Bristling Brock speaks out...


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Britain seems to be teetering on the edge of some novel twist of economic-political-social forces over which the government clearly has no handle upon.  Having weathered the bulk of the corona saga without too much of a political price to pay they have now embarked upon what looks like some perverse suicide mission to destroy themselves.

Every utterance by a government minister seems to be so bland and full of obfuscation that increasingly large swathes of the population are now virtually ignoring them completely.  Add to this the crass and virtue signalling antics of other social influencers like the Archbishop of Canterbury and even F1 drivers and you get a scope of messaging hitting the headlines which do nothing more than irritate and annoy the majority of thinking people in Britain.  Therein lies the issue.  Nobody is speaking plainly, succinctly and with any measure of clarity.  Nobody in a position of authority and leadership has managed to grasp the very evident elephant in the room  - that of telling the population the exact way it is.   Listening to Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson and Alok Sharma - who are only the tip of the iceberg - there is not a word spoken that says anything like: ‘Look folks, we’ve made a lot of mistakes with this pandemic, but we’ve truly been learning as we go along, so stand with us whilst we put our new experience to work in getting things back to’ll be tough for a while and we have a lot of gaps to fill, but it’ll take time to achieve it all...there’ll be some who gain and some who won’t, I can’t guarantee we can save everyone in this endeavour, but we’ll try our darned best !....’  Clear, plain speak, honest speak, speak from the soul is what the country craves.  It doesn’t want to hear the repeated platitudes spilled out from bland ministers every single day which serve only to alienate rather than encourage support.  Read the mood, Prime Minister - you’re bold enough to react in a positive way if you just ignore your guru’s for a while and follow your instincts.   And if Mr Cummings is the strategist behind this endless spouting of nothing, You, Mr PM should recognise that he’s long past his sell by date.  Time to change the record.

The shift by China we are currently witnessing from being a large but colourless political entity to  an outspoken, provocative and threatening one is possibly the facade slipping from the real face of that vast and almost amoebic like country that uses money and technology to spread its influence across the globe.  That influence is now very significant in world affairs, and even at the very fringes of its scope we see the pervasive grasp of the Chinese - Bristling Brock’s local golf club is now owned by the Chinese (though BB hastens to add that hitting a small white ball with a long stick seems a pointless enterprise in his view).  What this characterises, however, is an economic subversion of foreign institutions and by association it is a subversion of culture, socio-economic habits and preferences and ultimately of national governance.  It is an effective but highly dangerous scatter-gun of pellets assailing the West.  Robust responses need to be made, whether the Chinese threaten reprisals or consequences or not.  This is not a time to prevaricate and act in a mealy mouthed political way.  Aggressive actions by a predator need to be identified and dealt with without fear.  If history has taught us anything, it should be that at the very least.

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We might as well assume the corona pandemic is over - or not ?  There are swathes of the population who seem to think it has passed and there are likely other swathes that still take its presence seriously.  All down to mixed and ambiguous messaging ?   The government certainly haven’t excelled at concise communications of late and, inevitably, the interpretation of that most ambiguous phrase, ‘common sense’ has led to a wild and varied interpretation by blocs of the population to suit individual points of view.  The equally inevitable result is chaos.   In some cases it could be argued that the freedom to express common sense has led to a mob response with total disregard for community, welfare and security.   Is that the natural result of three months of lockdown or is it a pre-existing and inherent characteristic of our society and new culture ?  Bristling Brock is more than a little hesitant about the use of the word ‘culture’ in this context for there seems to be little evidence of respect, dignity or appreciation of value in the way this new culture appears to be unfolding.  ‘Mob’ (in its widest of usages) seems to sum up so many aspects of life we are currently witnessing with individuals re-adopting that persona to justify the ruination of everything that has gone before in the hope that their new Utopia will suddenly leap into its place.  How absolutely absurd such a view would be, eh ?  Yet we are seeing it around us, day by day.  Not just in the mainstream media but in microcosms of stupidity, everywhere at national and local levels.  The one that caught BB’s eye this morning was the apparent agreement by some local authority in Cambridgeshire to approve the building of a Huawei research facility within Britain’s premier technological campus - at a time when Huawei is about to be rightly ejected from the 5G development in this country.  What madness.  What inward, selfish thought processes at work that imagined this was a good idea.

