back to article MPs: Lack of technical skills for Brexit could create 'damaging, unmanageable muddle'

Whitehall has not done enough to prepare for the "byzantinely complicated task" of Brexit, including putting the right technical skills and resources in place, a report by Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has warned. In findings that will surprise few, it said the UK government's Department for Exiting the European …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    add to that the fact that most people working on the project

    will have absolutely no enthusiasm for it anyway. Doesn't augur well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: add to that the fact that most people working on the project

      will have absolutely no enthusiasm for it anyway

      May I remind you that if you are not enthusiastic and supporting you are fired.

      Ditto if you are a smelly foreigner polluting the ideological purity of the Brexit thinking.

      Reference: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/07/lse-brexit-non-uk-experts-foreign-academics

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: add to that the fact that most people working on the project

        Wow, that Guardian article is shocking.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re:May I remind you that if you are not enthusiastic and supporting you are fired.

        Exactly !

        Who'd want a gig like that ? Especially when there are plenty of opportunities arising from Brexit "on the other side" [of the channel].

        Well, for people with dual citizenship.

      3. Aitor 1 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: add to that the fact that most people working on the project

        "May I remind you that if you are not enthusiastic and supporting you are fired."

        Are you reminding Theresa May or expressing what would happen? I am confused.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Sorry Mr Davis. No "Impact assessment" done .NE. no impact.*

      And the only one I'm aware of (the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board's" concluded that even under worse case "Hard Brexit" conditions 25% of British Agri/Horticulture could survive.

      Of course that means the other 75% of the industry is f**ked (including the Welsh hill sheep farmers and lowland cattle farmers). Interestingly the "Barley Barons" kind of go down the toilet without state aid as well, so it's not all bad news. On the upside it's never been a better time to get into pig farming.

      Requesting no impact assessments (and hence no idea of the scope of the work involved, the Brexit impact broken down by sectors to help prioritize tasks for maximum impact in the shortest time with the limited resources available) may be one of the most fu**witted decisions in British history.

      *I debated should I go with ".NE.", "¬=" or "<>" but I reckon Davis is a FOTRAN era guy. None of this Ivory Tower Pascal or new fangled "C" stuff.

      1. Mongrel

        Re: Sorry Mr Davis. No "Impact assessment" done .NE. no impact.*

        "On the upside it's never been a better time to get into pig farming."

        Assuming there's room at the trough

  2. Mr Dogshit Silver badge

    But it will be worth it

    Once we overthrow the shackles of Brussels bureaucracy, the NHS will get an extra £350 million a week don't forget. And we'll be getting blue passports.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But it will be worth it

      and white shirts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But it will be worth it

        Are you sure those will be white shirts or did you mean brown shirts?

        1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

          Re: But it will be worth it

          More like brown trousers

        2. Tim99 Silver badge

          Re: But it will be worth it

          We're British, so Black Shorts (Saviours of Britain) surely.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But it will be worth it

        and white shirts.

        And black armbands.

    2. James 51 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: But it will be worth it

      BoJo's latest estimate was over £400,000,000:

      unitedjournalism.co.uk/2018/01/31/boris-johnson-no-extra-brexit-cash-for-nhs-until-britain-leaves-8/

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: But it will be worth it

        BoJo's latest estimate was over £400,000,000

        If you read the Eu conditions for transition as leaked, the likely result is WTO from March 2019. While I am on the Remain side, I find it difficult not to notice that they are clearly designed to be unacceptable.

        https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/06/brexit-eu-power-punish-uk-transition-period-sanctions

        They will not be accepted regardless of who is at the helm in the UK. There will be no "transition period" ladies and gentlemen.

        That leaves UK to WTO cliff scenario which the LSE (and several other economics shops) estimate to be at least -8% GDP (*). It is a reasonable assumption that 8% drop in GDP is at least 8% drop in tax receipts. That is 1.1 Bn per week less in terms of budgetary expenditure. So BJ should give the total difference after subtracting UK contributions to Eu of -800M to the NHS. That is a grand idea. It will bring the total NHS weekly budget to 1.2Bn (from 2Bn).

        So looking at these numbers I am off to punch in some passport data into the BA website. Got a meeting with a realtor on the other side of the channel on Monday afternoon to pay the deposit for an apartment(**).

        (*)I could not care less what the political arse licking stink tanks come up with as numbers, let's stick to what major economics shops/universities calculate on this one - they more or less agree on 8% or worse for a WTO cliff-drop

        (**)I wish this was in jest. It isn't.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Gimp

          Re: But it will be worth it

          Basically stopping single market access is a stick to be welded if the UK doesn't respect EU citizens' rights. With any rational government at the helm it shouldn't have to be used. So it could very well get used.

          And I don't think the fundamentalist wing of the Brexiteers mind too much, they want out of everything ASAP anyway. They just need to engineer something to get punished.

          That's the UK, not Tory MPs, some of whom may engineer something to get punished every evening. Allegedly. (See icon.)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But it will be worth it

            @Dan 55

            1. It was May's government which a few days ago said doesn't want to be in the customs union.

            2. Britain can choose to stay in EU.

            3. Britain can choose to stay in the single market.

            4. Do you think EU want to encourage another country to leave?

            Remind me about the proverbial BoJo 'cake and eating it'.

            1. Jimmy2Cows

              Re: But it will be worth it

              4. Do you think EU want to encourage another country to leave?

              Which is exactly why securing a "good" deal will be impossible. Not because it couldn't be done if both sides wanted it, but one side firmly doesn't want a good deal and the other side seems unable to decide what a good deal even looks like.

              Whatever side of the fence one sits on, the target deal should be balanced and fair to both sides.

              The final deal will be intentionally UK-damaging and as EU-sided as possible, so no other country even dares consider leaving. It will be punishing by design, because it has to be.

              1. Lars Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: But it will be worth it

                "4. Do you think EU want to encourage another country to leave?"

                It has been clear from the very first day that you cannot have the same advantage outside the EU as inside. That's hardly hard to understand and it's all there is to understand.

                The difference Britain has to make up as the new darling of global free trade, the Global Britain.

                1. veti Silver badge

                  Re: But it will be worth it

                  I would remind the house of how EU negotiations always go.

                  Going in, there's talk of agendas and constituencies and red lines, and it all looks kinda planned. Then things get bogged down, there's talk of breakdowns and everyone walking away empty handed, and all-night sessions as deadlines loom.

                  Then, at the last minute, there's a triumphant rabbit out of the hat that amounts to either extending the deadline, or face saving fudges all round. But, and this is important, there is no hint of this fudge before the last minute. Everyone talks as if there is total irreconcilable deadlock, right up to the moment there isn't.

                  The pattern is invariable. It's by design - it's the process that allows governments, all of them, to sell unpalatable fudges to their electors.

                  I don't see why we should expect Brexit to be different.

                  1. strum Silver badge

                    Re: But it will be worth it

                    >I don't see why we should expect Brexit to be different.

                    Because EU members no longer have to wake up having to be civil to the Brits, as they have always arranged before. This time, when we whine about the deal, they can tell us to fuck off.

                    1. veti Silver badge

                      Re: But it will be worth it

                      This time, when we whine about the deal, they can tell us to fuck off.

                      Yeah, but they won't, because - despite the current rhetoric - a hard Brexit would probably destroy the EU.

                      The individual countries, and the continental economy, wouldn't be too badly affected, true. But the EU as an institution would take a blow that would make the Greek/Spanish/Italian budget fiascos look like very small beer indeed. And others would definitely start to take "leaving" more seriously as an option.

                      Everyone seems to think that populism is dead, that Macron has restored sanity and stability. But the French populists haven't gone anywhere, and for the next four years they get to blame everything - including Brexit - firmly on Macron, who is the elitist's elitist. Le Pen will be back, and she'll be stronger. And Orban, and Duda, have no love for the EU - if it stops paying them (and without Britain's money, it likely will), they will turn on it. Geert Wilders is still there, so is Milos Zeman. Meanwhile Merkel is a shadow of her former self, Macron is still in the woolly idealistic phase, Italy shows no sign of giving a shit, Spain is still smarting from the fiscal spanking inflicted on them by the Germans. For the first time in a generation, there is no clear leader in Europe.

