WGPlus (Archive)

Editorial commentary;  Doomsayers in full flow! - Remember Y2K (or Millennium Bug) foresaw the end of the electronic age.

According to the IEA, Halloween may not be the most auspicious time to be talking about what happens if the Brexit negotiations break up without a deal.  But there are still plenty of scare stories to dispel – including planes no longer flying, cancer patients being denied life-saving treatment, and criminals running amok.

Firstly, a confession;  I was one of many public sector employees in London who were charged with responding to all the doom mongering predictions back in 1998 - 2000 – among which was the claim that most lifts would cease to function and hospital equipment stop working!

The media were all generally at panic stations as the ‘doomsayers’ flew around the world delivering their ‘message’ (for large fees) about the catastrophe which was about 18 months away (sounds familiar?)!

That was until we began to analyse the ‘problems’, co-ordinate our activities, draw up contingency plans and generally work out what we had to do to work in co-operation with all Emergency Planning Officers, local & national government departments, NHS, F&R, transport organisations, local businesses, etc.  These preparations included both local & London-wide meetings & conferences where everyone shared their concerns, state of preparation and plans.

Within our organisation contingency plans were drawn up, tested & circulated (in some cases for the first time ever!), computer systems evaluated, updated, replaced, or in some cases scrapped.  In general we questioned what we did & why, evaluated how we could do it better and eventually came to the conclusion the world would not end in the early hours of 01/01/2000.

In fact, by the night of the Millennium, our biggest fear in London was that a relatively warm evening would be followed by a freezing cold drizzle after midnight.  Things would then be complicated by someone ‘falling’ onto the underground track by Westminster, so that 1m+ people would then be forced to walk home, with many getting hypothermia! 

We should prepare for WTO trade, but that does not mean everything will grind to a halt IF we prepare in advance.  Chances are that if we prepare the EU will agree to co-operate.
Researched Links:

IEA:  UK has nothing to fear from a ‘bare bones’ Brexit deal

PC&PE:  Government response to Brexit - Trade in goods

Y2K bug | computer science | Britannica.com

Is the Year 2038 problem the new Y2K bug? | Technology | The Guardian

A GUIDE TO CONTINUITY PLANNING IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR