Home Class Politics It's Rather More Worrying If It's Not Cut And Paste

It’s Rather More Worrying If It’s Not Cut And Paste



It’s possible to explain why technocratic government doesn’t work very well. Because the technocrats aren’t very good at tech:

The EU-UK Brexit deal refers to defunct decades-old computer software such as Netscape Communicator as “modern”, raising suspicions that some of the text may have been copied and pasted in.

Online commenters gleefully shared the observation that page 921 of the painfully birthed trade agreement refers to Netscape Communicator – released in June 1997 – and Mozilla Mail as being “modern e-mail software packages”.

A section on encryption technology also gave rise to suspicions that officials simply pasted large chunks of text from previous documents into the deal, which has been lauded by its backers as the beginning of a new chapter in relationship between the UK and the EU.

Now there is that possibility that this is just a cit and paste but of course those Olympian technocrats who rule our lives could never be guilty of just a mistake. It has to be a clustershag, not just an error. So we are left with the certainty that they do in fact believe that these are modern online tools.

The thing being this isn’t, in fact, all that unusual, that those omniscient technocrats be a decade or three out of date.

For example, all the planning about climate change still works on the assumption that the RCP 8.5 scenario is the one that is going to play out. And yet we know, and have known for over a decade, that that’s simply not the one that is going to happen. It relied upon us running out of conventional oil and gas and so turning back to coal. That’s the central assumption. Not only didn’t we not run out we turned to unconventional oil and gas – fracking – and not back to coal. The more extreme predictions about climate change are therefore simply wrong. Yet all are still planning upon them.

Or equally that circular economy stuff because we’re running out of metals. We’re not. We know we’re not. But the planning still assumes we are.

And so on and on right through that system that would rule our lives in detail. They’re always a couple of decades behind the curve. Precisely because the groupthink among the technocrats is just that, the groupthink. Something which takes a couple of decades to gel and is therefore always a couple of decades out of date.

Hell, they think inequality is increasing – it ain’t.

Pissing about with Netscape is the least of it…..



  1. It’s simply that existing EU law and regulations have been taken verbatim into the Brexit trade deal in order for things to keep working in 2021. Changing even a single word would have required sign off from about 30 different countries, so we sensibly didn’t go there, but that meant that 20 year old technology references remain in the trade agreement, and the Guardian gets another chance at screaming “Look! Brexit bad!” Nothing to see, just the usual hysterics getting hysterical.

  2. The Register article about this by Gareth Corfield was pretty good. It’s a bit of a byproduct of bad EU management over time.

  3. I spent years writing document that had to be written but with almost certainty would never be read. My normal technique was to religiously ensure that the front dozen pages were perfect. I did the same for the last 4 pages too, but then deliberately introduced a spelling error and misplaced a couple of commas. In the middle of the document I would put something humorously wrong before sending it out for review. The reviewed documents would come back with suggestions, different for each reviewer, about minor changes to the first few pages. They would mostly mutter about missing commas and the spelling mistake at the end of the document and all make a pointless, often wrong, comment about some random page or two in the middle of the document. No reviewer ever mentioned the obvious error in the middle of the document.
    Had this Brexit publication been one of my documents I would have been delighted that some poor sod had apparently read it. Though it quite possibly was just a result of random sampling.


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in British English
expunct (ɪkˈspʌŋkt)
VERB (transitive)
1. to delete or erase; blot out; obliterate
2. to wipe out or destroy

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