward to the day when both the M2 and M20 southbound are fully parked up with lorries waiting to clear Customs. The northbound lanes will be delightfully clear. Somewhere, a junior programmer will be puzzling over a faulty program written in something called RPG II that can't calulate the duty to be paid on a lorry load of HP Sauce...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: There are no specs because the UK's trade agreement hasn't been negotiated with the EU yet

          "The northbound lanes will be delightfully clear."

          Maybe not. They'll probably be solid with parked incoming HGVs waiting for customs clearance of imports.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: There are no specs because the UK's trade agreement hasn't been negotiated with the EU yet

            Maybe not. They'll probably be solid with parked incoming HGVs waiting for customs clearance of imports.

            Surely they will have to wait in the French half of the tunnel until cleared to enter Britannia ?

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: There are no specs because the UK's trade agreement hasn't been negotiated with the EU yet

              Surely they will have to wait in the French half of the tunnel until cleared to enter Britannia ?

              Probably, though there may also been a load abandoned by the non-English drivers who find themselves no longer welcome on the sceptred isle. Along with health and farm workers…

        2. SVV Silver badge

          Re: There are no specs because the UK's trade agreement hasn't been negotiated with the EU yet

          "The good people of Kent are looking forward to the day when both the M2 and M20 southbound are fully parked up with lorries waiting to clear Customs. The northbound lanes will be delightfully clear. "

          Well there's your answer staring you right in the face then. Simply move all the lorries queued up on the southbound lanes onto the empty northbound ones. Problem solved! The French can then let all the lorries queued up on their northbound lanes use their clear southbound lanes to relieve the congestion on their side too. See - told you this was going t be easy!

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: There are no specs because the UK's trade agreement hasn't been negotiated with the EU yet

      "Message to MPs: IT is not magic, you do have to tell computers what to do first."

      Alexa, write me a Brexit compatible Customs system.

      There, what's the problem?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Alexa, write me a Brexit compatible Customs system

        Oblig

        "I'm sorry Theresa/Jeremy (Corbyn not Hunt) I can't do that. You have not signed up for Amazon Prime Platinum-Diamond Edition. It is only £3b and as it is on sale, it is non-refundable. Shall I take the money now?"

        1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Alexa, write me a Brexit compatible Customs system

          @Steve Davies 3

          The good news is that the PM gets Amazon Prime TV and free delivery on their Amazon.com purchases once they plunk down the 3 billion Sterling.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Alexa, write me a Brexit compatible Customs system

            The good news is that the PM gets Amazon Prime TV and free delivery on their Amazon.com purchases

            Except all the tat is held up at customs…

            I'm here all week, try the veal.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There are no specs because the UK's trade agreement hasn't been negotiated with the EU yet

      Specs? For a Government IT system? Well yes, they might exist, but they are of course simply advisory, never binding, and subject to re-interpretation many times along the way. Gosh, just like......

    5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      FAIL

      "There are no specs because the UK's trade agreement hasn't been negotiated with the EU"

      Wrong.

      That means the "Identify all areas that are subject to change. Create a structure that's flexible enough to accommodate those changes and use configuration files to configure those structures on the day."

      Which is probably how an in house team would do when they realized the PHB's aren't sure what they want yet.

      But in outsourced government con-tractor land that's going to need a decade of studies, requirements analyses, several rounds of "competitions" and f**k knows what else before they hand it to one of "The Usual Suspects (TM)".

      Good thing Brexit will likely long enough for this to enter service.

  2. John Crisp

    Like Laurel & Hardy

    "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into"

    Or Douglas Adams...

    "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by."

    Oink, oink, flap, flap.

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Like Laurel & Hardy

      "Oink, oink, flap, flap."

      I see the price of bacon has gone up again.

  3. 0laf Silver badge

    Blah blah blah leverage cloud

    Blah blah digital services

    Blah blah blah transformational government

    Blah blah E-commerce solution

    Blah Big data AI informatics

    There all done, Minister feel all better now.

    Shiny electric magic make everything nice now, Brexit go bye bye

    I'll take my €5 million in non-consecutive notes thanks

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Mushroom

      You forgot...

      I recommend Crapita to impliement it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You forgot...

        ATOS would make for better brexit irony and Daily Express indignation.

      2. Wensleydale Cheese

        Re: You forgot...

        You missed Agile.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: You forgot...

          "You missed Agile."

          We're saved! That'll fix it with a 5-day sprint.

    2. Mike Richards

      I'm shocked the government hasn't tried to show their up-to-the-minute grasp of the fast moving world of technology by cramming 'blockchain' into their rigorously thought through magic borders.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        technology by cramming 'blockchain'

        With their advanced level of technology knowledge they probably think that 'blockchain' is the big metal thingy made of lots of links that can be raised to prevent ships coming into a harbour..

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely the governments answer to this should align with the NHS solution which is to tell people not to get ill, all we have to do is tell people not to trade and we will have no problems with customs.

    That there is government logic.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      No need to tell them not to trade, it's unlikely any businesses will be left who can trade...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " tell people not to get ill"

      Sounding like my employers.... four days off in any twelve month period? Disciplinary to determine why you had time off....

  5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    but they took a clear decision

    I do wish Govt. politicians and the media would stop saying this. There was a vote and one side won, but it was a hardly "a clear decision". The difference between Yes and No was barely an error margin.

    1. LegalAlien

      Exactly...

      Also, leaving EU does not = leaving customers union (ask Turkey); it does not equal leaving EEA (Norway); as you say, we had a margin of error like result, which has given some charlatans the perceived authority to lurch off into extremely damaging territory all in the name of 'the will of the people'.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Exactly...

        Yep, ask Turkey - about the paperwork and days lorry drivers spend waiting for customs checks.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Exactly...

        don't worry - we know where they live.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: but they took a clear decision

      ..and for clarity is was a non-binding referendum. And lots of people who can vote in Parliamentary elections were not allowed to vote. Just for clarity.

      1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

        Re: but they took a clear decision

        ..and for clarity is was a non-binding referendum.

        Quite, and as that was written in clear legible text in the gummint-issued booklet explaining the referendum, I call all the MPs who claim the referendum was binding to be blatant, deliberate liars.

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: but they took a clear decision

          @Martin Gregorie

          written in clear legible text in the gummint-issued booklet

          Ah, but that booklet was probably written by 'experts' (people with GCSE Eng Lang) so obviously isn't relevant

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: but they took a clear decision

            Ah, but that booklet was probably written by 'experts'

            You mean all those PPE Grads that have not done a proper days work in their life.

            {PPE Grads naturally want to become and MP and PM again without ever having a proper job!}

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: but they took a clear decision

          @ Martin Gregorie

          "Quite, and as that was written in clear legible text in the gummint-issued booklet explaining the referendum, I call all the MPs who claim the referendum was binding to be blatant, deliberate liars."

          That would be the prime minister at the time David Cameron.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: but they took a clear decision

          I call all the MPs who claim the referendum was binding to be blatant, deliberate liars.

          There's absolutely no point in having a referendum if you're going to ignore the result, so it was morally binding, if not legally so.

          1. Chemist

            Re: but they took a clear decision

            "There's absolutely no point in having a referendum if you're going to ignore the result, so it was morally binding, if not legally so."

            There is if a gov. is looking for an indication of strong/weak/marginal support for a proposal. In any case almost all ref. require a significant margin esp. for such a major change

          2. Yes Me Silver badge

            Re: but they took a clear decision

            "it was morally binding, if not legally so"

            No. If it had been based on an honest, factual, unemotional campaign by both sides, that might have been arguable, even for a 52% vote. But since one of the campaigns was based on emotional arguments, lies and fantasies, no. Also, since Corbyn's lips muttered Remain while his body language said Leave, a fair number of Labour voters were conned into supporting UKIP. Also, it is well known that many of the Leave votes were in fact simple protest votes against the Cameron regime.