                      Sure, things look pretty bad to us. But in the alternative world where the referendum went the other way, I feel pretty confident that beds of roses and sunny optimism are also in very short supply indeed.

                    2. Lars Silver badge
                      Happy

                      Re: But it will be worth it

                      @strum

                      "This time, when we whine about the deal, they can tell us to fuck off."

                      No, I haven't seen much anything of that reaction, I don't think we, the 27, have fallen that deep, perhaps there is an itch, but the hot air and the confusion is still coming out of some Brits and out of too many in the UK government, not from the EU.

                      Quite fascinating actually if it wasn't about reality. And with three children I suppose I have some protecting shield when dealing with childishness.

                      For the IT-angle, oh well, what we have now, that we did not have in the same easy way before, is how the internet, with YouTube etc, actually has given us an time machine.

                      It's fascinating to listen to people talking about their vision about the future years ago, now that you actually know what happened.

                      Have a listen to Theresa May's Lancaster House speech 17Jan 2017.

                      Like a young enthusiastic kid going to war totally uninformed and unprepared to face the harsh reality of life and facts ahead.

                      There is a toll to that.

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GauFVjx5XXo

                2. LucreLout Silver badge

                  Re: But it will be worth it

                  It has been clear from the very first day that you cannot have the same advantage outside the EU as inside. That's hardly hard to understand and it's all there is to understand.

                  The main problem that causes for rEU is that they'll already have lost 1/3rd of their net contributions to the budget and will have committed something like 15-20% of what remains to pay the net WTO trade tariffs their trade surplus with us generates.

                  The more Europe tries to harm us, the deeper they'll have to dig into their own pockets (only Germany runs a large enough surplus) or the harder they'll have to cut back on the free money heading east. Neither will be very popular with countries already grappling with their own freedom movements.

                  While they grapple with that, they need to reach the Trump target of 2% of defence spending, which in Denmark is the cost equivalent of abolishing free university education and free childcare. It's not going to be an easy sell, but if we announce that we won't defend anyone not meeting their NATO agreement, they either go begging to Trump or they run the risk that Putin annexes more states.

                  That is not to say the UK won't also take an economic hit, but we'll be able to recover far quicker than rEU due to signing new FTAs with the ROTW. We simply need to make clear to the rEU that they're at the front of the queue for an FTA this year, thereafter, the back.

                  No reasonable FTA, and we drop corporate tax rates to pull in the global corporations from elsewhere in the rEU, which will further dent their domestic budgets while bolstering our own. Either the UK and rEU take a little pain and have a civilised fair agreement, or we hurt the hell out of eachother instead - remainers seem to think only the rEU can inflict pain, and that is simply not the case.

              2. nsld

                Re: But it will be worth it

                @jimmy2cows

                The primary blocker to a good deal is the red lines that May has decided on.

                The trickle down slide the EU did showing what was possible based on each one was very informative.

                The fact most quitlings don't know the difference between the court of human rights and the ECJ tells you all you need to know on the basis of those red lines.

                A good deal takes movement on both sides, May has set those red lines and defined the scope of the deal she can expect

              3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

                Re: But it will be worth it

                Whatever side of the fence one sits on, the target deal should be balanced and fair to both sides.

                It cannot be. The UK economy is addicted to financial services the way Russian and Saudi economy is addicted to oil. Do we like it or not, it is a matter of sovereignty. Eu will NOT allow a non-Eu country to run the core Eu financial services. This is not negotiable, not subject to change and not subject to any rabbits out of a hat.

                From there on, any deal to the UK is guaranteed to be very damaging. The amount of collateral damage from trade, tariffs, free movement, manufacturing, etc may vary, but they do not constitute the core damage from "drug withdrawal" for the UK economy.

                The reality of Brexit will be "cold turkey". Same as for Russia or Saudi to be stopped from selling oil overnight. Go and ask anyone who have gone off anything (from cigs to meds to hard drugs) on what cold turkey looks like.

                1. LucreLout Silver badge

                  Re: But it will be worth it

                  Eu will NOT allow a non-Eu country to run the core Eu financial services. This is not negotiable, not subject to change and not subject to any rabbits out of a hat.

                  But we will continue to provide the capital and run the services either way. Passporting ending is going to massively increase the cost of borrowing for rEU states, states which can ill afford to further sink into deficit.

                  The City isn't leaving London. It just isn't. A few desks may move and some Euro trading will move, but all the FX needed in order to borrow from China/USA/Elsewhere in EUR will still be routed through London, because it will have to be.

                  If the EU aren't our partners anymore then they are our competition. And we will compete. That has rarely ended well for Europe.

                  1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                    Re: But it will be worth it

                    "And we will compete. That has rarely ended well for Europe."

                    The utter delusion just goes on and on. Completely blind, are we?

                    1. LucreLout Silver badge

                      Re: But it will be worth it

                      The utter delusion just goes on and on. Completely blind, are we?

                      Do you live your whole life in this sort of unwarranted paranoid terror? I genuinely pity you.

            2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Coat

              "Remind me about the proverbial BoJo 'cake and eating it'."

              So that's how he became the fat f**k he is today?

          2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: But it will be worth it

            That's the UK, not Tory MPs, some of whom may engineer something to get punished every evening. Allegedly.

            Come on, check the mash next time before posting. It has gotten there AHEAD of you: http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/politics/politics-headlines/rees-mogg-alarmed-and-aroused-by-eu-punishment-20180207143912

            With any rational government at the helm it shouldn't have to be used. So it could very well get used.

            Not quite. This is slightly different. Great Britain (and England before it) as far as the rest of Europe is concerned is well known for not holding their end of the bargain in treaties all the way back to the Plantagenets. The current lot in charge - doubly so. They cannot spend more than a week not trying to wobble off what has been agreed so far.

            What we see is a natural product of the Eu being absolutely confident that without a massive stick May (or whoever comes after her) will not hold her end of the bargain. That's all that there is about it.

            They have reasons to do that because she failed to keep it even for a month. She is already trying to roll back what was agreed in December.

            The problem is that the stick the Eu has prepared in this case is so massive that there will most likely be no bargain and no agreement to start off with.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: But it will be worth it

          If you read the Eu conditions for transition as leaked, the likely result is WTO from March 2019

          Meanwhile the Decemeber "agreement" effectively sets up the final divorce as the status quo. Otherwise it's border controls in Ireland followed by a resumption of IRA bombing campaigns.

          It's the BRINO that dare not speak its name.

          Wonder how long before the 1922 receives enough letters for a leadership challenge and whether whoever wins it will have sufficient authority within the parliamentary party to govern. The member for the 18th Century is likely to favourite in the shires but would almost certainly lose a vote of confidence.

          It would be funny if it wasn't for people's livelihoods being put on the line.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: But it will be worth it

            Wonder how long before the 1922 receives enough letters for a leadership challenge and whether whoever wins it will have sufficient authority within the parliamentary party to govern. The member for the 18th Century is likely to favourite in the shires but would almost certainly lose a vote of confidence.

            It will be the day after the upcoming local elections, ironically in May, when the Tories are projected to take a sound beating.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: But it will be worth it

              It will be the day after the upcoming local elections, ironically in May, when the Tories are projected to take a sound beating.

              Why they? The MPs don't need to worry about the local elections.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: But it will be worth it

                "The MPs don't need to worry about the local elections."

                Although not necessarily reliable they're pointers to what the electorate is thinking. MPs must already be looking a few years a head, even without the prospect of the DUP throwing a wobbly and there being another general election shortly afterwards. They'll be worrying.

            2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

              "when the Tories are projected to take a sound beating."

              Impossible.

              Surely everyone loves them.

              After all have they not been "Taking Back Control" (C Linton Kwesi Crosby 2017)?

              I'm sure that the council elections will be a landslide win for the Conservatives, just as Nick Timothy predicted a devastating defeat of the Labour party in the last General Election. *

              *Forward looking statement. Majorities may go down as well as up. Majorities may disappear entirely. The DUP is not in a coalition with the Conservatives. There is no "Magic bribe money" tree. T&C apply.

