Bristling Brock speaks out...


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The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement will be activated on 31st January and continued alignment with EU regulation will continue up until the end of December, 2020.   Beyond that is pure speculation - deal or no deal, you might say.   Yet this is the process that is now in motion - whether it is liked or not - so is it not incumbent upon every UK citizen to make the whole dynamic work to mutual best advantage ?  Isn't it better for the country to get behind this generational political shift and make it a great success - for what will it achieve if there is continued moaning and groaning that disaster is looming ?   For those comfortable with the dynamic of leaving, it is not so with a sense of 'having beaten the Remoaners', rather it is with a sense of future opportunity, expression and, of course, national sovereignty being re-ignited.  Triumphalism - that over-used word - is not, for the most part, anything to do with the occurrence of Brexit, quite the opposite.  It is a renewed belief in what Britain stands for, what it is capable of doing, its direction of travel and its future national identity.  Whether we like it or not, every country is different - we can still be friends, but we have different priorities, values and beliefs in so many things - and that, for Europe in particular, was a destiny forged immutably over a thousand years ago when the very nature of national identity emerged.  We can become Pan-Global citizens with some common objectives, but those do not subsume those objectives of the nation state.  What we strive for is common purpose, common action and common recognition of those issues that affect us all - but beneath that aspiration there are people - you and I - who, by virtue of being part of the human species, have views, opinions and arguments that the sovereign state should be prepared to take account of in its international relationships and governmental positions.  Idealistic ?  Maybe, but it is a gold standard to aim for.  The times of division need to end.  Britain must get working on making the exit from the EU a political, social, judicial and economic success because if we continue to squabble and sulk, we won't get to where we need to be.  And that would result in die-hard Remainers exhorting triumphalism - but to no meaningful end.  So let's all just get on with making Britain a success again.

The Labour Party leadership contest was always going to be a mixture of comedy and bizarre posturing.  Engulfed in socialist doctrine, none of the contenders have properly recognised the need to translate this into meaningful stratagems that benefit the population.   It is a depressing burlesque show, for the reality of democratic, parliamentary governance is that there is government counter-balanced by effective opposition.  Effective opposition has been absent from our democracy this past 10 years due to the Labour Party writhing with the contradiction of the perfect socialist state against the reality of democracy - the two of which are never likely to meet.  Here, in the third decade of the 21st Century, we still have Marxist purists believing in their souls that this can be mutated with an increasingly diverse British population that long ago understood that purism and pragmatism seldom function together.   To get an effective opposition in parliament, we need some pragmatists at the helm.  Of the present contenders, only Lisa Nandy stands aside of the others as being a realist.  Whether she has the wherewithall to translate that into becoming a future prime minister is still an open question - the others have no hope.   And, as all the pundits have already remarked, whilst she may be the best of a poor bunch, she will not get elected by virtue of the Labour movements voting system.  You could call it masochism, couldn't you ? 

Iran maintains its aggressive world position with a zealotry and messianic fervour that few of us in the West recognise or understand.   It's not clear to BB what Iran even wants out of this positioning unless its true desire is to develop a nuclear arsenal that can be used against Israel.  But then they would invoke Armageddon upon themselves and countless others in the region - is that what they aspire to, a war defined passage to their paradise ?  It can only be hoped that the rising opposition to the Iranian theocratic regime will start to have a major influence over future developments.

Trumpy has recruited a cohort of celebrity associated lawyers to defend his impeachment case.  It's probably wise that he doesn't defend himself as his ability to use language in a convincing and authoritative way is clearly not his strong suit, nor is his ability to be self-deprecating (having recently listened to his views on climate change and '...all these gasses spewing out...' it is abundantly clear that his self esteem far outweighs any sense of realism or understanding - or indeed, expression).  It'll be an interesting episode, no doubt being closely observed by Netflix, Amazon and others with a view to launching a major new mini-series on the affair.  God Bless America !