Things aren’t that much better in Trumpland.  Extremes of every hue seem to be on display there for the world to gape and wonder about.  If nothing else, the Corona pandemic has unleashed a pent up horde of dissatisfaction over national and local governance which is uncertain for the moment to be seen as just a passing phase.  If more permanent we may soon be witness to some pretty radical swings in social behaviour.  The corollary to this bizarre display of human emotions in the wider West (or should that read ‘wild West’ ?) is what the enigmatic Chinese and Russians are thinking about what is going on.  Whilst they undoubtedly have a a few issues of their own, their international strategy is to destabilise the West by social and economic subversion - and whether they are involved in the incidence of mob activities around Western states or not, they are reaping benefit from the upsurge of anti-government sentiment and the stamping down on the notion of plurality of opinion and the freedom to express that opinion.  The West needs to take note - reform, yes, destroy and forget, no, for there are those who will quite willingly bring down the central tenets of democracy unless we impose clear, fair and firm governance.

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We'll start today with a little look at Trumpland and the build up to their November elections.  It's an infinitely tedious process of fundraisers, rallies, speeches and travel as the two candidates parade themselves amidst their adoring supporters in a positively vulgar and egregious style - so much so it's enough to make the blood of an Englishman curdle.  As for the supporters themselves, it is sometimes hard to grapple with the imbued narrow mindedness of those that the media tend to pick out for comment.  It's very tribal, very introspective and, unfortunately, it is a glimpse of a society that remains fractured, disparate and in many respects dysfunctional.  We in Britain might have a different dynamic to political elections but we should not look entirely at the US with our noses in the air, for we also have cadres of political support that are immune to reasoned argument, rationale and progressive change.  But let us stick with the US for a moment or so....

The John Bolton revelations of insider White House chit-chat reinforce the view many in the non-US West see as typical behaviours and practices within recent American politics.  It has risen to a crescendo of insult and counter-insult, sackings intended to silence non-conformists, of ludicrous diversionary outbursts and cringing displays of political savvy and technique.   Yet whilst some traditional supporters of Trumpism have clearly begun to waver - perhaps they are actually thinking now - there are many that are cemented firmly in the Trumpist, right-wing camp.  The real peculiarity amidst this bizarre political circus is that some of that right-wing, off-the-page theatre has actually worked, not least in the case of the US economy.  Admittedly, the corona pandemic has messed much of that up - as elsewhere - but the underlying truth is that the US has uplifted itself and performed way beyond previous era's to be the only realistic economic challenger to China in the West.  Was that due to Trumpism or circumstance - we'll never really know, but the none too shy President is quite happy to take the credit.  And a force against Chinese economic and cultural influence is surely a necessary strategy in a world where the exploitation of a neighbours weakness has become commonplace.   Bristling Brock is no advocate of Trumpism, but grudgingly the rest of us need to concede that we all need that bulwark against invasive Chinese meddling; which raises that other spectre of Russia.   Quietly watching, undoubtedly active beneath the radar, and waiting for the moment when Western weakness is at a tipping point...and we've seen a few indicators of that in recent weeks.

Back home, we're still gripped by the risk of COVID-19 refreshing its assault upon us.   Perhaps the biggest mindset to change in all this is that COVID isn't likely to disappear, with or without a useful vaccine.   There is every probability that it will remain endemic amongst us.   So that requires one key thing to acknowledge - the acceptance of risk.   We have nurtured an almost universal risk-averse culture, one that seeks to mitigate any perceived risk whatever.  The reality, of course, is that risk is as endemic as COVID might become - it cannot be eradicated entirely.  So we need to come to terms with the fact that whatever we do in response to COVID in particular, we'll be taking risks.  Proportionately, they are the necessary risks to be taken in order to get economic activity functioning satisfactorily again and these are weighed against the risks of a continuing and active presence of this virus and the effects upon our communities.  The bald truth is that both the virus and a non-active economy will kill us.  So we have to make a judgement call.  Do the economic factors now outweigh the medical ones ?   And the undeniable response to that is an emphatic 'Yes'.  Unless we work we'll suffer more privations in the future, more susceptibility to disease and social disorder, more chaos (perhaps exactly what China and Russia hope for) and a disintegration of that which has taken a thousand years to nurture.   Risk is inevitable.  We just need to recognise that. 

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