          2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "Wonder how long before the 1922 receives enough letters for a leadership challenge"

            IIRC it's at 44 and it needs 48 before the political MMA cage fight that is a Conservative Leadership challenge begins.

            Not to mention the reports of a Rees-Mogg/johnson/Gove "Dream Team."

            My first thought was "But don't you need Death for a full four horse posse?"

          3. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: But it will be worth it

            Otherwise it's border controls in Ireland followed by a resumption of IRA bombing campaigns.

            No it isn't. The border in Ireland we'd leave open and let the rEU force Ireland to build one, which they would have to do.

            The IRA are finished at this point. America can't and won't fund them - seriously, nobody there now thinks it was a good idea to pay the IRA to bomb their best (and at this point damn near only) friends. There would be no softly softly approach from the security services now, and anyone playing shennanigans would find themselves on the receiving end of a drone strike or a ticket to Cuba.

            At this point I'm about as worried about the IRA as I am about Musks Tesla getting lost and landing on my roof.

            A hard border may be difficult for Ireland, but they always have the Irexit option to consider. Irexit is really the only option left on the table that would avoid a hard land border. Its politically impossible for the UK to agree to a united Republic of Ireland, so if we're out of the rEU and they're in it, well, hard border it shall be. It may not be popular, but there are no better solutions on the table.

            That, and the rEU could, you know, stop being so childish and sign up to a meaningful FTA that reduced the inconvenience at said border.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: But it will be worth it

      the NHS will get an extra £350 million a week don't forget.

      Don't they have to share some of that with the farmers and the universities? Anyway where are all the doctors and nurses (and fruit pickers, labourers, bus drivers, research students, etc.) going to come from we've just told to fuck off?

      Or has Treesare got a a cunning plan?

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: But it will be worth it

      "And we'll be getting blue passports."

      We'll need them to escape.

    5. trog-oz
      Windows

      Re: But it will be worth it

      "And we'll be getting blue passports.

      But I don't want one of those newfangled blue passports. If I can't have a proper black cardboard one, then what is the point of Brexit? Of course, the black passport will be inscribed

      Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State

      Requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty

      all those whom it may concern to allow

      the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance,

      and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection

      as may be necessary.

  3. James 51 Silver badge
    Joke

    So, the usual UK gov IT cockup with no leadership no direction, no money and a collapsed timeline. Think we’re going to need the Queen to ask God to save us from this self inflected nightmare.

    1. Mycho Silver badge

      Indeed, business as usual.

      No joke alert necessary. -->

    2. Dr Scrum Master
      Unhappy

      The UK only entered the Common Market less than 50 years ago. We only entered the Single Market in 1993. That should hardly be a long time ago for the civil service. It's not as if we have to re-invent everything from scratch! (Though having said that I do remember there being some fuss over innovative headgear for Sikh police officers - as if the British had no history whatsoever of Sikh police at any point.)

      On a related note, the current negotiations appear to be a complete shambles, shuffling from one weak position to the next. If you want to negotiate you negotiate from a position of strength, and the only position of strength for the UK would be a firm understanding of what a hard brexit would mean - a study of which the civil service singularly appears to have failed to undertake. To paraphrase: prepare for the worst. By planning for a hard brexit the UK would already be on the way to finding innovative solutions instead of continually being mentally wedded to the Single Market, which will only lead to a poor deal for the UK.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Britain was fundamental in the development of the Single Market, so the current flailing around in government showing the complete misunderstanding of what it is is rather disappointing.

        There is also no amount of trade on Earth with other countries that can replace being shut out of Single Market, that's perhaps why Whitehall is mentally welded to it.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          There is also no amount of trade on Earth with other countries that can replace being shut out of Single Market

          Utter nonsense. Utter nonsense for which I shall ask for a citation, knowing already that you don't have one.

          Here's mine:

          http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/eu-position-in-world-trade/index_en.htm

          Their own graph shows you clearly why you've erred in making up such a rediculous premise, and their graph includes our part of that trade, which is substantial. Remove us from it and literally any two of the nations on there have the same trade weight globally as the rEU.

      2. James 51 Silver badge

        @Scrum Seems like the Civil Service is taking its cue from its political masters.

      3. Warm Braw Silver badge

        innovative solutions

        In the wonderful world of Brexit, that just seems to be a shorthand for mad fantasy.

        The time to innovate was before the referendum was even conceived - we should be putting the final touches to the implementation by this stage.

        1. Dr Scrum Master

          The time to innovate was before the referendum was even conceived - we should be putting the final touches to the implementation by this stage.

          The time to innovate is always now.

          David Cameron asked for a referendum, and sufficient members of the House of Commons agreed to the bill. It would have been good for the undertaking of some serious studies to have been mentioned in the bill... not just some measly position papers. Still, there were only 650 people supposed to scrutinise legislation along with their armies of SPADs and assorted assistants....

          Instead, we had a battle between Project Fear and Project Freedom followed by several months in which one could have undertaken some serious preparation but that opportunity was tossed away.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            "Instead, we had a battle between Project Fear and Project Freedom followed by several months in which one could have undertaken some serious preparation but that opportunity was tossed away."

            That's Latin spouting toff efficiency for you. Total morons.

      4. katrinab Silver badge
        WTF?

        "We only entered the Single Market in 1993. That should hardly be a long time ago for the civil service. It's not as if we have to re-invent everything from scratch!"

        Yes, lets bring back a system that was scrapped 25 years ago. No reason why that wouldn't work.

        In case you can't remember what systems that were scrapped 25 years ago were like: They ran on paper. You would have customs officers sitting in little boxes at the port. They would be equipped with a duplicate receipt book and a cash box. At the end of the shift, these books would be transported by post to the Customs office in Greenock where people would copy the receipt duplicates by hand on to ledger cards which were stored in filing cabinets.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
          Trollface

          Yeah, but that could still work by candlelight.

          Something you might want to prepare for on your side of the Channel, if all those dire warnings carry any weight.

        2. Dr Scrum Master

          In case you can't remember what systems that were scrapped 25 years ago were like: They ran on paper.

          Yes, they ran. They worked. Maybe not a brilliant system, but it worked.

          What preparations have been made so far?

          1. strum Silver badge

            >Yes, they ran. They worked.

            They ran - like treacle. And they worked when the wind was in the right direction - and this was when the volume of passengers/goods was a fraction of what it is now.

            Not only will we have customs barriers for a car - we'll have customs barriers for the 3,000 bits it now takes to build a car - and that's before we start to account for actual tariffs.

      5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Coat

        "what a hard brexit would mean - a study..the civil service..failed to undertake. "

        Perhaps because that nice Mr Davis didn't ask them to?

        Y'know, the old Churchillian line about "We are not interested in the prospects for defeat,"* or an impact assessment of any kind.

        *Sounds very rousing, but is IRL total bo**ocks.

        1. Dr Scrum Master

          Re: "what a hard brexit would mean - a study..the civil service..failed to undertake. "

          "what a hard brexit would mean - a study..the civil service..failed to undertake. "

          Perhaps because that nice Mr Davis didn't ask them to?

          Perhaps he should have.

          Perhaps the senior civil servants should have also suggested it.

          With the way this has been handled nobody is going to come up smelling of roses.

          1. John 98

            Re: "what a hard brexit would mean - a study..the civil service..failed to undertake. "

            Every senior civil servant has done his own Brexit assessment - it's a bad idea and implementing a damage limitation scheme will take a decade. All attempts to get the Brexiteers to face the facts have failed. Sir Humphry is feeling a bit demoralised because nobody has a clue how to avert a disaster

        2. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: "what a hard brexit would mean - a study..the civil service..failed to undertake. "

          Mr Davis appears to have expressly prohibited the civil service from doing any impact assessments.

          Of course, it seems that they did then anyway and they recently leaked to the press.

          Short version is that the North East is utterly ****ed, while the South East is slightly ****ed.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Icon missing

      Can we have a "Yes Minister" icon? The likeness of Sir Humphrey Appleby will do nicely.

      1. Ken 16 Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Malcolm Tucker?

        I think 'The thick of it' has more appropriate vocabulary

      2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Re: Icon missing

        > "The likeness of Sir Humphrey Appleby will do nicely."