            The referendum was discredited by the time the votes were counted. (And if the vote had gone 52% Remain, that would still be true, but it wouldn't matter as much; we'd simply still be dealing with UKIP as a political force, instead of planning to uninstall our international trade.)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: but they took a clear decision

              But since one of the campaigns was based on emotional arguments, lies and fantasies, no.

              Yes, but fortunately that side lost.

              a fair number of Labour voters were conned into supporting UKIP

              Ah yes, they didn't vote the way your great intelligence thinks they should have, so they were conned.

              The referendum was discredited by the time the votes were counted.

              Are you for real? I've heard some daft, arrogant, remarks about Brexit, but that takes the cake. How do you get your head through the door in the mornings?

              The Brexit vote gave a more definite result than any recent general election.

              It gave a bigger majority to leave the EU, on a bigger turnout, than France did for joining the EU. Does that mean that the French entry to the EU was discredited as well?

        4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: but they took a clear decision

          MPs who claim the referendum was binding to be blatant, deliberate liars

          Objection! Tautology..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: but they took a clear decision

      There was a vote and one side won, but it was a hardly "a clear decision"

      It was a more clearly defined decision than any general election in the past 50-odd years.

  6. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Easiest new system in history

    Of course the IT won't be able to do everything - but their highly trained force of Border Force telepathic unicorns will be able to speed things up considerably.

    And they have lots of time, as it appears that all the UK lorry-drivers' licenses for EU work will become invalid on day 1 in the brave new free world.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Easiest new system in history

      And their Volvo/Scania/Mercedes/etc trucks with their <spit> eu </spit> "CE" safety marks - will they be valid in the new free Britannia ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Easiest new system in history

        And their Volvo/Scania/Mercedes/etc trucks with their <spit> eu </spit> "CE" safety marks - will they be valid in the new free Britannia ?

        Will likely depend on whether they comply with UK rules. Some don't. EU rules on side protection are much looser than UK ones, for example, but those lorries have to be allowed access to UK roads because they meet EU standards. They may not be in the future. A French TV news item on a fatal crash went to the trouble of finding a UK lorry in a motorway service station to show what proper side protection should look like.

        Of course, perhaps the EU will upgrade it's safety rules in that area to meet UK standards. They did for "blind spot" mirrors in 2015, for example. Then again, taking a safety lead from the traitorously-leaving UK might be hard to swallow.

        1. Yes Me Silver badge

          Re: Easiest new system in history

          Thanks for making it clear that we should stay in the EU, in order to improve safety standards for everybody.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Easiest new system in history

            Thanks for making it clear that we should stay in the EU, in order to improve safety standards for everybody.

            Don't need the EU for that. The EEC would have been just fine, but as always the politicians had to get carried away with their European Empire building. They need to feel important, the rest of us get screwed.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Easiest new system in history

              Will likely depend on whether they comply with UK rules.

              But at the moment the UK rues are the CE ones - once we take back control we will have proper British Rules.

              How long is it going to take to draft those, make new regulations, setup the notified bodies and testing labs, setup the regulations to regulate the testing labs....

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Easiest new system in history

                But at the moment the UK rues are the CE ones

                No, they aren't. Lorries made in the UK follow the stricter UK safety rules. Those from the EU, which follow the less stringent CE rules, are still allowed to drive on UK roads because of EU rules.

        2. NeilPost Bronze badge

          Re: Easiest new system in history

          Some side protection for fuel tanks would be welcomed, to stop the current spate of diesel spillages, and roads closed for 12 hours for emergency repairs.

  7. Dr Who

    Problem solved

    With neural networks doing some deep learning to which we apply some AI algorithims this is no problem.

    We simply scan in the new EU/UK trade agreement and the computer can then execute a billion trade transactions with itself and by the morning it will outperform even the greatest living customs officer. Particularly when chasing a bloke from Luton who's just smuggled in a van load of cheap fags from Bulgaria. Or opening a container door to check that what's in it matches the bill of lading.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Problem solved

      Particularly when chasing a bloke from Luton who's just smuggled in a van load of cheap fags from Bulgaria.

      And once the AI has identified the contraband, it activates the nearby T-200 to gently detain this enemy of the people.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Problem solved

      "Or opening a container door to check that what's in it matches the bill of lading."

