Now that The PM is back from Brussels and flushed with a sense of achievement, she has embarked upon some bold words intended to reinforce her credentials as a Brexit negotiator and her determination, nay grit, at getting the job done.
There is some achievement in getting the Phase 2 negotiations prepped and ready but the emphasis must be on the word ‘some’. The government, the PM in particular, are giving an impression that whilst there is a tough process ahead there is going to be a beneficial outcome for Britain in the end. Yet they have not the slightest idea what lies ahead because the EU haven’t agreed to tell them. What they have agreed is that Phase 2 can commence on matters like security, technology and, eventually, trade. What they haven’t declared is what terms and conditions they will apply to this phase. And as we all discovered in Phase 1 the general idea on terms and conditions was that Britain gave the EU whatever it wanted. So, much as I’d like to hear the PM giving us some positive news and getting a bit bullish with it, the reality is that she has very little to crow about...we have capitulated on EU demands for Phase 1 and there is every prospect that we will do so again in Phase 2.
Is there something in the modern day psyche of the British that makes us revel in some sort of glory in defeat ? If we look from the end of the Great War to our present time, we have a catalogue of events, crises, upsets, call them what you will, that can only be described as utter messes that are then attempted to be painted as something quite uniquely glorious and the personification of our plucky and gritty national character. Ranging from very dubious Brexit negotiations via our abysmal Ashes performances through to a crazed obsession with paedophilia and sexual harassment we portray ourselves as weak, debased and not very accomplished yet quite happy to tell the world that we gave it our best shot but unfortunately we didn’t succeed. The flip side is that Britain has got a lot to shout about with its innovations, creativity and drive - but that doesn’t really make a juicy story for the headlines - we’d much rather put our stoic faces on and tell the world that whilst we’re a bit bruised, we’ll soldier on. That’s us, stoic in the face of chaos and often humiliation. Forget about what’s great in Britain, that’s not a story that reinforces our stoic grit is it ? Well, it should be. We should flag up our successes, our achievements and our national spirit and in that we should demand government that is equally upbeat and truthful, open and courageous. We do not want to hear about what we wanted always being compromised, watered down, thrown out or just ignored and replaced by meaningless sound bites from politicians/sports personalities/apologisers who haven’t the skill or gravitas of character to get what the public have mandated them to get - success. And maybe that’s another key word - success. It’s something of a dirty word in our lives - we like to knock successful people down, we accuse them of this and that and we denigrate the very stuff of what makes success and what results from it. Instead, we celebrate this almost morbid attachment to glorious failure.
Now is the time to put an end to this preponderance to be negative about who we British are. We surely won’t do everything right but we will do some things right. So let’s put some grit in our belly and some pride in who we are and get rid of this dark and fouled attitude that failing is some sort of success. It patently isn’t. And I apply that thought to every one of us - from kids in the playground through parents to workplaces and to the seat of our government. Let’s play to win, set our minds to each and every task and let’s get the best there is to be had from everything. We built one of the greatest empires the world has ever seen and we didn’t do that by accepting failure as some sort of compromise success. Our mindset, our belief, our pride and faith created that empire and whilst those days are passed we still need the same cultural outlooks, determination and beliefs that our forefathers did. And I really hope the PM will cease crowing and start putting some true grit back into what she is doing.