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Brexit and Operation Yellowhammer

To the lexicon of Brexit jargon -  including "No deal"; "WTO rules"; "Transition period"; "Article 50"; "Another referendum" ; "Backstop" ; and "Brexit" itself - it seems that a new catch-phrase has been added - "Operation Yellowhammer".

On 18th August 2019, "The Sunday Times" published a leaked file, code-named "Operation Yellowhammer" ,  allegedly marked "Official - Sensitive", containing Planning Assumptions for a "no deal" Brexit.

An anonymous Cabinet Office source is quoted by the newspaper as saying : "This is not Project Fear - this is the most realistic assessment of what the public face with no-deal. These are likely , basic, reasonable scenarios, not the worst-case scenario."

The UK Government responded very quickly by saying that these Planning Assumptions were out-of-date and represented a worst - case scenario  and had been superseded  by the intensive contingency planning that had commenced since the arrival of the new Prime Minister in office on 24 July 2019.

Even Michael Gove,  who is leading the new UK Government's  "no deal" Brexit planning efforts,  had to admit, however,  that there will indeed be "some bumps in the road " in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit.

"Operation Yellowhammer" - which apparently is one of three Brexit planning initiatives within the UK Government with birdy titles, the others being "Kingfisher" (an emergency support package for hard-hit British businesses) and "Black Swan" (worst-case scenario contingency planning)  - a compliment to twitterers within the Cabinet - sets out a number of possible worrying outcomes from a crash "no deal" Brexit from the EU. 

These include the "de facto" reinstatement of  a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland,  huge logjams on the roads in London and the South-East of England, significant disruption at ports, severe disruption to medical supplies and fuel distribution and reductions in the supplies of fresh food and chemicals for the purification of water.  In addition, there are separate paragraphs on "Brits in Europe", "The Poor" , "Social Care, "Energy Supplies", "Financial Services and Insurance" and "Data" transfer.

All this and more could lead to protests and social disorder in the UK, not to mention the impact on Gibraltar of prolonged delays at the Spanish border and strife in the North Sea and English Channel as the UK tries to keep out EU fishing boats from UK waters.

The litany of possible calamities goes on and the same arguments continue between the Leavers and the Remainers in politics.

The clock ticks on but the new UK Government is adamant that substantial  progress is being made towards dealing with the challenges posed by a "no-deal" Brexit. It also says that it is  trying hard to reach a new deal with the EU in time to avoid crashing out of the EU with no deal in place.

We shall see!