      Or who's in it.

  8. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    Sceptical of gov not being able to deliver IT, must be a day ending in 'Y'. I dont think anyone has faith that the gov will do such a thing.

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      Sceptical of gov not being able to deliver IT, must be a day not ending in 'Y' - FIFY.

      I've been a contractor on two large Government IT projects for two different departments. Both were clusterfucks. The first was fixed by bringing in an army of contractors and replacing the management with DataKill people. The second one failed in a cloud of managerial infighting for the fourth time in a row.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        The second one failed in a cloud of managerial infighting for the fourth time in a row

        NPfIT?

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      FAIL

      "I dont think anyone has faith that the gov will do such a thing."

      And yet you voted to leave anyway.

      Did you think you could disentangle a 42 long legal and trading relationship with no IT issues at all?

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: "I dont think anyone has faith that the gov will do such a thing."

        @ John Smith 19

        "And yet you voted to leave anyway."

        Yes

        "Did you think you could disentangle a 42 long legal and trading relationship with no IT issues at all?"

        Of course not. Why do you assume I have faith in this government to be able to find their arse with both hands and a map? That doesnt mean I want a supranational government who cant find their arse with both hands and a map above them.

  9. Mr Dogshit

    Yes, but

    it will be worth it to regain our sovereignty. And the NHS will get an extra £350 million a week, don’t forget.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Yes, but

      And don't forget the BLUE passport cover. Which we could have had for the last 30 years if we wanted. (Technically 'Prussian' blue I believe)

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: Yes, but

        >And don't forget the BLUE passport cover.

        Blue passport covers are sooooo yesterday's brexit news.

        The latest demand is that the little crown be put back on pint glasses. Those little crowns are an important emblem of brexit and a defining feature of British Sovereignty™®

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Yes, but

          The latest demand is that the little crown be put back on pint glasses.

          Oh FFS.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Yes, but

            So I went and checked it.

            Like the colour of passports, there's no law which says that the crown symbol mustn't be on pint glasses.

            If a pub wants to use pint glass with a crown symbol on it, they can have one. A bloke from the EU said so. See "pint glass" entry on Wikipedia.

            So once again, it's more Brexit popularism based on ignorance.

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Yes, but

          @ Dr_N

          "The latest demand is that the little crown be put back on pint glasses."

          That is an odd thing I had never heard of. So I did a quick google search and I assume you mean the following?-

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-425868/EU-stealing-crown-great-British-pint.html

          If I understand this correctly it isnt so much about removing the crown which symbolises a pint. It is the law for laws sake of the EU trying to dictate what size glass a drink should be sold in. Even though this is a daily mail article it doesnt seem to argue against the CE mark as that already happens for making pint glasses in Czech. The complaint seems to be that the idle arses in the EU have nothing better to do than dictate measurements in a pub.

          I am not sure I trust the above article for its absolute correctness (it is the daily mail and I trust it barely as much as the guardian) so if this is the issue have you got a better source for exactly what is going on? Or is it a different issue and do you have a link? If it is just some daft moaning it could be amusing to read.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Yes, but

            the idle arses in the EU have nothing better to do than dictate measurements in a pub.

            No so much "nothing better" as "nothing more important that will succeed". The things that would define a true Union, like harmonized tax codes, standardized business status, pensions portable across countries, centralized budget control, etc. are all far too controversial and wouldn't be accepted by most countries. Instead they can only tweak the tiny stuff that makes good PR, like phone roaming and food container sizes. Another example of why the European "Union" is nothing of the sort, it's just a money pit created by politicians so they can show off on the world stage. "My constituency/country/empire is bigger than yours, so I'm more important than you". And we pay for it.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Yes, but

        And don't forget the BLUE passport cover

        I'm quite convinced that this change was only made so that the remainers would have something to keep them occupied, and out of the way of the serious discussions. They're as bad as the colour-obsessed xenophobes on the other end of the, umm, Brexit spectrum.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Yes, but

          Would it have been simpler to put "blue passports" as the promise on the side of a bus ?