        Or at least a Eurosausage...

    4. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Think we’re going to need the Queen to ask God to save us from this self inflected nightmare.

      I wish I could think of a good grammar joke based on James' self-inflected typo, but this Brexit business is so depressingly dismal both in theory and in practice that my brain is refusing to cooperate.

    5. Smooth Newt Silver badge
      Meh

      Self inflected nightmare

      Think we’re going to need the Queen to ask God to save us from this self inflected nightmare.

      It's not self-inflicted. I didn't inflict it on myself, neither did millions of other people. Blame Johnson. Gove, Rees-Mogg and the rest for their lies, and a broken political system.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Self inflected nightmare

        @ Smooth Newt

        I agree, but what was there to expect. And I agree with Nick Clegg in this interview with James O'Brien about those characters and much more.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjPeS8hXoxU

      2. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Self inflected nightmare

        Blame ..... and a broken political system.

        Why is it broken? Is it because the referendum didn't go your way, depsite the government making up lie after lie about the economic problems that would befall us on day one if we voted to leave? Problems which, much like the punishment budget, simply never came to pass.

        I was on the fence until about 3 days before the referendum, eventually voting leave, but lets not pretend that one side of the debate was playing straight and the other lying through their teeth. To do so is transparently stupid and wrong headed at best.

        Leave lied to us. Remain lied to us. Nobody really knew what was going to happen, but economically at least, my semi-educated guesses enjoyed greater accuracy than either sides experts. Nobody really knows what happens to the rEU after we leave, or us after we leave it. The future has always been a little like that.......

    6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      "Think we’re going to need the Queen to ask God to save us"

      Gods journal February 7th 2018..

      And I'll say "No."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't we just outsource it? We seem to do that for everything else with great success...

    1. smudge Silver badge

      Yup. Just import a whole bunch of cheap people from India and.... You what? Ohhh...

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Yeah , because once we've removed uncontrolled unlimited free movement of workers , no one will be able to enter or exit the country again. and nobody will go abroad on holiday . and nobody will be able to but a BMW. we will only eat tripe and it will be hideously expensive.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You're saying nobody will buy a BMW like this is a bad thing?

          1. Rob Daglish

            It is. Without BMWs and Audis, how will we know which twits to look out for on the roads?

            1. smudge Silver badge

              I have found it very difficult since they disguised the Nissan Micra.

            2. earl grey Silver badge
              Facepalm

              "Without BMWs and Audis, how will we know which twits to look out for on the roads?"

              Looks around for the douchebag driving a Lexus...

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            You're saying nobody will buy a BMW like this is a bad thing?

            It will make it much harder to determine which cars are likely to suddenly change lane without indicating for starters.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It is only uncontrolled because the government has chosen for it to be. EU rules allow control, we just don't follow them.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            "EU rules allow control, we just don't follow them."

            Well that's crucial titbit of info that would have made it a landslide for the remainers - had anyone mentioned it.

            1. phuzz Silver badge

              "Well that's crucial titbit of info that would have made it a landslide for the remainers - had anyone mentioned it."

              They did, of course, but apparently everyone thought "well if the leave side are clearly lying about everything, then the remain side must be too".

              Mind you, Blair also said it, and I can understand why nobody wanted to listen to him.

              Plus it was confused by the fact that we do/did have to go along with EU rules* about EU nationals, but outside-EU immigration has always been up to the UK government.

              * Rules which we could, and did, help set as a member of the EU.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "we just don't follow them"

            We can't. We don't have the IT in place.

      2. John 98

        Na - India's OK (bringing in talented people from around the world). But you can't recruit any Poles or Germans (taking back control). Do try and pay attention

    2. DaveTheForensicAnalyst
      Joke

      Sounds like a job for super Crapita!

  5. Laura Kerr
    Alert

    De Management sez

    Oh honestly, the negativity here is ridiculous. It's amazing anything gets done. Not to worry though, our world-class consultants, Churnham and Fleece, have assured us we will hit the deadline. We had an all-day workshop with them the other day at the Dorchester. Jolly good lunch, too. You'd have enjoyed it but space was a little limited, I'm afraid. Perhaps next time.

    Look, here's their project plan thingummybob. If you could put your phone down at the back please, and pay attention, you'll see that it's perfectly clear. We have to make sure we recruit the best resource. We've had to tweak it a little to include our response to the PAC report, but the timeline's robust, realistic and achievable.

    The DExEU project board meets next week to review the report. They'll produce an action plan and task the project management pool to produce resource profiles for the next phase, which will be signed off by the steering group first week in March. No, the working steering group, not the Ministerial one. That meets in April and provided they sign off, we can start recruiting in May, once the budget's been approved. Yes, yes, I know it takes three months to put people in place, but we should be up and running by the end of August. Oh, all right, the second week in September. But it's all plain sailing from then on, look.

    Establish project management office, one month. Requirements gathering, ten days. Design completed, two weeks. Review cycle four weeks, design sign-off third week in December, but we've allowed for it slipping to January, because of Christmas. Development will be three Agile sprints of two weeks each, plus a week of testing. That takes us to the first week in March. We deploy in the middle of March and go live a week before Brexit day.

    So I hope that's clear. We've covered all angles, planned in detail and there's plenty of time to deliver. So let's hear no more of this carping, and instead get our shoulders to the wheel and make sure we're all singing off the same hymn sheet. Now get back on your heads.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: De Management sez

      If Spitting Image was still up and running, you'd be writing for them.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: De Management sez

        El Reg, can we have a *doffs cap* icon, please? Sometimes a beer or a smiley face just doesn't indicate sufficient respect.

    2. Ken 16 Silver badge

      DEusXmachinEU more like

      Still better to have the Brexiteers inside the tent pissing in than to leave them outside pissing in.

    3. thegroucho
      Pint

      Re: De Management sez

      @Laura Kerr

      Amen to that, and cheers to you!

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: De Management sez....Churnham and Fleece,

      Worth an upvote for that little gem alone.

  6. Christoph Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "MPs have also warned of the "catastrophic" scenario of the taxmen failing to have a backup system in place if its Customs Declaration Service programme is not ready in time for Brexit."

    One tiny little problem here. To develop the backup system you first have to design the backup system. To design the backup system you first need to know the requirements for the backup system. To know the requirements for the backup system you first have to substantially complete the negotiations to define our future trading relationship with the EU.

    They've hardly even started! The government has spent so long holding a vanity election, demanding concessions that they know are impossible, and bragging about blue passports, that we're very rapidly running out of time to get those negotiations sorted. Do they think they can finish doing that the week before B-Day and then flick a switch to put the new programs in place?

    1. smudge Silver badge

      Hence the need for a transition period. A l-o-n-g transition period.

      Alternatively, when Rees-Mogg takes over, we'll walk away immediately and employ an army of clerks with quill pens. Hard Brexit and full employment :)

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Bring back the Corn Laws

        Hard Brexit and full employment

        What makes you think they'll be employed for the job? Once we turn the clock back far enough they'll do whatever we damn well tell them. Or have them shot. It'll be Peterloo all over again.

      2. Ian Bush

        When Rees-Mogg takes over the tax system will be greatly simplified - we'll all have to pay scutage along with the forelock-tug, and be glad of it.

    2. monty75 Silver badge

      "Do they think they can finish doing that the week before B-Day and then flick a switch to put the new programs in place?"

      Yes. Apparently they do.

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Do they think they can finish doing that the week before B-Day and then flick a switch to put the new programs in place?

      Most certainly they do. The new supersafe backdoored encryption system will go global that week too.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Do they think they can finish doing that the week before B-Day and then flick a switch to put the new programs in place?"

      Yes.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clueless on everything

    I led the strategic assessment of Brexit for my employers (a large European based company with a multi-billion business in the UK), and the one message that we wanted to get across to the UK government was "You are at risk of blundering out of the EU with no agreement, have a Plan B". Quite simply, the UK need to get the non-EU trade agreements in place, bilaterally, ASAP, put that ahead of the EU agreements, because that puts the onus on the EU - as it should be, given the trade deficit we have with them.