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There is a current spate of very poor quality reporting - globally - that is creating news from a platform of often almost non-existent facts.   It's been going on for quite a time, but in this early start to the new decade there is a vacuum of substance in the news world arena that has led to serious faced 'journalists' appearing on tv, and in the written dimension through newsprint, telling us a story - be it Ukrainian airline disasters, Harry & Meghan, global disaster apocalypses, assassinations, terrorists, etc, etc, etc - that are based on mere extrapolations of the flimsiest fact and reality.  The big problem is that these sources, by repetitive telling, transfer speculation into fact in the minds of significant parts of any population.   By telling the same thing over and over, no matter how baseless the storyline might be, the fiction becomes the fact, the unusual becomes the norm and the gullible become influenced.

The question, therefore, might be, 'How important is that ?'  Do we accept, in the round, that the news we hear and read is gospel or do we adopt a cynicism that questions everything we glean from media outlets ?  Do we place the responsibility upon the channels that pump news and information at us 24 hours a day to be responsible, professional and impartial or do we select those channels of information in some sort of hierarchy of credibility that places, say, The Daily Telegraph in a higher and more believable position than a tabloid like The Daily Mail ?  Whichever position we adopt, we actually never really know whether we are hearing fact based truth or speculation and opinion.   Extend that gloomy thought further and look at literature, science. history and countless other respectable disciplines and you might reach the same conclusion - each is based upon some fact (or so we suppose) but much of what we read in these contexts is an interpretation of a small amount we do know into a wider portrait about which we all, individually, draw a conclusion.  Nobody has an identical 'interpretation process' that can consolidate an absolute picture.   Some geneticists have distinguished this phenomena as being unique to us as the Homo Sapien species, a species capable of thinking up fictions and scenarios that suit our individual chemistry, wiring, DNA, etc in a way that enables us to position ourselves in whatever circumstance we find - a sort of individual world that we encapsulate ourselves within to explain the complexities of life in general and, perhaps more importantly, help us create, innovate and evolve.  Deep and searching stuff, but it reminds BB, that the world we live in is increasingly commercialised and competitive and the media are just a fragment of that whole - but with profit always underpinning their output.

Now onto trains.  In particular, the beleagured operators who really give every impression of not really knowing what they are doing.   Here we have classic instances of profit driving the service rather than service driving profit.  The woeful competence of operators like Northern Rail and the Trans-Pennine Express with ever hiked fare prices, diminishing and unreliable service lead us inexorably to the conclusion that public services should not be in the hands of private enterprise that decide to buy rolling stock from Spanish companies that didn't understand the specifications, and left the poor old commuter for ever grinding his teeth at the absence of trains themselves, drivers and a coherent timetable.   BB shudders at the Corbynite notion of public ownership but surely there must be some dynamic to empower government to intercede and keep these poorly managed franchises on track...

The Labour Party are going to drag us through three months of leadership squabbling.   None of the current candidates is that inspiring - could you actually imagine any of them as Prime Minister ?  Hopefully you cannot.  But we are all going to be exposed to the wailing and teeth gnashing of hard left-wing exponents, of centre-left exponents and - just possibly - a centrist. The outcome will, I regret, not improve Labour's standing - not because BB has any empathy with that party but because the exercise of democracy through parliamentary governance needs an effective opposition.  Right now, a continuance of that absence seems likely. 

It's difficult to decide whether to congratulate Trumpy on some master-stroke foreign intervention that he knows something about that we don't (hard to imagine, I know) or to wonder whether bluster and sheer spontaneity rule his thinking about such adventures as killing off an Iranian terrorist in Iraq.  He continues to dumbfound.   His support in the US seems sound (BB always finds it extraordinary how many rednecks he can conjure up to listen to him), he looks likely to win the next presidential election (though perhaps that may be as much to do with a very poor Democrat opposition), and he holds such a high opinion of himself that, despite everything, is almost convincing !   What an enigma. 