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Yes, but

      @ Mr Dogshit

      "it will be worth it to regain our sovereignty."

      I agree

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        ""it will be worth it to regain our sovereignty.""

        The absolute right to do exactly as the American President de jour the British Parliament says.

        No longer under the lash of the accursed "Working Hours" directive, or all those odious H&S rules.

        The United Kingdom (definitely including NI) will be able to work all the hours $Deity sends without requiring to sign anything.

        Hail the glorious "freedom."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ""it will be worth it to regain our sovereignty.""

          The United Kingdom (definitely including NI) will be able to work all the hours $Deity sends without requiring to sign anything.

          That's still the case today, ask any junior doctor.

          At least no-one's trying to create a 28-hour week like the German unions are. That'll do wonders for the famed German productivity, no wonder they're pissed about the British work ethic.

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: ""it will be worth it to regain our sovereignty.""

          @ John Smith 19

          "The absolute right to do exactly as the American President de jour the British Parliament says."

          I do find it amazing that people so desperate to be on their knees to please the EU assume the alternative is to be down their pleasuring the US. And then of course its racism and xenophobia and a desire to hide away that motivates the leave voters.

          Seriously what have you got against the Americans? Or any other country in the world? What makes the EU population acceptable to you but not the population of the rest of the world?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ""it will be worth it to regain our sovereignty.""

            What makes the EU population acceptable to you but not the population of the rest of the world?

            Perhaps because we lost the only war we ever had with the Americans, but we've always beaten the Europeans. Much more acceptable to be pally with the losers than to accept control by the folks who whupped our collective arse back in 1780.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: ""it will be worth it to regain our sovereignty.""

              @AC

              "Perhaps because we lost the only war we ever had with the Americans, but we've always beaten the Europeans."

              So we should be under the EU because we have always been at war with Europe including last century in 2 of the worst wars (the war to end all wars... and the one after that) and although they have invaded us successfully plenty of times that is a reason to be under the EU?

              "Much more acceptable to be pally with the losers than to accept control by the folks who whupped our collective arse back in 1780."

              Conversely we should be afraid of the world especially the US who supported us in both world wars, we share a common language, a common culture and recently share our successful reaction to the global financial mess (unlike the previously mentioned EU). The US which has a similar view to us vs the EU we joined on the proviso of opt outs and stopping them from doing what they want with their project?

              Also if the reason for remaining in the EU is anti-american why would we want to remain when thats apparently what the US under Obama wanted?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: ""it will be worth it to regain our sovereignty.""

                So we should be under the EU because we have always been at war with Europe including last century in 2 of the worst wars (the war to end all wars...

                I was trying to make a joke, sorry if it didn't work.

                although they have invaded us successfully plenty of times that is a reason to be under the EU?

                The last successful, uninvited, invasion was in 1066.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: ""it will be worth it to regain our sovereignty.""

                  @AC

                  "I was trying to make a joke, sorry if it didn't work."

                  Sorry I didnt realise. Probably would if you used the joke icon. Unfortunately some of the legitimate arguments to remain sound as ridiculous as that it is becoming harder and harder to see which ones are jokes and which are serious mental gymnastics.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't we go back to the system of bartering? it worked for early civilisations and we wouldn't need any IT system at all. Lets face it if we're going backwards we might as well go the whole hog. I've even started stockpiling salt.

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      " Lets face it if we're going backwards we might as well go the whole hog. I've even started stockpiling salt."

      Good idea.

      Anyone know how much salt you need to cure a whole hog?

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Can't we go back to the system of bartering?

      OK - now, how many unborn children does it cost to get a new car?

  11. Paul Herber Silver badge

    IT sceptical of plan for MPs to save the day after UK quits customs union

    IT sceptical of plan for MPs to save the day after UK quits customs union

    Fixed.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: IT sceptical of plan for MPs to save the day after UK quits customs union

      In fact, "IT sceptical of MPs" covers more or less everything to do with government..

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: IT sceptical of plan for MPs to save the day after UK quits customs union

        And "IT sceptical" covers everything else.

