Brexit complications

The text of an email I have just sent to my MP:

let me first add my voice to those asking their MPs to do whatever is necessary to avoid The UK leaving the EU.

Next let me mention an issue that may affect the decision. Article 50 states that the EU may conclude negotiations and force exit two years after invocation. It seems to me that the practical implications of that have not been discussed.

To execute a withdrawal the government will need to review every department’s IT system as will every other organisation with a significant IT system, such as the NHS. The review could go ahead immediately if necessary, and probably should be started in weeks rather than months. A (very) rough guesstimate is that this will require an additional 100,000 skilled IT workers over and above those we already have and take five years. The likely source for those extra workers is India unless China enters that market. Some of this work will probably involve legacy software and that will require some existing UK IT staff to be brought out of retirement.

Negotiation of exit arrangements can to some extent run in parallel with the review. The next stage will only start in earnest when the first heads of agreement are available. This stage is modification of existing software to implement the new business processes that put negotiations into effect, and then testing it. If managed well this phase of the project will probably require another 200,000 immigrants. It will also require the active involvement of substantially every existing civil servant. It will also take five years, if managed competently. During this stage every new piece of legislation (foreign and domestic)  should be examined for its likely effect on the progress of the rewrite and if necessary deferred.

I should add that expecting this project to be managed competently may be a triumph of hope over experience. Even if it is managed well you should not expect any change from your hundred billion pound note.

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