Moon over Brussels


Brexit secretary David Davis, June 2017:

Half of my task is running a set of projects that make the NASA moon shot look quite simple.

And now, soon-to-be-prime-minister-select Boris Johnson:

Boris Johnson: ‘can-do spirit’ can solve problem of Irish border

Favourite to be PM compares Brexit to mission to put astronauts on moon in 1969

There is no task so simple that government cannot overcomplicate if it doesn’t want to do it.

Brexit has gone in two years from being as complicated as the first moon landing to being… as easy as the first moon landing.

To be fair, Johnson himself cannot be accused of inconsistency, as he insisted from the beginning that it would all be easy. Before the referendum:

Everybody is suddenly wrangling about the terrors of the world outside… Actually, there are plenty of people who now think the cost of getting out would be virtually nil and the cost of staying in would be very high.

And in 2017, as foreign secretary:

There is no plan for no deal, because we’re going to get a great deal.

Technical note: What is BJ talking about with this line?

If they could use hand-knitted computer code to make a frictionless re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere in 1969, we can solve the problem of frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border.

I understand this is a reference to the woven magnetic core memory, but it’s hard to see any connection to “knitting” other than a sexist dig at Margaret Hamilton, the NASA software engineer who has been getting so much attention lately.

But what could he possibly mean by “frictionless re-entry”? I almost suspect that he throws technical terms around without any concern for what they mean…

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