    There's existing example bilateral frameworks ready to cut and paste, it doesn't take the decades that WTO take to achieve little or nothing, it doesn't involve the endless farting around that the EU have before they do anything, nor the bile-laden . And there's plenty of countries willing to sign bilateral trade agreements, particularly but not limited to the Commonwealth countries.

    But, instead, the sad old gits of the government have merely squabbled amongst themselves, had an election that wasted six months (and confirmed nothing other than that the prime minister is a clueless, cloth-eared old bat), a cabinet reshuffle that merely played musical chairs amongst some of the least talented, least likeable "leaders" this nation has ever seen. The opposition likewise have been notable for their complete lack of constructive engagement or ideas, preferring to have their own turf war as Marxists exert more power of the husk of the Labour party.

    With defence a mismanaged basket case, the energy sector in a really bad place, huge misallocation of investment to rubbish like HS2, Brexit being shat up as we speak, what are the government's priorities?

    Apparently to rid the country of plastic packaging, eliminate gas boilers, introduce electric cars for all, and a quite tedious chip on the shoulder enthusiasm for all aspects of "equality". I can only conclude that the country is actually being governed by the BBC.

    1. James Anderson

      Re: Clueless on everything

      Theresa Maybe actually achieved quite a lot. It gave credibility to a charming Marxist who will confidently lead us to a booming economy with social justice for all that will be the envy of Venezuela,

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: charming Marxist

        Ah, you must mean Jeremy Corbyn then, the friend of Hamas and scourge of Islington.

        'Momentum' membership will be mandatory for everyone with a party membership card.

    2. smudge Silver badge

      Re: Clueless on everything

      With defence a mismanaged basket case, the energy sector in a really bad place, huge misallocation of investment to rubbish like HS2, Brexit being shat up as we speak, what are the government's priorities?

      Same as always. Staying in power.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Clueless on everything

        "Same as always. Staying in power."

        And, same as always, failing.

    3. codejunky Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Clueless on everything

      @AC

      Damn good comment.

    4. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: Clueless on everything

      Did you suggest a plan B to the Government? Are you able to say without giving away who you are, etc?

    5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Clueless on everything

      And there's plenty of countries willing to sign bilateral trade agreements,

      If you include service in the deal then there isn't: countries like India are far more interested in access to the single market than they are in the UK one. Japan and Canada have just done deals with the EU, Korea has one underway, Trump's only interested in the 52nd state or a massive gold resort…

    6. The Specialist

      Re: Clueless on everything

      My understanding is, while one is still a member of the club, one is not allowed to enter into negotiations.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Clueless on everything

        @ The Specialist

        "My understanding is, while one is still a member of the club, one is not allowed to enter into negotiations."

        Cant sign any but can negotiate. Something that upset the EU as our leave vote signalled to the world we were willing to trade and a few countries approached us as we approached others. Once we sign to leave we can sign whatever agreements we want.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Clueless on everything

          Cant sign any but can negotiate.

          Nope, can't even negotiate. Can ask if anyone's interested. Meanwhile the beer's gone flat and the nibbles are stale.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Clueless on everything

            @ Charlie Clark

            "Nope, can't even negotiate. Can ask if anyone's interested. Meanwhile the beer's gone flat and the nibbles are stale."

            Yep can negotiate, they just cant come into force until we leave the EU. There is no support within the EU treaties or law to stop a member from negotiating deals which begin after leaving the EU. Which is why this myth didnt live for too long and I am shocked you suggest it.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Clueless on everything

              There is no support within the EU treaties or law to stop a member from negotiating deals which begin after leaving the EU

              haha, more wishful thinking:

              The obligation for member countries not to conclude individual trade agreements with non-member countries has been embedded in the EU treaties since the original Treaty of Rome, which conferred “exclusive competence” on the European Commission to negotiate external trade agreements.

              Mind you, considering how well negotiations with the EU are going at the moment I'm sure there's nothing to worry about.

              1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                Re: Clueless on everything

                "conclude"

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: Clueless on everything

                  @ Loyal Commenter

                  "conclude"

                  The worst part is he is probably going to keep his belief that he is right but also repeat it. I do get some crap for regularly posting on these topics but nearly all of it is repeatedly correcting these repeated untruths.

                  And since correcting these mistakes earn me a good few down votes I can only assume the myths are believed and correcting their comments is necessary

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Clueless on everything

              "Yep can negotiate, they just cant come into force until we leave the EU."

              You're probably right on this one. Negotiate, yes. Succeed when everyone knows we're over a barrel?* It depends on the definition of succeed.

              *The same applies to negotiating leave terms. Apparently nobody told HMG that beggars can't be choosers.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          Once we sign to leave we can sign whatever agreements we want.

          At which point the UK's access to the market of 550 million people in 27 countries (probably including financial markets, which far exceed mfg, although 80% of UK cars are currently exported) gets severely restricted.

          Which seems pretty fair to me.

        3. Warm Braw Silver badge

          Re: Clueless on everything

          we can sign whatever agreements we want

          We can sign only those agreements that are available to us. The evidence points to the available treaty options being significantly inferior in total to those we have now and little better in terms of trade with any specific individual country outside the EU than the current arragements.

          If that's what we want, then we're idiots.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Clueless on everything

            @ Warm Braw

            "The evidence points to the available treaty options being significantly inferior in total to those we have now and little better in terms of trade with any specific individual country outside the EU than the current arragements."

            Thats sounds interesting but debatable. The locked in situation we get with the EU is a cost. That cost vs reward being the debatable point.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Clueless on everything

        "...still a member of the club, one is not allowed to enter into negotiations.".

        That is what Fox is supposed to do now, that is talking, enter into negotiations, but trade agreements cannot be signet yet. Not that easy, everybody wants to sell you something but at the same time everybody wants protect it's domestic industry, farming and so forth, not to mention standards. It's a give and take and can take time.

        There is an interesting story regarding "milk" between the US and Canada. The US is producing more than they need but Canada doesn't want to harm it's own dairy industry.

        But despair not, The Mogg will soon provide cheap shoes for poor kids.

        1. John 98

          Re: Clueless on everything

          Once we stop wasting money on free education, the little blighters won't need shoes.

    7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      I can only conclude that the country is actually being governed by the BBC.

      I may be mistaken but for many I think that would be a step up in management quality.

      You seem to think Brexit is an epic clusterf**k waiting to happen.

      Trouble is I don't think there's much evidence to disprove that idea.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This appears to be such a cluster f%ck that I can't help to think that it has been planned to be as such. Who wins in the long term if this goes as badly as it appears to shaping up to? I always go to the extremely wealthy, huge financial institutions and globocorps. If the economy largely collapses it is those who can step in and buy up or takeover whatever essential services are required. Land ownership and control of essential services/resources are what matters 'cause let's face it most governments appear to be somewhere between incompetent and thoroughly corrupt.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Cui bono

      It will indeed be the world's finest example of disaster capitalism. Naomi Klein's subsequent book tour will be called 'I fucking told you so. Why the fuck didn't you listen?'

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      "Who wins in the long term if this goes as badly as it appears to shaping up to? I"

      Exactly.

      When bad s**t happens and everyone agrees it is bad s**t and it keeps happening you can guarantee some ba***rd somewhere is pi**ing their pants at how much money they are making out of it. Think "Dicky Roper" in "The Night Manager."

      Now, if someone were to remove those people from the board things mihgt improve.

      No promises. Just might.

  9. TRT Silver badge

    Create?

    Worsen, surely.

  10. Notrub

    Anti-competitive?

    "that puts the onus on the EU - as it should be, given the trade deficit we have with them"

    Not this load of tripe again - I thought the Register commanded more intelligent readers.

    In the event of a No-Deal arrangement, let's review the likely consequences of UK/EU trade.

    All trade ceases?? LOL - although some Daily Heil readers seem to believe so - we have no deals in place with the USA but they are our second largest trading partner! No trade WILL continue - it will just be more expensive.

    So given this, what happens to UK imports? Well, anything we can source more cheaply elsewhere, we will - there's mostly no chance of us simply producing it ourselves - we'll simply change where in the world our money goes.

