Current Affairs Politics

Operation Yellowhammer Dossier: UK Hard Border In Ireland Inevitable

The leaking of a confidential British government report to The Sunday Times in London has added new weight to the accusation that the Conservative Party administration in Britain has been lying all along about the imposition of a hard border in Ireland. The document makes it clear that maintaining an open frontier around the north-eastern corner of the island after a no-deal Brexit, or by inference any watered down agreement with the European Union that removes the peace-saving backstop protocol, is “unsustainable”. Furthermore the authors of the dossier fully expect that the hardening of the British border around the Six Counties will lead to civil unrest and “direct action” in the disputed region, which of course risks undermining the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and raises the prospects of a return to sustained political conflict after two decades of relative stability.

As part of Britain’s much-rumoured Operation Yellowhammer, the contingency plan for a unilateral withdrawal from the EU, the Cabinet Office document, labelled “official-sensitive” and requiring a top-level “need to know” security clearance, notes the following likely outcomes of a no-deal exit:

  • The north of Ireland will almost certainly see the return of a security frontier with the rest of the island, civil unrest and “direct action” emerging as free cross-border movement is curtailed or blocked by the United Kingdom
  • The all-Ireland electricity market will no longer have legal validity under UK law and could collapse
  • The UK will revert to fully “third country” status with the European Union
  • Fuel supplies could be disrupted, with oil refineries shutting and thousands of employees losing their jobs
  • In Gibraltar some 15,000 employees who cross the border from Spain every day will face hours of delays for months
  • Up to 85% of lorries using Channel seaports will not be ready for customs checks in France, with disruptions lasting for at least three months
  • Supplies of some fresh foods will experience a rapid fall with hundreds of thousands of customers affected by water supplies
  • Vital medicines could perish on unrefrigerated lorries stuck at seaports, with disruptions lasting up to six months
  • Passengers travelling to and from the EU could be subject to more immigration checks at sea and airports as well as the Channel Tunnel
  • Hundreds of EU-registered boats currently fishing in UK waters would be deemed to be acting illegally, leading to clashes at sea
  • The “fragile” care industry could be hit by rising inflation and small business operators could collapse within three months

As the report by senior UK civil servants to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his ministerial colleagues makes clear, the above predictions are baseline ones and do not take into account worse-case scenarios. These are the optimistic predictions for a no-deal Brexit.

32 comments on “Operation Yellowhammer Dossier: UK Hard Border In Ireland Inevitable

  1. Gove is claiming that these documents are the worst case scenario. So someone is lying about all this. My money is on Gove.

  2. So who is surprised? no trade deal no easy trade flow, simples

  3. A United Ireland within a United Europe is the only way out of this English inspired clusterxxxx.

  4. Reminds me of every single time the UK govt said they were not talking to the PIRA.

    Yes Minister wisely said “Never believe anything until it is officially denied.” Never a truer word spoken.

  5. Does that not vindicate some things I’ve been saying? That Brexit does in fact put England and perhaps Scotland and Wales as well as Northern Ireland at risk of serious food shortages, unrest, and possibly even scenarios like a Civil War?

    I know you have said before ASF, that you couldn’t see it getting radically worse than it was in the Thatcher era…..well they WERE in the EU during the Thatcher era. The de-industrialization today is much worse than it was in the Thatcher era. Britain was sort of a basket case on entering the EU (Austerity Period), and because of the changes during and since The Thatcher days they are probably more dependent on the EU to prop them up in many ways.

    Some people may say of Britain falling apart……Why? They have had such a stable history.

    It could be that centuries of relative stability could be as much of a curse as it was a blessing…..and not solely or even primarily for the reason Mr. O’Toole tends to think.

    It could be that because the British government is so old, is so much a case of a country whose system has only “evolved” and never really been designed on any theory or model. For some reason the British seem to resist theory. They only seem to do “systematic” anything when they are stuck in a situation where they have no choice left. Cases like “The Great Stink” where they finally got London a very nice sewer or water cleaning system for the time is one example. (It’s too bad there was no comparable urgency surrounding the many cases of mass starvation in the colonies.). The biggest brightest shinning exception to the rule where it wasn’t to the point of desperation (where Parliament was inconvenienced too.) and rather fundamental reforms happened, would be the post-WWII economic reforms and inception of the NHS.

    Otherwise the rule seems to be “Stick to odd, eccentric, stop-gaps and half-measures and Carry On!” The British will not make any sweeping moves or engage with theory unless forced. And somehow they’ve managed to make that work for themselves for centuries when most other nations (even other relatively rich and powerful ones) probably could not have.

