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"I'm here for a MOT check?" the young man said. The room was in a small office block with low ceilings and concrete walls. Good sound insulation but cold in the London winter.

"Take a ticket, please," said the clerk at the desk, "we'll be with you shortly." When the applicant took a ticket, the clerk nodded, stood up and left the room.

In the back office, Marorti Clusk, junior magical policy advisor (pay band 6), was trying to finish a sentence. "The Ministry-"

"The Ministry has no idea what's coming down the line." The site manager jabbed a finger at him. "Queues for days, for days, sir."

Marorti looked at the table in front of him. "Yes – thank you, that's what I'm hoping to explore today. I understand the Sunday and holiday time-expansion service will be affected by our break with Common European Rest Time –"

"It's a dead cert," the site manager chuckled, the chuckle of someone who had heard this joke, been delighted, and was now determined that everyone in their sphere of ken should be equally delighted.

"All right," Marty said. "The Sundays will be an issue. People won't have the same access to temporal extensions they did in the past. But they'll get used to it again, I expect. For most of its history, Britain didn't have any expanded time at all, and we were none the worse for it."

"Yeah yeah, two world wars and one world cup," the site manager said. "Never mind the mental strain of accelerated capitalist demands on the working classes, and the equality impacts thereof – "

"All right," Marty said. He looked down again at the table in front of him. This read:

 

Check Change Go!

Ministry of Thaumaturgy (MOT) service delivery area

 

Day One impact

 

90-day impact

 

6mo impact

 

Day extensions

Eg students, new parents, carers, cleaners, maintenance workers. Lack of sleep, work output impacts.

Knowledge workers – productivity and quality. Overall lack of capability (& growth unlikely due to exodus of skilled workers, see below)

Q1 Julian CY2021 – tourism loss (minor – we are a cold country)

Holidaymakers – summer tourism incoming

Agricultural workers in spring/summer – 18hr days no rest. How sustainable?

License recognition

No constraints on magicians practicing in Europe (& vice versa)

Mitigation: working towards a set of common standards

Risks: No milestones have been achieved to date on this work due to lack of clear policy goals (we are seeking steer from Cabinet)

Lower inward migration to UK (mitigation: better for overall targets)

Lost income from magical academies (academic year applications begin on Lady Day)

Skill loss/brain drain

Uncertainty across trans-Europe collaboration projects

Loss of 'soft' power, global prestige

Faery bondage status uncertain

Following UK departure from the rhetorical and legal concept of "Europe", fairies may no longer be bound by 1969 Napoli accords – this is unclear and we are urgently seeking further advice

RED/AMBER – will they harm us?

Risk low, impact high

Untidy homes – potential gender equality impact

Resourcing of: food prep, agriculture, brewing/viniculture, construction sectors.

Supply chain??

Food supply (rotting)

No beer in pubs

Etc

Europe-sourced device failure

Due to failure to agree ongoing power share agreement:

Failure of some magical devices in very rare and isolated cases

We have proactively identified most of these and are confident that the majority are manageable

OUR TARGET IS NO CASUALTIES OR DEATHS ON DAY 1

Loss of productivity

Mass unrest

Redundant purchasing (this may be an opportunity – "Buy British"!)

High level of redundant devices due to 70+ year history of common market, sourcing

Opportunities to find magic sources outside Europe! New Zealand?

 

Memorandum from Te Manatū Tūmatarau Magical Office of Aotearoa New Zealand, to UK Ministry of Thaumaturgy

Thank you for your proposals regarding a common magical agreement between the United Kingdom and Aotearoa New Zealand, which we have considered. Regarding the aspect of your proposal requiring "all former UK colonies to source magical goods and powers directly from the mother country", it is difficult to see how this could be enacted in line with the Crown's obligation to consider indigenous rights, welfare and sovereignty, as set out in the Treaty of Kaikōura. We look forward to continuing discussions with you on how we can form a mutually beneficial agreement, in line with our constitutional and Treaty requirements.

Memorandum from the Office of Witchcraft and Magic, Ministry of Culture, Australia

Thank you for your proposals, which we have considered; they are very interesting and we would be interested in discussing further. It is unclear when we will be able to discuss them in person, due to the current uncertainty, however we look forward to discussing them with you at the appropriate time.

Memorandum from Office Central du Thaumaturgie, Quebec-Canadie

Thank you for your proposals, which we have considered.


Outside the Minister's office, in the small waiting room, Marty put down the collected responses to last week's frantically drafted memo.

"We're fucked," he said.

Aoife, his colleague, looked up over her own papers. "Yes," she agreed.

"Six days," Marty said.

"Yep," Aoife said.

"Will you still be - "

"Don't know!" she said cheerily, "I suppose we'll find out."

The Private Secretary stuck her head in. "The Minister is ready," she said.

In the Minister's office, the Private Secretary sat in the corner, taking notes rapidly. The Minister folded his fingers. Marty cleared his throat.

"I just want to say," the Minister said, "that I have every faith in the fine staff at this Ministry."

"…All right," Marty said, before he could stop himself; he looked back down at his briefing.

"I think this Ministry is excellent, and I'm so proud to be its Minister."

"…Great!" Marty said. "Regarding the Day One risks and impacts, I'd like to use this meeting to take you through some of the outstanding issues and suggest some ways to move forward."


MINUTES: CABINET MEETING

The Magic Minister raised several issues related to potential risks [REDACTED]

Cabinet considered these points

This was noted to be of great seriousness

Cabinet agreed to consider this further as part of an overall package of mitigation approaches

ACTION: MOT to work up more developed policy proposals to discuss at a future time and Minister to bring these proposals to Cabinet


Marty walked home, past Shad Thames and its now-posh flats, towards Rotherhithe and the Finnish spa. The river crinkled under the late December sunlight.

"We're fucked!" Marty said to it. "We're fucked."

The river god, Lud, popped out. He very rarely did that, and Marty was briefly absolutely silent, mouth and eyes open.

"So what are you going to do about it?" Lud said, scratching his eyebrow with his trident. "You don't have to tell me things aren't looking well, I'm fed by the daughters of the North Sea and the Channel and the Zuider Zee."

"What am I going to do about it!" Marty said. "What am I going to - I'm going to write a policy paper."

He turned his coat collar up and miserably walked away to the south, leaving the river god vexed and unanswered behind him.