    UK exports on the other hand - well, Europe swallows a LOT of them currently, and many have competitive products from elsewhere in the EU. If ours suddenly cost more, then it's MOST likely that EU buyers will simply switch to another cheaper, non-British product. Can we sell stuff elsewhere in the world to make up for this? In a word no. Our costs are simply too high - our only substantive markets are the USA and the EU - we can maybe increase exports to the US a little, but nothing like what we lose.

    So we end up with a rather large fall in Exports, while Imports will remain fairly constant - that equates to a massive hike in our Trade Deficit.

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the Channel, they're looking at a small but significant fall in Exports. Brexit will hurt them, certainly some industries/nations will be hit particularly hard, but equally many countries will hardly be affected. Nobody will be hurting half as much as we will be.

    1. H in The Hague Silver badge

      Re: Anti-competitive?

      "So given this, what happens to UK imports? Well, anything we can source more cheaply elsewhere, ..."

      Tiny problem, most of the industries which make anything worthwhile, stuff the UK can export, can't easily switch supplier for key components.

      Example 1: my ex-brother-in-law depends on three suppliers in the EU for his clever microelectronics stuff which then adds further value to in the UK and exports to the EU and beyond. He can't easily source that stuff from elsewhere (so I've offered to help him move part of his operations to NL).

      Example 2: Dennis Eagle build Refuse Collecting Vehicles in Warwick, using (I think) engines from Sweden, axles and brakes from Germany and bin lifts from the Netherlands. They can't really change over to other suppliers, not without extensive re-engineering and re-qualification.

      Another issue is that doing the import or export paperwork for one large expensive unit is not too bad and doesn't add too much cost - but doing the import paperwork for the hundreds of components incorporated into that unit, from a number of suppliers, is going to be very time-consuming, costly, and likely to upset just-in-time supply chains. A great way of ***ing British industry - thanks.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Tiny problem,.., stuff the UK can export, can't easily switch supplier for key components.

        Funny how that Common Economic Area thing works is it not?

        When you're in it you hardly notice it's there.

        But when it's gone......

        1. H in The Hague Silver badge

          Re: Tiny problem,.., stuff the UK can export, can't easily switch supplier for key components.

          "When you're in it you hardly notice it's there. But when it's gone......"

          I think that's the crux of the problem: most politicos and many younger businesspeople never experienced how much hassle it was to get small shipments across borders. Or the nightmare of temporary exports (having to pay VAT and then get it back, or an expensive and bureaucratic carnet).

          I tried to explain this to a Leaver friend: "Just imagine, you're a self-employed surveyor or photographer and you want to take your kit from London to Amsterdam for an assignment. Currently, you put your 20 grand of kit in the boot of your car and drive to Amsterdam, no hassle. In future you'll either have to pay VAT + any import duty (say 4 grand) after you cross the North Sea, and later reclaim it. Or get an ATA carnet (minimum of GBP 200 + security https://www.londonchamber.co.uk/export-documents/ata-carnet/). Same if you take stuff to a trade show." My friend: "Oh, no, it won't be like that." Me: "Yes, it will be. Thanks for making life difficult for my colleagues."

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            Thanks for making life difficult for my colleagues."

            Yup.

            Best of all was the UK Referendum allowed any UK citizen who'd been out of the UK for less than 15 years to stir the s**t "exorcise their democratic rights" *

            Unlike the Scottish referendum, where anyone over 16 could vote if they lived in Scotland, not in some Caribbean tax haven where they've paid f**k all UK tax since they left the UK.

            How many of these Aholes helped drop the UK in the s**t IDK but I'd bet a fair few.

            *While "Der Heil" bi**hed that 15 years was not enough.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Anti-competitive?

        @H in The Hague

        Aston Martin has the same problem as they import 60% of their car parts from the EU, but it's the big companies too, like Honda, that might have real problems with 350 trucks of components coming in from the EU each day.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F3LZTJOzSA

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Anti-competitive?

          Presumably that's 350 types of components?

        2. H in The Hague Silver badge

          Re: Anti-competitive?

          "... with 350 trucks of components coming in from the EU each day."

          Yup, and the automotive industry as a whole 1,100 lorries _per day_ - staggering. Source:

          https://www.smmt.co.uk/2017/11/smmt-president-calls-faster-concrete-progress-agreeing-transition-period-brexit/ (obviously the SMMT are not to be trusted, being horrible experts and actually manufacturing things)

          And presumably there's also quite a lot of traffic in the other direction exporting vehicles to the rest of the EU.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            presumably there's..a lot of traffic--other direction exporting vehicles to the rest of the EU.

            True. About 80% of the vehicles made in the UK go abroad, mostly to the EU.

            That's about 800k annually, so about 15 000 a week.

            The massive disconnect between the delusional fantasists of Brexit and the folk who've actually done work on this continues to deliver comedy Gold. Yeay.

            And will for many years to come.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Anti-competitive?

      "Well, anything we can source more cheaply elsewhere, we will - there's mostly no chance of us simply producing it ourselves - we'll simply change where in the world our money goes."

      "Simply" is probably an exaggeration. If the only existing component is for some product is sourced in the EU then going elsewhere might involve a redesign. And that's not including the more convoluted supply chains where stuff goes backward & forward.

  11. fix

    Public Sector/ IR35

    No one seems to have mentioned Public SectorIT projects also being hampered by them being blanket declared within IR35 for any contract resource.

    Many contractors I know will now longer consider Public Sector work if there is any Private Sector role also available that suits their skills.

  12. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Well Duh!

    How about these for starters...

    - Not giving the contract to the likes of Crapita, Steria, IBM and especially not to TATA and friends.

    - Not changing the spec every week/day/hour.

    There is no incentive for UK Techices to get involved with projects like this so they run for the hills when asked to do them.

    Fix the above and you might, just might get somewhere by 2021.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Well Duh!

      "Not changing the spec every week/day/hour."

      For anything Brexit related the real spec isn't going to exist until well into next year. What, if anything, is presented as a spec is going to vary wildly depending on which wing of the party (and anyone else) ministers are trying to placate this week - or just today.

  13. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    A pretty easy situation. We voted out, we are leaving and the EU have made clear they didnt want to negotiate so it was hard brexit. At what point was this too complicated for a government? Send token negotiators to console the EU negotiators who have no power to negotiate and put the real effort into the rest of the world.

    Amusingly the sticking point of this process seems to be the government and how slow it is to react to an issue it is already aware of ahead of time. This is what we have as government! Surely this should be a wake up call for people wanting big governments to realise it is too slow and incapable of coping with the real world. Less gov means more money for the public services or even to not take from the people.

    If the government cant keep up maybe it should consider slimming down.

    1. Notrub

      Re: Hmm

      "the EU have made clear they didn't want to negotiate"

      Well, if when you say "negotiate", you are referring to the Brexit dictionary, then, yes, the EU made clear they weren't going to lean over and open their rear orifice.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        @ Notrub

        "Well, if when you say "negotiate", you are referring to the Brexit dictionary, then, yes, the EU made clear they weren't going to lean over and open their rear orifice."

        Ha! So the EU's opening- you will pay X Euro (X being a moving number often calculated by laughter), EU courts over EU citizens remaining in the UK (more laughter) and the EU want a wall and the UK will pay for it (think of trump as you say it and so even more laughter). And that is before they are willing to negotiate.

        Our refusal to bend over and open our rear orifice being a fairly good choice.

        1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Hmm

          Ha! So the EU's opening- you will pay X Euro (X being a moving number often calculated by laughter), EU courts over EU citizens remaining in the UK (more laughter) and the EU want a wall and the UK will pay for it (think of trump as you say it and so even more laughter). And that is before they are willing to negotiate.

          Our refusal to bend over and open our rear orifice being a fairly good choice.

          That is exactly what the UK Government agreed to in the Phase 1 talks in December. The UK committed to cough up tens of billions of Euros and that cases relating to EU citizens in the UK can be referred to the European Court of Justice. Except for the wall, the UK agreed not to have a wall on the Irish border.

          Despite the rather pathetic attempt by the Government to back-pedal on these agreements, I would say that the orifice is definitely open for business.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Hmm

            @ Smooth Newt

            "The UK committed to cough up tens of billions of Euros"

            Tens? Not the 100bn euro demand that was laughed out of the room? Nor the 80bn? Wow its almost like we are willing to be reasonable but not screwed over. And it is on the proviso that the EU actually negotiate so I still have hope for a no deal EU get nothing brexit.