  12. jonfr

    Slightly more than 1 year until Brexit

    As it stands UK is going to leave EU on 29th March 2019 on 11:00 pm (23:00) (UK time) or 30 March 00:00 (Brussels time).

    The transition period is just about 1 year. Mostly for budget reasons.

    At the time the Brexit happens all EU treaties and laws (that have not been put into UK law) becomes invalid in the UK and connected areas. This also means that roaming charges go to the sky and above and EU blue card for medical emergency looses it validity (there is a chance current issued cards stay good until 31 December 2020).

  13. localzuk

    2 years, if we get the transition period

    So, the government will have 2 years to implement some of the most complex government IT systems to date. Yeah. That's gonna happen. *Looks at the failed NHS IT systems*

  14. PeterM42
    Facepalm

    No problem

    Give the job to CRAPita and all will be well.

    Oh wait.............

  15. Champ

    Leaving EU != leaving Customs Union (or Single Market, for that matter)

    Why the fuck are the tories (amongst others) saying that leaving the EU must also mean leaving the Customs Union and Single Market? Despite the fact that, during the referendum campaign, multiple Leavers were at pains to suggest this wouldn't happen?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      It's all about simplifying The Message. What you're actually doing is irrelevant because the clueless will never check anyway and, even if they are told, will either refuse to believe or not care anyway.

      That is why we now live in a civilization where what someone says is more important than what someone does.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        That is why we now live in a civilization where what someone says is more important than what someone does.

        Wrong!

        - Because of (well, many things, most importantly distrust and not taking anyones word) lawyers, and such. Almost anything binding important requires you to sign something (which is doing, and sort of saying, but not your own words).

        - Used to be, giving your word meant something (not just for the landed gentry, the knights and such honourable men). Now, the authorities don't believe anything and believe the average citizen is capable of anything unless under contract.

    2. H in The Hague Silver badge

      Re: Leaving EU != leaving Customs Union (or Single Market, for that matter)

      "... multiple Leavers were at pains to suggest this wouldn't happen?"

      I always found that surprising, as being in the CU/SM without being an EU member would mean paying to the EU but not having a say in its affairs - so mostly the same costs & benefits but no control (a la Norway). That seemed at odds with the "take back control" and "stop sending money to Brussels" claims. Thus underlining my perception that Leave may have thought (but not too clearly) about what they didn't want, but they most certainly hadn't thought much about what they did want instead.

      "Why the fuck are the tories (amongst others) saying that leaving the EU must also mean leaving the Customs Union and Single Market?"

      Because May decided that being in the CU/SM without being in EU would bring about the problems mentioned above. Not an unreasonable conclusion, but perhaps not what folk voted for.

    3. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Leaving EU != leaving Customs Union (or Single Market, for that matter)

      @ Champ

      "Why the fuck are the tories (amongst others) saying that leaving the EU must also mean leaving the Customs Union and Single Market? Despite the fact that, during the referendum campaign, multiple Leavers were at pains to suggest this wouldn't happen?"

      Because the EU's opening in negotiations was a bunch of non-negotiables we either agree (aka remain) or we must leave the single market. Oddly this lack of negotiating ability seems to have been blamed on the UK when it is the EU dictating this. Furthered by the misunderstanding that the EU is 'entitled' to anything and in fact no agreement means we leave and owe the EU nothing, zip and nowt.

      What was concerning is the misunderstanding of the 'Irish problem'. The EU wants a hard border, the Irish (both sides) dont. The Britain doesnt really seem to care. Yet somehow leave is blamed for this stupidity. Yet the parallel between the EU demanding a wall and Trump demanding one (and the other side will pay for it too!) is so similar yet seem to provoke different reactions.

      The EU has no incapability of making a trade deal. They will happily bend and break their rules without a second thought if it suits them. The only reason for any difficulty is the EU being difficult which has been their approach from the start of brexit. And yet some people seem to blame leave and even think the EU is entitled to whatever they demand regardless.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Leaving EU != leaving Customs Union (or Single Market, for that matter)

        Because the EU's opening in negotiations was a bunch of non-negotiables we either agree (aka remain) or we must leave the single market.

