‘Operation Black Swan’ spawns wild speculation over a no-deal Brexit

There was speculation Wednesday that the “Operation Yellowhammer” documents may have been altered prior to public release. The BBC reports that the documents were originally labeled “base scenario” and changed to “worst-case scenario,” likely to ease the public’s panic, as the documents show that a no-deal Brexit would be dire.

Speculation is rife surrounding the alleged actual worst-case scenario documents, similarily dubbed “Operation Black Swan.”

Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, whose responsibilities include preparing for a no-deal Brexit, denied the Black Swan allegations on Twitter.

“We don’t normally comment on leaks – but a few facts – Yellowhammer is a worst case scenario – v significant steps have been taken in the last 3 weeks to accelerate Brexit planning – and Black Swan is not an HMG doc but a film about a ballet dancer…” Grove wrote.

Yet people remain unconvinced. Members of Parliament, British politicians, and others have alleged that they have seen the Operation Black Swan documents.

“I know those papers exist because I saw them in March & the updated versions must be published,” MP Anna Soubry wrote.

https://twitter.com/EvendenKenyon/status/1172097801309904899

Rosamund Urwin, a reporter for the Sunday Times, received the leaked Yellowhammer documents prior to the official release and confirmed the documents she received were labeled base scenario rather than worst-case scenario.

“What’s different about the new Yellowhammer document that the government has just published compared with the one I got hold of last month? The heading,” Urwin tweeted. “What did the version I had say? BASE SCENARIO Now what does the new one say? HMG Reasonable Worst Case Planning Assumptions.”

People are now demanding to see the Operation Black Swan documents. “I strongly believe that there is more to #Yellowhammer than meets the eye. Where’s #BlackSwan?” one Twitter user asked.

Some are associating Operation Black Swan with recent instructions from the British emergency services, asking the public to prepare emergency bags.

“#BlackSwan is why we are told by the Govt to get an emergency bag together with everything we need for survival when we are ordered from our homes. When extremists take over nothing can be predicted. It happens in other countries,” one Twitter user speculated.

Others tweeted depictions of the “Grab-and-Go Bags,” detailing exactly what is supposed to go in them: phone, charger, batteries, flashlight, radio, first aid kit, personal toiletries, seasonal clothing, food and water, whistle, pen and notepad, and an emergency plan.

Overall, people are very upset over the Yellowhammer-Black Swan debacle.

READ MORE:

Siobhan Ball

Siobhan Ball

Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org