            "cases relating to EU citizens in the UK can be referred to the European Court of Justice"

            I would be interested to see this bit. Not seen it and wouldnt be shocked if May backed down, even though I hope the leave MP's force her not to.

            "Except for the wall, the UK agreed not to have a wall on the Irish border."

            You mean the EU demand for a hard border isnt gonna be met? That was an EU demand not UK. The EU wanted us to make an Irish border, pay for it and man it. I am glad they backed down. Them spineless bastards wouldnt dare build one themselves and it is better for the Irish not to have a border.

            1. James 51 Silver badge

              Re: Hmm

              @CJunky You need to cut down on the caffeine.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hmm

              A. The UK is leaving the Customs Union

              B. There will be no hard border with Ireland

              One of these statements is a lie.

              1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                Unhappy

                "One of these statements is a lie."

                Not at all.

                Apparently HMG will use "technology*" to deliver (effectively) a "virtual border" which people will be able to cross easily but which will prevent all the smuggling and people trafficking that hard borders are meant to stop without people feeling there is a boarder.

                * I have no idea what this technology will be. ANPR + EU wide ID card database + facial recognition mashup?

                Unfortunately I'm not convinced HMG has a f**king clue what it will be either, like encryption backdoor that only The Good Guys (TM) can use?

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: "One of these statements is a lie."

                  @ John Smith 19

                  "I have no idea what this technology will be"

                  If I am honest I expect it to be a lie. Claim there is a border and thats it.

                  @ Doctor Syntax

                  "Slightly more than half of those who voted did."

                  So more people voted out than in. Yes. As the first vote on our membership of the EU we have only ever voted out. If our EU vote needs a high threshold then pro-membership have never won one. If we count all the people who didnt vote and add them to remain then remain wins, but if we add them to leave then leave again wins (because more people voted out).

                  "In a couple of years time your going to be hard pressed to find anyone who'll claim admit to having voted Leave."

                  Will they die out like Euro supporters who used to call people like me eurosceptic? Those cowards who made the same arguments against leave for not joining the Euro, and were proved not only wrong but stonkingly wrong. And if leave turns out not to sink us (unlikely to do so) and even the EU sinks under its crises (yes that is the multiple) or transforms to what people dont want (one of their aims- ever closer union) there might be a rock somewhere we could peak under to find a remain voter. I am glad you said that because we eurosceptics have experience trying to find those so badly mistaken.

                  "Beggars can't be choosers."

                  You commented this against the EU making demands before being willing to negotiate anything. Since the EU is entitled to nothing (not money, not an Irish hard border, not extra rights over our country) the EU is the beggar and we have no reason to give in to that. Why you would have that the wrong way around I dont know.

                2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                  Coat

                  ANPR + EU wide ID card database + facial recognition mashup?

                  Naturally this will be operating in real time as well.

              2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Hmm

                @kdh007

                You need to add two more:

                C The Irish border will not be moved to the middle of the Irish sea.

                D The DUP will continue to prop up HMG.

                1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                  Coat

                  "D The DUP will continue to prop up HMG."

                  <cough>"Regulatory alignment,regulatory alignment"</cough>

              3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                Re: Hmm

                "One of these statements is a lie."

                Yes, but it seems that Brexit government is too thick to realise it.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hmm

              >You mean the EU demand for a hard border isnt gonna be met? That was an EU demand not UK. The EU wanted us to make an Irish border, pay for it and man it. I am glad they backed down. Them spineless bastards wouldnt dare build one themselves and it is better for the Irish not to have a border.

              Without a customs union, under WTO rules there has to be a hard border. Mrs May has repeatedly said "No customs union", therefore hard border. Entirely self-inflicted and nothing to do with the EU.

            4. Smooth Newt Silver badge
              Meh

              Re: Hmm

              Tens? Not the 100bn euro demand that was laughed out of the room? Nor the 80bn?

              40 billion Euros is a big step up from "go whistle".1 And the European Research Group - i.e. the pro-Brexit Tory MPs - said in September last year that “The government should stand firm and not be blackmailed in a multibillion-pound divorce bill,” and even suggested the EU should give the UK £10bn instead for its share of the European Investment Bank.

              But feel free to forget all this and just pick the largest figure you have ever heard bandied around - the gross estimate of the UK's liabilities ignoring the UK share of EU assets and the rebate - and look upon incomplete devastation as a victory.

              "cases relating to EU citizens in the UK can be referred to the European Court of Justice"

              I would be interested to see this bit. Not seen it and wouldnt be shocked if May backed down, even though I hope the leave MP's force her not to.

              Paragraph 38 of the agreement, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/joint_report.pdf

              1The Foreign Secretary agreed with Philip Hollobone in Parliament when the latter said "Since we joined the common market on 1 January 1973 until the day we leave, we will have given the EU and its predecessors, in today’s money, in real terms, a total of £209bn. Will you make it clear to the EU that if they want a penny piece more then they can go whistle?”.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Hmm

                @ Smooth Newt

                "40 billion Euros is a big step up from "go whistle".1"

                Go whistle was definitely the stance when the EU wanted more than the closing out of our membership. The EU demanding money because the UK (a net contributor) was leaving but didnt want to cut down the EU spending. 60bn being the amusing piss take that popped up originally, then 80 then 100. Offering the EU we will pay our previous commitments is quite honourable and nice. Adding that they mustnt be pricks about negotiating or they get nothing was just common sense.

                "and even suggested the EU should give the UK £10bn instead for its share of the European Investment Bank."

                I do like these statements. They demonstrate the poor ground the EU is standing on. Isnt gonna happen but still a good stick to beat them with when they act like children.

                "But feel free to forget all this and just pick the largest figure you have ever heard bandied around"

                See above. The start was 60 if I remember right which was laughed off. Dont feel free to forget that.

                "Paragraph 38 of the agreement"

                Cheers for the link. I will have a look at that. Always nice to have a bit more/up to date information

            5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Hmm

              "Them spineless bastards wouldnt dare build one themselves and it is better for the Irish not to have a border."

              So how is this issue going to be handled? Any hint that the border moves to the Irish Sea and the Home Sec of Downing St will be visiting HM to ask for a dissolution of Parliament.

            6. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: Hmm

              "Them spineless bastards"

              About the EU?

              You have some issues, mate.

            7. strum Silver badge

              Re: Hmm

              >Not the 100bn euro demand that was laughed out of the room?

              What 100Bn would that be? The one invented by the Daily Fail? Or the one invented by The SUN?

              Because no such demand was ever made by any EU body.

              >You mean the EU demand for a hard border isnt gonna be met?

              What demand would that be? - since the EU have made it abundantly and repeatedly clear that they don't want a hard border there.

              I think it's safer to conclude that you don't know what you're talking about (or are blatantly lying about it).

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Hmm

                @ strum

                "What 100Bn would that be? The one invented by the Daily Fail? Or the one invented by The SUN?"

                Or even mentioned in the guardian or anywhere else (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jul/18/eu-talks-divided-over-britains-brexit-divorce-bill-mooted-at-66bn). Another excuse for why we should not be leaving by remainers who think the EU is entitled to money. All of it being invented but little confirmed. The EU wanting more and to punish us, reality putting them back in their box. But the 3 demands were money, border, court rights.

                "since the EU have made it abundantly and repeatedly clear that they don't want a hard border there"

                Thats an interesting interpretation. Since the EU was arguing it wouldnt go on to round 2 of negotiations until the Irish border issue was resolved (they wanted one) and their solution of course being to take N Ireland into the EU (against their wishes). Then of course rejecting offers of a 'soft' border.

                1. Lars Silver badge
                  Meh

                  Re: Hmm

                  @codejunky

                  Are you deliberately screwing the facts or are you just ill-informed about the "Good Friday Agreement". Perhaps you should read about it.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Friday_Agreement

                  "The agreement is made up of two inter-related documents, both agreed in Belfast on Good Friday, 10 April 1998:

                  1. a multi-party agreement by most of Northern Ireland's political parties (the Multi-Party Agreement);

                  2, an international agreement between the British and Irish governments (the British-Irish Agreement)."