        Strangely nothing much to do with also leaving ECJ - we were told that wasn't on the agenda either....

        What was concerning is the misunderstanding of the 'Irish problem'. The EU wants a hard border, the Irish (both sides) dont.

        Well, that's a touchy subject, for the Irish - no one wants a border, partly 'cause one side doesn't believe in partition and memories of the troubles and the hold up of passing through military enplacements complete with observations towers - a lot of these bisected local farmers routes to fields.

        Before the enplacements went up, there were a couple of portacabins on each side of the border, hardly an inconvenience of note, but the memory of the military style remains, and judging by the tax paranoia over cigs and french alcohol even when in the EU at English ports, I'd not be surprised of more heavy-handedness over a little contraband than ever was over politics...

        Of course leave is blamed - they've rocked the rather fragile status quo - The Good Friday agreement was hammered out by the moderate parties, it'd be few decades or wrangling for the current lot to come to something amicable.

        Could be interesting though - cross border nightlife thrived in the 50's & 60's as alcohol was cheap and licencing laws more liberal south of the border (still can see the ruins of dead pubs and nightlife joints at the border), and fuel prices were cheaper south during the 1990's (most tiny towns just inside the republic have more fuel places than seems reasonable).

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Leaving EU != leaving Customs Union (or Single Market, for that matter)

          @ Teiwaz

          "Strangely nothing much to do with also leaving ECJ - we were told that wasn't on the agenda either...."

          True. But since Cameron (the only one in position to do so) didnt negotiate what the alternative would be (because there was a set answer we were assumed to give, then threatened) there isnt much restraint over what brexit is. Blame the remainer PM.

          "Well, that's a touchy subject, for the Irish - no one wants a border"

          Except the EU. This is a biggie. The ones who want a border are the EU. Nobody wants a border except the EU. That is very defining. And as I have pointed out it is like Trumps wall. They want us to pay for their border that neither side want.

          "Of course leave is blamed - they've rocked the rather fragile status quo"

          That says a lot about the EU. Since the presidents have already made excuses for the EU breaking up because of brexit (instead of their stunning mismanagement) it would seem the EU is fragile. See above the EU wants a border neither side of Ireland want. And you claim we rocked the boat! And if you shoot yourself in the foot is that the fault of those telling you not to?

          "Could be interesting though - cross border nightlife thrived in the 50's & 60's as alcohol was cheap and licencing laws more liberal south of the border"

          To be honest I hoped our politicians would have the spine to tell the EU to put up their own border if they want it so badly. I would love to see no border as the Irish want as both north and south would gain huge benefits of being in and out of the EU. But the EU has to be protectionist or the cartel is worth nothing. Something they keep pointing out when they have to make us suffer and they must not give the UK a good deal. Of course we should take a hard brexit (if the EU refuses a trade deal) and if we continue on fine then others are bound to brave an exit too. Not because we are trying to make others leave or break up the EU, just because the EU doesnt have the support they seem to think they have.

    4. chr0m4t1c

      Re: Leaving EU != leaving Customs Union (or Single Market, for that matter)

      >Despite the fact that, during the referendum campaign, multiple Leavers were at pains to suggest this wouldn't happen?

      Because there was no concrete plan for Leave, so the Leave campaign was free to promise everything to everyone and hope to hoover up all of the voters from the hard exit end of the spectrum through to the people who thought that we should have an arrangement like (say) the Swiss.

      Clearly it's not possible to please *all* of those people, which is why we are in the place we are now - we had to choose between what we already had and a utopia made up almost entirely in everyone's heads (for the Leave voters).

      You can see the faulty reasoning all of the time, if your answer to the question "Has membership of the EU been good for the UK?" is "Yes" or "No", then you're not reasoning properly. You're literally comparing what actually happened to a scenario that only exists in your head, which is a ridiculous thing to do. We don't have access to an alternate reality where the UK didn't join the EU for comparison purposes.

      Personally - and I know this isn't a popular idea - I'd like to see a second vote when we know what the deal is, at least that way we're choosing between two defined paths.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019