There you have it, the code-name for a no-deal Brexit is 'Operation Yellowhammer'.

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When will our ministers and civil servants learn to put their documents inside an envelope or go back to the good old tried and trusted brief case?

The Independent reports that what it calls a 'secret' document was:

"…snapped as it was carried into a Whitehall meeting – also reveals that Philip Hammond’s department has codenamed its contingency planning 'Operation Yellowhammer'."

The offending article was an HM Treasury briefing paper for the 4th September titled:

"Operation Yellowhammer: no deal contingency planning"

The paper defines the issues as considering government progress on plans to mitigate the immediate impact of a no deal Brexit and that the Civil Contingencies Secretariat held a two day workshop last week to review departments' plans, assumptions, inter-dependencies and next steps.

The HMT objectives are such things as:

  • for the building of a cross-Whitehall communications architecture to maintain confidence should no deal contingencies be triggered.
  • that departments should raise their Yellowhammer costs through normal channels with their first call being 'internal reprioritisation'.

None of this should really come as any surprise – except for the fact that once again a sharp cameraman was able to get a shot of a sensitive paper.

Operation Yellowhammer – does all sounds rather grand and hard-hitting doesn't it?

But who thinks up these names? The yellowhammer is in reality a small bird that sits in hedges and sings a lot and its recent population decline makes it a 'Red List' species according to the RSPB.

Yellowhammer by xulescu_g (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Yellowhammer by xulescu_g (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Actually, there is normally a strict 'next word on the prefilled list of classified operation names' policy about these things. So it could have been anything.

Personally I'd have preferred the word 'Mjolnir' – still, can't have everything can we?

Thor (PD)

Now, apart from national sovereignty, one more opportunity that Brexit brings to the country is the chance to take a hard look at its own economy and shape it for its own requirements – not have it shaped from afar by others for the benefit of people who do not live and work here.

John Elliott, the Founder and Chairman of Ebac, has written an article in Brexit Central where he says:

"Brexit is a massive opportunity for Britain. Not just to reshape our relations with Europe and the rest of the world, but to embark on a more logical productive economic policy at home too."

As he points out the EU model has not worked for the UK. Brexit he says gives us the scope to change how we do business, but we are going to need to make big changes.

"We need change rather than fiddling about at the edges. – he writes – We need surgery rather than first-aid, if we want to be fairer to all British citizens."

And a big change we need to make, is to start putting the emphasis and value on output and measuring output.

As he says, the UK measures GDP and employment figures so both go up regardless of the output that is achieved.

The author also points out that tariffs can be used to help shape our economy and:

"Our aim should be to end up with more manufacturing output than today, focusing first on supplying our home market – which is very big – and then exporting to countries in exchange for something we can’t produce, such as certain minerals or food products."

But of course we can only do these things if we leave the European Union completely, anything else leaves us operating for the benefit of other economies.

Now, the Remain campaign is now rallying behind recent polls saying that they are all pointing towards Remain, especially the latest that says Remain would win by 59 to 41, so we need to have another vote on the issue of Brexit they say.

However, I'd just like to gently remind them of the 2016 EU referendum where, on completion, the Telegraph said that "… the reputation of British political polling has taken a hit to rival that of the pound."

Also, the author of the new report, Sir John Curtice, put some caution in by pointing out that 53% of those asked had voted Remain previously and also said:

Don’t get excited as to think this is some poll that shows a dramatic shift to remain. The apparent thin lead that remain have is at least in part built on the potential sand of the responses of those who did not vote two years ago.

Anyway, we would not be 'remaining' in anything – the price for staying would be far too high, as it would almost certainly involve joining the euro and Schengen zones in short order as well as relinquishing just about full control over our foreign and defence policies as well as giving away our tax powers and the economy. Be in no doubt that is where the EU is headed and as far as I'm concerned they can do that, just leave the UK out of it.

And why am I so sure of that? Because we have caused the EU problems and the only way we will be let back in, is if we are powerless to do anything other than obey EU diktats without question. To do that they need to ensure the UK is neutered to the point of never being a thorn in the side again, which means complete assimilation of the UK into the EU – with no get outs, no vetoes, no rebates and no going back – ever.

And you need to look no further than the Chequers proposals to see how the establishment defines leaving the EU – how do you think they'd now define remaining?

And that's the big message we need to get out!

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