                  There are a few very simple solutions for the UK to solve the problem they have created, that is, if honouring a agreement or not is a problem. The problem is not caused by the EU.

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Hmm

                    @ Lars

                    "There are a few very simple solutions for the UK to solve the problem they have created, that is, if honouring a agreement or not is a problem. The problem is not caused by the EU."

                    Hang on. Are you claiming the UK is not allowed to leave the EU because the EU wouldnt progress talks until they have an Irish border? Oh well when you put it that way. Ffs. If the EU want a border they can make one. Failing that it doesnt exist.

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: Hmm

                      Following on-

                      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/09/northern-ireland-will-stay-in-single-market-after-brexit-eu-says

                      EU wants a border or to take Ireland. Since N Ireland want out that would be the EU taking them over. Because the EU want a border. The UK wants frictionless trade. The simple answer of course being to tell the EU we wont make a border and if they want one they can make one. Neither Ireland want one and we dont want one... will the EU force (read that word) the creation of one? While N Ireland wouldnt have such imposed upon them.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Hmm

          "So the EU's opening- you will pay X Euro (X being a moving number often calculated by laughter), EU courts over EU citizens remaining in the UK (more laughter) and the EU want a wall and the UK will pay for it (think of trump as you say it and so even more laughter). And that is before they are willing to negotiate."

          Beggars can't be choosers. Did you think any different. That doesn't just apply to negotiating with the EU, BTW. It applies to negotiating all these supposedly wonderful trade deals with the rest of the world.

    2. Alt C

      Re: Hmm

      TBH I don't think the size of the government is the issue here (though nice try at ramming another of your pet hates into the discussion) The problem is leadership, it doesn't matter how small and agile government is if you don't have a clear driection on where to go you won't get there.

      If the cabinet/conservatives can't agree on the shape of brexit how can the rest of government head towards that goal?

      1. codejunky Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Hmm

        @ Alt C

        very true

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        "it doesn't matter how small and agile government is if you don't have a clear driection on where to go you won't get there."

        Nor does it help if where you want to go isn't accessible.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      "We voted out"

      Slightly more than half of those who voted did. That means less than half didn't. In an advisory referendum. So instead of doing the sensible thing and starting a feasibility study the govt rushed head first (a few months is a head first rush in govt terms) into triggering Article 50 without even thinking about what the due process was until their arm was twisted. Then they discovered that as supplicants negotiating is a lot harder than they thought even though that should have been obvious.

      In a couple of years time your going to be hard pressed to find anyone who'll claim admit to having voted Leave.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        We all know why they rushed ahead: New tax haven legislation looming.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Hmm

          @ anonymous boring coward

          I guess its good enough for Luxembourg!

  14. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU)

    Couldnt they just call it the Brexit Department?

    Now imagine they've complicated the other trillion details by the same factor.

  15. frank ly Silver badge

    It was ever thus

    "The report singled out "a particularly critical need for project management, technical and digital skills"."

  16. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    MPs' Lack of technical skills for Brexit could create 'damaging, unmanageable muddle'

    FTFY

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge
      Happy

      That's how I red it in the first place. Happy icon as I've found my meds now

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Really..

    Government saying it needs more Government, colour me surprised!

  18. Dr_N Silver badge

    "Remoaner Scum!"

    "Talking down Britain."

    "Traitors."

    "Brexit means brexit."

    "We're taking back control."

    "You lost."

    [Feel free to add any other empty platitude that are just a metaphor of the brexit plan.]

  19. EnviableOne Bronze badge
    Coat

    Hmm..

    Maybe all those contractors they deemed inside IR35 would be usefull

    if anyof them hadn't taken there coats .....

  20. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    "Unmanageable" ?

    That sounds like getting in your excuses first....

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      That sounds like getting in your excuses first....

      Throughout this whole business I keep hearing a favorite aphorism of Sales.

      "Winners have plans. Losers have excuses."

      I know. It's a schocky old cliche.

      But, like many other cliches it's also true.

      The Brexitieers have shown they didn't have a plan to begin with.

      Unfortunately it doesn't look like they have one now either.

      I mean who walks out on a marriage and for the settlement says "Make me an offer?"

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: That sounds like getting in your excuses first....

        @ John Smith 19

        For those who did not grasp the "Make me an offer", It went like this:

        In a recent private meeting between May and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the two leaders reportedly found themselves in a tragicomic conversational loop.

        "May kept telling Merkel: “Make me an offer.” To which Merkel would reply: “But you’re leaving – we don’t have to make you an offer. Come on, what do you want?” To which May would retort: “Make me an offer.”

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/03/imperial-fantasies-brexit-theresa-may

        (and elsewhere)

        Looking at the bright side, all sanity has not left Blighty.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "“But you’re leaving – we don’t have to make you an offer. "

          Indeed.

          I've never divorced anyone but it's my understanding that SOP is both sides need to set out a set of requirements and then both sides negotiate.

          I also understand the common answer to "make me an offer" is "I ain't giving you s**t," depending on the level of acrimony during the breakup.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The whole mess comes down to the Tory party being split into two groups: those who stand to make money & influence out of the UK staying in the EU and those who stand to make money & influence out of the UK leaving the EU. The struggle between these groups governs the current and past behaviour of the Conservatives (and hence the current government) with regard to Europe.

  22. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I don't read tabloids (needless to say, doubt anyone here does).

    I did see a man reading one though, and it had a massive headline;

    "Give Us Our Freedom Now!"

    or very similar text.

    I can only assume it was about Brexit, and if so, it's scary the level of war-like propaganda being used in this "save our tax haven's" debacle. All reason seems to have gone out the window on the rabidly religious Leave side.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      "Give Us Our Freedom Now!"

      Scary.

      Finallly it has arrived then (probably came in a while back, I was just to wrapped up in my own affairs to notice).

      Knew we were heading toward U.S. style political arena. The divisive, militant landscape must either being serving some cartel, or merely the dumb pandering to the worst nationalistic tendencies by a unprincipled and opportunistic tabloid media.

    2. H in The Hague Silver badge

      "I don't read tabloids (needless to say, doubt anyone here does)."

      I do, now. Mon - Fri I start the day with a quick peek at the Daily Mail. I don't enjoy that but figure I need to do that to try and understand a large proportion of the population. Seems the editors need to take a quick course in British constitutional law, otherwise they wouldn't refer to judges and MPs fulfilling their constitutional duties and oaths of office as 'enemies of the people' and 'traitors'. And if the articles on scantily-clad Z-list 'celebrities' are supposed to reflect "proud British values" then you can count me out. Note: other newspapers are available.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        "I do, now. Mon - Fri I start the day with a quick peek at the Daily Mail. "

        Won't that ruin the day?

        1. H in The Hague Silver badge

          Potentially, so then have to take a peek at the FT and Guardian as an antidote. Not enjoyable, but useful to help me understand other folk. And I get a break from it at the weekend :)

        2. thegroucho
          Meh

          No, but would make for a good laugh ... or cry ...

          Depending on glass half full/half empty outlook.

          <SOBBING>

  23. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Well, I will probably start to stock up on non-perishable foods. With this shitshower of a government, who knows what will happen?

    1. thegroucho
      Coat

      Buy a few crossbows with plenty of arrows and spares

      Secretly dig a bunker in the forest

      Develop haircut like Daryl (from The walking Dead)

      Learn to shoot like Carol (from The walking Dead)

      etc, etc.

      Maybe it won't be so bad, maybe we can have soft brexit, you never know, we can only dream.

  24. shrdlu

    Don't Panic!

    It won't be any worse than Y2K, apart from the 20+ years of pre-planning that is. (Anyone know where I can hire a development team for a short contract at short notice. I reckon I'll need around 300,000 developers plus support.)

  25. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    So the high level Brexit "plan" remains in tact.

    <gollum>

    We wants it.

    We needs it.

    We mush have hard Brexit.

    </gollum>

    Good to know.

    1. thegroucho
      Trollface

      Re: So the high level Brexit "plan" remains in tact.

      you sure it is not

      <gove>

      </gove>

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