    It could be that the ability of Britain to “Carry On” without more fundamental measures to change their society has been on borrowed time for quite a while……and Brexit didn’t so much make this the case but was the final straw the broke the camel.

  6. Not sure how anyone can say the E.U. has been “propping” the U.K. up, bearing in mind that the U.K. has always been a net contributor to the E.U., the second largest after Germany. More the other way around I would say.

    • David Mac

      They pay in 12% of the EU Bidget and with a rebate that Thatcher demanded and got works out at £12 Billion of that they get back £8.5 Bn in EU Grants, For that, they get to sell 44.5% of their exports to the EU worth £368 Billion a very good deal plus exemptions from a lot of EU law, e.g, Work time directive, Schengen, Euro and lots more.

    • Sometimes there’s more to it than just Union Dues and cash inflows.

      One big area is that Britain has major issues with food security, and currently depends on the EU to import enough food for the people. Drivers and medicines are also biggies.

      I was thinking more of Britain having managed to survive as a modern country as long as it has after centuries of political and other institutions having evolved in such a strange manner….with a society terminally averse to any theoretical paradigm, and a govt with an amazing tendency to find the most deflating, hodge-podge way to do the absolute minimum to stave off revolution or disaster.

      As problematic as some aspects of the EU are, they provided a sort of structure that allowed the UK not much change its own.

      • “with a society terminally averse to any theoretical paradigm”
        That’s all very well in practise, but how does it work in theory? – attrib. to French minister at EU meeting.

        • I’m going to assume that’s apocryphal and likely a joke!

          Yes, the French have at times been known to go to the opposite extreme: too obsessed with theory.

          A lot of Britain’s institutions seem rather jury rigged. You could find more method to their madness at a hippie commune. Sometimes the elite’s institutions seem to be little more than a overgrown boy’s clubhouse. It’s amazing how so many of their top so-called “public schools” (still searching for the mystery to why they are called that) are actually run by these private trusts that turn over surprisingly frequently. I can’t think of another society that would assign so much prestige to such a strange set-up. The degree to which some funnels for Eton, Harrow etc have been run by three different trusts since the 70’s were shown in a documentary about various sorts of abuse in those places.

          Just having looked into a lot of British governmental institutions and more, it’s amazing this country ever had an empire. Compared to France with the mighty Napoleonic bureaucracy, their running seems made out of tissue paper and barely more put together than Tsarist Russia by comparison.

          • terence patrick hewett

            Public schools were initially started as charity schools ironically for poor scholars: public because they were not restricted by religion and they were subject to public management in contrast to private schools which were run for the profit of the owners.

  7. Monster independence marches continuing across Scottish towns and cities.

    All good natured but how long can it last. 63% voted to remain in EU.

    Over 52% now believed to want independence with percentage rising.

    Police Scotland have already spent over £7m preparing for civil unrest. That would suit the agenda of turning peaceful protest into hostile confrontation. Hostility suits the UK agenda and Westminster are desperate to suspend the Scottish parliament.

    Meanwhile from an across the water view ignorant of the dynamics in NI, it certainly looks like the UK are gaming for violence and the opportunity to harden and securitize the border.

    With all of the extensive surveillance in place accross the UK and NI, Johnson and his ilk would love a security crack down. Talk tough, act tough, the British no surrender mentality is truly extant in the British Brexit Right. They do not care if Ireland burns because it suits the agenda. Argentina after all reelected Thatcher.

    All quite depressing because it does not look as if common sense and consensuallity have any chance of success.

    But maybe NI will elect to rejoin a united Ireland and with Scotland electing to grasp independence.

    But will the UK establishment allow this to peacefully happen.

    Sadly I suspect not.

  8. Given the attitude of many English Brexiteers, they probably hope to get rid of NI and Scotland. That needn’t necessarily mean a united Ireland.

    • Were the Westminster government minded to get rid of Scotland and NI that would be just grand Jim.

    • David Mac

      25,000 UK soldiers are at present returning from Germany for good as bases are closing after 75 years, they will need to stick them somewhere and a lot of the red meat Tories want another crack at “Paddy”

      • Pat Murphy

        No doubt Uncle Sam will be fit to keep them engaged elsewhere. They might not find it as comfortable however. Hears hopeing.

