As discussed here, in all projects, things go wrong. In a gigantic project, things will go wrong big time.
1 No plan
It is realised that there isn’t a plan. Or what there is is so inadequate that it’s worse than useless.
Given that the Leave side in the referendum did not have a plan for the eventuality that they won (Johnson hadn’t even prepared a few words on a scrap of paper); given that the tories do not seem to have a plan for embarking on (let alone concluding) the brexit negotiations (which appear to have already started), it seems entirely realistic to assume that there won’t be a plan and that its absence will be felt almost immediately.
2 Major players will demand changes after the agreement
One, or more EU countries, or the UK, will demand changes to the agreement well after the agreement has supposedly been reached. This will happen because senior people in one or other of these stakeholders will wake up, sweating, in the middle of the night, realising that a key aspect of one bit of the agreement or another will wreak disaster—if only to their own political fortunes, but possibly to a particular group, their country or even the whole enterprise.
The time and money needed to undo what has already been done in a particular area and implement the demanded change will delay things, in particular, and mess up the dependencies in the plan as a whole. Reaching agreement about how to resolve this will take time and money.
Based on my experience, I am confident that this will happen many times. (Most managers cannot handle what is called ‘scope shift’.) It will just bring even more complexity to managing the disengagement.
3 Any stated deadlines will slip, and keep slipping
This is down to:
- the lack of a plan
- the, er, ‘inexperience’ of those trying to run the show
- unforeseen events
- events that could have been foreseen, but weren’t
- original estimates being too optimistic (but no one wanted to mention the fact)
As a result, costs will inexorably rise. The endpoint, if such a thing can be contemplated, will recede further into the future.
4 That problems will arise has been ignored
As mentioned above, noone will have thought of what to do if something goes wrong (though the absence of a plan makes it easier to argue that it didn’t go wrong, as there’s no plan for it to have followed). This means the general hurly burly of unforeseen eventualities, whether it is politicians being childish, or key people being ill, will create more work and slow things down. Or something turns up they hadn’t expected (what’s the chance of that, then?).
5 Knock on problems due to the number of civil servants deployed
The drain on the civil service, large numbers of whom will have to be coopted into the brexit process, will mean that government commitments in other areas will not be met. We’re already seeing that the demand for people to work on the aftermath of Grenfell Tower fire is causing problems. Whether it is to do with tax, housing, education or prisons, the government will rightly get a lot of stick for not delivering on its manifesto pledges, such as they are, and its previous commitments.
6 Failure to consider the devolved countries
Many processes and laws currently derived from the EU are devolved in the UK, so as many as four separate, independent administrations (England, Scotland, Wales, N Ireland) will have to reabsorb these laws and processes into their own legislative works (and see (7), below). This is unlikely to have been thought of by English managers and civil servants. Yet more time and costs will be racked up. But, even more important, the complexity of managing the disengagement will just keep increasing.
7 Perceived lack of funds in devolved administrations
One or more UK legislatures may feel they do not have the money to implement some pieces of legislation to the level that the EU-originated legislation previously did—because previously financed, in part, by the EU. Financial support for business growth comes to mind. Result: a dissatisfied populace, to say the least (see (8)).
Of course when prime minister Theresa May desperately need the votes of N Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, it was easy enough to find a billion pounds with which to bribe them. So who knows what pots of money are stashed away?
8 Public dissatisfaction with ‘progress’
There are so many likely areas where things will go wrong, and so many opportunities for them to do so (eighteen months in, we could have literally hundreds of changes falling to pieces), that there is a real danger of civil unrest, as the people realise that the UK can neither make forward progress, nor can move back to any previous acceptable position. Maybe, at last, people will realise that most high profile politicians are simply not up to the job.
> Blog: Why brexit won’t happen―1
> Blog: Why brexit won’t happen―2: Twelve serious problems
© 2017 Jeremy Marchant . extended 15 . 16 . 17 21 . 22 july 2017 . split into three pages 23 july 2017 . image Free images
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