Brexit – an analogy using git

One of my lectures from today was invited to a round table discussion with the secretary of state last week to discuss the impacts of Brexit within cultural heritage. The way she explained the Brexit process immediately made sense to me through a git analogy, so I thought I may write it down and share it.

Currently the laws of the UK and the laws of the EU exist in two different repositories. However, the UK repo has a dependancy on the EU repo. This is a fairly important and powerful dependancy, and the methods (laws) in the EU package have the power to override the methods outlined within the UK.

Ok – so lets break this down.
The UK repo is pretty confusing; it is an unwritten constitution and is thus in a state of continual evolution. It pulls it’s methods (laws) from statues passed in parliament (high law) and judgments from judiciary courts (common law). However, there is no one document which lays out the law, like the constitution in the USA. This is because of how the UK has evolved; absolute monarchy,  magna carter, civil war, commonwealth, the restoration of the monarchy etc. I could into great detail about the evolution of this repo and it’s dependancies but that is not necessarily the subject of this discussion.

The point, is that the UK repo is huge, difficult to imagine in full and is constantly changing.

The EU repo, on the other hand, is younger an yet more complex. The UK repo only has one organisation contributing to it; the EU has 28. One of the reasons that the UK voted to leave the EU is because of the sheer size of the EU repo; it’s complex and carries a horrific amount of technical debt. This means getting new methods implemented takes a years of never ending pull requests, which go back and forth between all different contributors who all want the pull request to do different things. It promotes this process as open and democratic but in reality the complexity of it makes the repo seem private rather than public.

Another reason the UK voted to leave is because people get really pissed that the EU methods automatically overwrite the UK methods.


So that’s the current status, what happens when we leave?

The day the UK leaves the EU, the UK will fork at the EU repo into the UK account, merging all of the methods within the UKs. Therefore, the methods will still be implemented, but we will escape the nightmarish system of creating new ones.
From this point, our forked EU repo will no longer be updated from source.

Then the pull requests will start.

Once we’ve pulled this the EU repo into our own organisation, all the UK contributors will fall upon all of the EU methods they do not like and they have not been able to change up till this point.

I am sure there will be good and bad things that come from this process, irritating and pointless legislation will be removed. However, be warned that companies with a lot of developers, with a lot of power in industries will crack down on methods they don’t like (e.g. large scale development firms will try to get rid of environmental laws and measures currently safeguarded by the EU).

Therefore it is crucial that after the repo is forked, we keep an eye on what pull requests are being made and what methods (or laws) are being changed by who.


So that is my take on the current situation – it’s is very hand-wavy and terribly vague and probably incorrect in large parts. Let me know if you found it useful, you agree/disagree with it or can find a way to improve it. Comment away!