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

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

  1. John G Imrie Silver badge
    Trollface

    What

    only 6?

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: What

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

  2. Buzzword

    How about scrapping them?

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

    1. rg287

      Re: How about scrapping them?

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

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

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

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: How about scrapping them?

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

    3. Len Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: How about scrapping them?

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

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

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: How about scrapping them?

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

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

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

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

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: How about scrapping them?

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

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

      2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: How about scrapping them?

        Quote:

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

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

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

        And those huge sausages were very suspicious....

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          IT Angle

          Re: How about scrapping them?

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

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

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

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: How about scrapping them?

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

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

    5. Kernel

      Re: How about scrapping them?

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

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

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

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

  3. TRT Silver badge

    Testing?

    Testing is for wimps.

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

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Testing?

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

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

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

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

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

      1. DButch

        Re: Testing?

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

    2. Phil Kingston Silver badge

      Re: Testing?

      DevOps FTW?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time running out

    four months to Brexit and no completed testing bloody clue!

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Time running out

      Honest question here from the colonies.

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

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

      1. Cpt Blue Bear

        Honest answer here also from the colonies

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

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

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

        Oops.

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

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

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

        1. Phil Kingston Silver badge

          Re: Honest answer here also from the colonies

          Hey! Don't be dissing Strictly.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Honest answer here also from the colonies

            "Don't be dissing Strictly"

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

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Time running out

        Honest question here from the colonies.

        Why are you not having another referendum?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Time running out

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

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

          1. H in The Hague Silver badge

            Re: Time running out

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

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

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Time running out

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

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

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

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Time running out

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

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

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Time running out

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

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

        3. Raedwald Bretwalda

          Re: Time running out

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

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

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Time running out

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

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

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Time running out

        Why are you not having another referendum?

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

      4. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Time running out

        @ Youngone

        "Why are you not having another referendum?"

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

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

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

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

        1. H in The Hague Silver badge

          Re: Time running out

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

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

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Time running out

            @ H in The Hague

            "Sorry mate, the government can never guarantee that"

            Yes. As I said the government lied again.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Time running out

              As I said the government lied again.

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

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Time running out

                @ Doctor Syntax

                "The lies were coming from Leave."

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

        2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Time running out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          1. David Roberts Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: Time running out - service industries

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

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

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

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

          2. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Time running out

            @ Voland's right hand

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

            The EU was created in 93.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            "Russian acquaintances"

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

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

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Time running out

          @Codejunky

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

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

      5. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: Time running out

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time running out

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

  5. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Pint

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

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge

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

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

    2. Adrian 4 Silver badge
  6. DougS Silver badge

    Is the UK ready for Brexit in any way?

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

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

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

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

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

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

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

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

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

        Probably.

        1. Mike Lewis

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

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

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

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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

            "The last 5% also takes 95% of the time."

            Or 95% of the last 5%.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

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

          Sandwich fillers?, sandwich fillers? my dear boy, how frightfully working class.

          If it's not from a three star Michelin restaurant it doesn't get through the door!

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

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

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

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

    3. Teiwaz Silver badge

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

      Y2K???

      despite the doom and gloom of the popular press

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

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

      Embarrassing, but not usually Apocalypse stuff.

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

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

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

      1. Steve Gill

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

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

        For Y2K I was working on preventing planes falling from the sky - part of my work was on the fuel calculations to prevent planes only being given enough fuel to last them to midnight 31 December plus a reserve.

    4. jmch Silver badge

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

      "is the UK in for some real pain?"

      Nobody really knows, but as with most other things it's not going to be an apocalypse, nor will it be a rose garden. There WILL be a lot of inconveniences, annoyances, things that need to get done differently. Long term I think UK will be worse off out than in, but well, that's how it goes.

      What is guaranteed 100% is that those red-tops that specialise in the sensationalism of routine bad news and the glorification of idiocy will have a field day headlining the shambles and government inadequacies while at the same time trumpeting how great the UK is now that it's out of the EU. Of course their readers will not see the contradictions nor the links between the two.

  7. Blofeld's Cat
    Facepalm

    Hmm ...

    "Don't worry Minister, It's probably just some agricultural workers holding a torchlight procession ... Yes, they are getting rather close, Minister."

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No mention of farming subsidies? I find that very odd.

    I wouldn't worry we're getting a 3 way vote to split opinion as was the plan from the beginning, deal/no deal/stay. Plus the fact its been rammed down the public's throat for so long will make a lot people just vote to stay in and be done with it all.

    It'll be alright.

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Isn't this BaU for DEFRA?

  10. Voland's right hand Silver badge
  11. John Munyard

    Less than 11 weeks to test and implement a complex, integrated system like this will inevitably be is ridiculous. And unachievable.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brexit: Strong 'n' Stable.

    A No-Plan Brexit is what The People voted for.

    That control smells as good as all this winning that's occurring.

    Carry On!

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      A No-Plan Brexit is what The People voted for.

      The shortest, most distinct description of what Brexiteers actually offered and what "The People*" voted for

      IOW the perfect political "product," as any different group of supporters could read exactly what they wanted into the "proposal"

      Bu***hit detection. It's quite a valuable skill.

      * 13/25s of the 72.21% of the potential electorate. The rest either believing they had no chance of winning or the benefits of EU membership were self evident. Either felt actually voting would therefor be a waste of their time. Both groups were wrong.

