Thursday, 16 March 2017

"This is London. We interrupt this broadcast..."

Taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union looks complex, difficult and very risky to most people who actually seem to know about these things.  So it's a bit odd that the people responsible for overseeing the whole multi-billion pound process haven't even bothered with the sort of token risk assessment which you'd routinely apply to a supply teacher tasked with taking a moderately heavy box of exercise books down from the stationery cupboard shelf.

With only days to go before the UK government takes this (probably irrevocable) step, there's not really enough time to rectify the alarming lack of anything that looks remotely like a plan.

Now might at least be a good time, though, to alert the public to the seriousness of what's about to happen when Article 50 is finally triggered. Fortunately, a ready-made template for such an eventuality already exists:
...a highly detailed plan of how the nation will be told and what happens in the next days and hours will swing into action...

...From the Foreign Office’s Global Response Centre in London the news will go out to the 15 governments outside the UK where the Queen is also the head of state, and the 36 other nations of the Commonwealth for whom she has served as a symbolic figurehead.

The public will find out in a newsflash after newspapers and television and radio stations have been told.

At Buckingham Palace a footman will pin a black-edged notice to the gates and the palace website will be transformed into a sombre, single page, showing the same text.

At commercial radio stations a blue "Obit Brexit light" will glow to tell DJs to play appropriate music and go to news at the next available moment.

BBC One, Two and Four will be interrupted and revert to their respective idents – an exercise class in a village hall, a swan waiting on a pond- and then the news will come on.

Listeners to Radio 4 and Radio 5 live will hear the specific formulation of words, “This is the BBC from London."

Both houses of parliament will be recalled, people will go home from work early, and aircraft pilots will announce the news to their passengers.
That might just alert the UK citizenry to the seriousness of what's going on. It's a pity that it will probably already be too late to do anything about the serious thing that just happened. But at least the script will come in handy again one day when the Queen finally pops her clogs (assuming that there's still a UK for her to be ex-queen of by then).