        • I wouldn’t be so sure about that. The so-called “Special Relationship” has been on the rocks since Brexit. Not just because of Trump and Bojo but there have been a number of other issues that have cropped up between The US and Britain. From security and espionage issues to the fact that a lot Democrats and Republicans alike are pissed off that the UK wants such as sweetheart trade deal from the US after their conduct in negotiating with Belgium. A lot of the Washington establishment is mad at The UK for a list of things other than just Brexit related or the GFA. And a lot of ordinary people who actually admired Britain much of their lives are more than a little bit disillusioned.

          Also Trump has much of the population revved up in such a manner than any ill-conceived foreign “adventures” are likely to get a public response more like the one inspired by Vietnam than more recent affairs.

          • Pelosi is probably the last person the UK want deciding trade deals. Her father was a Baltimore Democrat & she worked her way up in San Francisco politics in the 70s. The Clinton’s will be leaning on her to preserve the last piece of their legacy. On top of not wanting to give Trump a victory.

            The Foreign War is a few steps further down the line, the next step is the legislation to intern dissidents – Cruz’s recent anti-antifa legislation for example.

            • Basically the UK is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”, position with trade deals. Many Republicans and some Democrats want the UK to ease up on EU regulations for any such deal. Whereas the whole Democratic party and many Republicans don’t want to see the GFA harmed.

              As long as each party has either The White House or at least one House of Congress, each party has considerable power over what kind of treaty happens.

              There are other issues such as the whole Huawei thing, which is not strictly Brexit related.

              Or the simple fact, that Britain has made a fool of itself on the world stage. Since the early Cold War it has been rare for US media to put the UK a negative light…….Brexit has changed that.

              Even Megan Markle marriage to Prince harry has probably harmed Britain’s rep in the US on balance. On one hand some people have asked Harry and Megan’s kids could be both inline for the throne and eligible to run for office (including POTUS) in the US. On the other the perception that Britain’s reaction to her might have been racist has affected some people’s perception of Britain.

              I still maintain that public resistance to a foreign war at this point is likely to equal or exceed what it did late in the Vietnam War.

              • Brexit is having an impact, one amplified by the demographic change in the US since the 90s – GenX/Y in the US are not the Anglophiles the WASPs were.

                Opposition to war doesn’t appear to ever make an impact on US policy – don’t forget Vietnam was ended because discipline in the US Army was about to collapse. Officers were getting fragged at an increasing rate. It was the pressure from the Pentagon wanting to get out before the army broke completely. Protests have never prevented the US entering a war.

                The next war may be too short for anyone to protest. With the INF gone and MK-41 launcher test this week demonstrating they could fire Tomahawks all along it is becoming frighteningly possible that the US is thinking a nuclear war with Russia is winnable. Time to dust off 99 Red Balloons/The Final Countdown.

  9. Chuck Schumer has come out in support of the Good Friday Agreement. And repeated Nancy Pelosi’s pledge on no UK/USA trade deal if the GFA is wrecked. That’s the two leading Democrats on Capitol Hill backing up the EU and Ireland.

  10. More psyops from the Brit state designed to fuel the angst of the anti brexiteers and spook the brexiteers. Bottom line is the spook selected BoJo will endeavour to breathe new life into Terry Mays fake brexit deal. Johnston was controlled opposition within the brexit side…….and he will prove it near the tiime.

  11. Boris is only interested in Boris you only have to look at his private life to see that. He will except a deal even if that deal looks a lot like the T May deal. And the funny thing is a lot of the Tory Eurosceptics will fall in behind him when the time comes.

    • terence patrick hewett

      Wishful thinking: if Boris does not deliver then Farage and the Brexit Party is waiting in the wings and the Conservative Party would be destroyed forever. As for his private life: the Brits have never worried about this – British history is littered with people with private lives like Boris ie Lord Nelson and Lord Palmerston to name only 2 – both had rackety private lives and the Brits simply did not and still do not care: only their opponents worried about it – and everyone laughed at them.

      The T May deal is dead – rejected 3 times by Parliament: if Boris can get past the September parliamentary challenge there will be a general election – which he will win: nobody can touch him as a campaigner. So it is No Deal: then negotiate with the EU Commission outside the EU.

      The trouble with the opponents of Boris is that they tend to believe their own propaganda: Boris is not and never was a buffoon – and he has a loyal, ruthless, talented and effective team around him who are taking no prisoners.

      The rules have changed – and the EU Commission is having difficulty in wrapping its collective mind around this – but changed they have.

  12. Prime Minister’s partner Carrie Symonds blocked from US visit. Refused entry into USA.

  13. Anybody got any thoughts on Boris Johnson suspending Parliament? The start of the next English Civil War could it really happen again? History repeating itself yet again.

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