  13. Sureo

    I have this vision of the UK going dark on Brexit day.

    I'll miss the Reg.

    1. Phil Kingston Silver badge

      I'll print out whatever Vulture South posts and mail it to you.

  14. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Alert

    a "pragmatic" approach by prioritising the most essential work

    Hmm. This might just be exactly what is needed. No more time for meetings, the busybodies will stay away because there's actual work to be done. The ministers will stay away because the project is doomed and they do not want their reputation drawn down with it.

    This just may be a time for those who actually know what they're doing to be able to do it in peace and quiet, without the useless weight of those who only appear to work. Then, when the basic functionalities are demonstrated to work and the day is saved, we'll witness ministers swooping in to claim credit and the busybodies will press around them to share in the glory.

    After Brexit they'll all have time to fuck it up again, but at least a good foundation just might have been created.

    Nah. I'm dreaming. But I think I can make a good scenario out of that . . .

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: a "pragmatic" approach by prioritising the most essential work

      "This just may be a time for those who actually know what they're doing to be able to do it in peace and quiet, without the useless weight of those who only appear to work."

      Those who know what they're doing and how to do it also know that the goals cannot be achieved in the time available. Leaving the workers alone to do their work is a great idea, but it won't make them able to do the impossible.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. doug_bostrom

    Complete end-end testing of software necessary to land on the moon was not completed until a few seconds after the descent engine of the first LEM to land on the moon shut down. It was deemed acceptable to allow two volunteers to participate in this activity, and they were nothing if not fully informed.

    I don't recall "do you want to travel to the moon as a passenger on a freshly designed spacecraft" being the referendum question.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not quite.

      They elected to pilot it manually, while given the option to wait instead for auto pilot. (By "wait" I guess it would be send someone else, and you may get a seat next time)

      Neil chose manual landing, and had *also* pre-proven his flight ability in many, many ways.

    2. fandom Silver badge

      For some reason, in democracies people are expected to be able to understand what they are voting for.

      Sure, many don't, for example everyone who doesn't vote the same way I do, but then if you start limiting the vote those who know what they are doing, you end up with the-party-is-always-right regimes.

      You know, Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others and all that stuff.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

    Hello?

    Is that the UK?

    Are you receiving?

    OVER.............

    [white noise]

    1. Pedigree-Pete Bronze badge
      Joke

      Re: Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

      Puts me in mind of "'Allo London, 'allo London zees is Nighthawk calling" PP

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "a "pragmatic" approach by prioritising the most essential work and opting for basic functionality"

    Note the fact they felt it important to mention this.

    When it should be SOP for any development effort where there is a fixed time limit that has to be met and resources are limited (as IRL they always are).

    What you might call a "Management design pattern."

    F**k me sideways. Someone had to actually congratulate them for doing something properly. :-(

  19. tiggity Silver badge

    test tickles

    "Defra told the committee it was "confident" its replacement for the EU's TRACES would be ready in time for a no-deal scenario in March 2019 – but that it can't predict what issues will arise during testing"

    I'm not confident. testing (on a complex system) should be essentially complete by now if aiming for March next year! They should be in the fine tuning / tweaks stage by now.

  20. Danny 2 Silver badge

    What does Brexit mean?

    I've been out of IT too long, is Brexit an OS or a pantomime? It's behind you! Oh no she didn't!

    Parliament this morning reminds me of the Millennium bug testing that we thought we'd fixed - until all these damned millennials showed up.

  21. codejunky Silver badge

    Meh

    This is partly because secrecy around negotiations and a lack of predictability means the departments don't know what advice to give.

    And yet by sticking to a very easy and attainable goal and advising on that would have given businesses the time they need while pushing the EU to get a move on if they didnt want to be left out of the process. Of course that would require committing to brexit instead of trying to keep us one foot in one foot out (even the EU was clear and upfront about that not being an option).

    And the government trying to make a new system that works? They couldnt do that while we are part of the EU, why would that change now?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      "Of course that would require committing to brexit"

      What sort of Brexit? Jumping off the cliff? A Brexit that might salvage something for the economy? Hoping for magic? Whatever your choice was it's unlikely that all those who voted like you actually had the same thing in mind.

      You call yourself a code junky. OK, here's a challenge. Your employer tells you to prepare the S/W for a new project. Sorry, we can't tell you what it is because we don't know. Just do it. That's what DEFRA and everyone else has been lumbered with.

      Brexit is something Dibert's PHB would have come up with.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Meh

        @ Doctor Syntax

        "Whatever your choice was it's unlikely that all those who voted like you actually had the same thing in mind."

        Except the vote to leave the EU. Its amazing how thick people can be when they dont want to acknowledge the answer. And as I have torn that lame argument apart many times- remainers cant agree of the kind of remain they wanted either.

        "Sorry, we can't tell you what it is because we don't know. Just do it."

        Funny I already answered this in the comment you are responding to. In fact its the bit you quoted- Of course that would require committing to brexit

        I know we dont agree on brexit but cmon that response was just weak.

  22. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Polical Outsourcing.

    Get the Japanese fella in, it'll be an improvement. #cranestyle #joeespositofanclub

  23. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Please can you stop the noise

    I'm trying to get some rest....

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