Reading Brexit impact studies reminded me of doing my GCSEs

As the UK government’s reports on how Brexit will impact different sectors were published… Hold on, I will start again. As the government published the reports that were originally supposed to assess the impact on different sectors in the UK, I had a look at those published about the sectors I cover.

While reading the reports on the ICT and fintech sectors I was taken back to being a wayward teenager being forced to complete coursework for my GCSEs.

These reports, which David Davis repeatedly described as detailed assessments of the impact of Brexit on various sectors, would probably sneak a grade C at GCSE at best and just because of the detail. A grade D in my opinion. The top grades would be out of reach due to the lack of analysis. This is the government and one of the biggest challenges ever to face the UK. They are winging it. These studies put UK in banana republic category

Read them all for yourself if you are curious. They are available on Parliament’s website, and include specific entries for ICT (22 pages), fintech, (four pages) and telecommunications (22 pages).

As the government clearly rates Wikipedia judging by it “impact assessments” here is the Wikipedia description of a banana republic: “[It] is a politically unstable country whose economy depends on the export of one product in limited supply, such as bananas or minerals (UK services). A banana republic has social classes that are divided by wealth. These include a large, poor working class and a small ruling class made up of the businessmen, politicians, and the military.[1] The ruling class controls and exploits the country’s economy.”

These reports fail to clear anything up for those interested and just collate information and use sentences with meaningless descriptions to fill the void. One particularly fascinating description, pointed out by a Twitter user, was the description of an airplane and another needlessly reminding us that the UK is an Island and as a result reliant on treading over the sea. Then of course there is the revelation that fishing activities happen in coastal towns.

The IT and fintech related reports, which I have read, are truly awful. Embarrassing. It was very telling that all the views from people in the sectors “studied” were not published.

So what did the reports tell us? I think there are three possibilities. The first is that the government lied about their existence and then got some school kids to put something together at the last minute. Or the second option, often muted, is that proper impact studies have been done and are so scary that the government doesn’t want people to see them as it would probably reverse Brexit. Or thirdly the government is incompetent. All three are plausible.

I always used to cringe at the thought that someone like Silvio Berlusconi could be Prime Minister of Italy. Today I feel that way whenever I see the current Ministers running the show in the UK. Sadly it is not just the right of the political spectrum.