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At this time of the year, news is both scarce and thin and by default the media resorts to something akin to an introspective look back at times past - and passes its varied verdicts off as sage and knowing advice.  

There are, nevertheless, occasions when looking back does have some merit and, perhaps more importantly, some relevance to the future.  Having just read Charles Moore's Telegraph editorial on that subject it has prompted some related thoughts on what was and what might be a route plan for the immediate future.  Let's consider what has become known as the metropolitan elite, a term used generally to describe the professional and intellectual superiority of those establishment hopefuls orbiting around London's glittering astro-belt (for which read: inside the M25).   It's usually a term of derision when applied north of that magical aura but it has come to symbolise a social detachment of those living in the south-east of Britain from the rest of the country.  Endless statistics bandied about lend support to the weight of privilege that the region deservedly feels is appropriate of that hallowed population of the south-east and, by extension, the reciprocal thought toward the rest of the country is one of condescension and non-inclusiveness.   Now let's look at this perception from a different angle...

Metropolitan elites exist everywhere in this post industrial Britain of ours - it surrounds every urban connurbation like a cultural badge of achievement and has no especial regional exclusivity any more.  That this is now a widespread cultural adoption tells us several things; that we are a changing society, that cultural practises and traditions are shifting and that there is still a desire to rise above the masses by whatever means - that most basic of human instincts.  It also tells us that our societies are moving apart, some being entirely left behind and even discarded from any strategic inclusion in this gold-rush desire to have everything, display everything egregiously, disregard the conventions of society and make ones own life-rules up as circumstances present themselves.   On the face-of-it, it's an 'I'm alright Jack' mentality.   Behind that broad brush-stroke position, however, there are undoubtedly many who might be described as metropoloitan elites that have deservedly achieved their positions.  The insidious part of the collective description is that there are many more that have moved into this perceived category of 'superior humanity' by many means which could be described as immoral, deceitful, exploitative and even anti-social.   Stepping on the heads of those mired in the swamp rather than offering a helping hand is something Britain is becoming used to as the divisions - political, social and economic - become more and more commonplace.

We see this reflected in our obsessions with politically correct language, the manipulation of the judicial system where money trumps right, where disregard for the rule of law becomes the norm, the corruptions of public figures that spot-light the frailties of humankind in ways we so love to entertain ourselves with.   We have the manic desire to declare everybody as being equal by colour, gender, race, religion and just about everything else yet not wishing anyone else to invade that space which is the so much desired 'elite' position.  Hypocrisy has come to rule us - again, for if we use Charles Moore's yardstick, we've seen this all before in our history, countless times.   The lesson of history - if we see that as having any relevance to modern day life - is that it has always failed to provide what the elites desire - that exclusive entry into that imaginary clique we call the establishment, the ruling class, those that are born to be above the swamp.  And the reason why - because societies have an unfathomable way in which to regulate themselves, to adjust and re-balance so that an equilibrium position is brought back.  There will always be those that have more than some others, that is unlikely to change, but what our societies can do - and the recent electoral results are testimony to it - is bring about comparitively quiet revolution - or, as Mr Moore might term it, 'resurrection'.   

Britain is on the cusp of such a resurrection.  In leaving the EU there is a declaration of intent which has nothing to do with what critics would describe as populist nationalism, rather it has more to do with self determination, a social resurrection that will re-balance the public, economic and political structures of the country to reflect that Britain is a changing society with new ambitions.  And in support of this we have a new government that, for the moment at least, is promoting that concept of re-balancing.   We should never let those who believe they have a divine right to privilege win the day - for history has already shown us they cannot and should not prevail over anyone else in the land.   Now is the time for government to make momentous changes to the mood and hurt of Britain.  If the right people have been chosen then we'll see progress and Britain will make its mark across a much broader canvas than ever before - and we may then be able to consign 'metropolitan elitism' to the dustbin of history.    

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