I witnessed Liz Truss from the Treasury and John McDonnell from Labour giving their separate views on things this morning. Ms Truss only gave forth on the standard Conservative rhetoric using more cliche statements than I can now recall, essentially telling us what a wonderful job the government were doing, what enormous energy and enthusiasm existed in the cabinet and so on and so forth. All very bland and meaningless. So I switched channels and had a look at John McDonnell looking quite bemused by events and again saying very little of meaningful substance despite Andrew Marr’s best efforts to coax an actual, credible policy statement out of him. These are the two people who have either a grip on government purse strings or aspire to do so. How very disappointing both were - in some part predictably, in other ways displaying a rather naive view of how things are going in this country. But that’s probably more to do with politicians playing secret games with each other rather than actually giving the electorate any substance to chew on. We are but expendable peasants after all.
It’s not hugely different in Trumpland. With the absence of a budget appropriation various government departments will stay at home this week whilst the fevered political machinations of Senate and Congress try and force an agreement that will enable those civil servants to go back to work. Trump himself seems quite unfazed by this event - in fact, does anything other than his Twitter account register on his fazeometer ? Yet all this chaos in the US administration seems not to upset the core Trump voters - he still has good grass roots popularity with that very populous band of blue collar America. How can this be, we might wonder - if such things happened here there’d be louder noises from all corners being heard - so maybe we should search for other explanations. Is it possible, for example, that his core voters don’t care what he does so long as he’s poking the establishment in ways that satisfy their desire to be a heard and recognised bloc of the US population - something, perhaps, that the classical Washington establishment have failed in the past to identify and respond to ? Or could it be that there are just so many blue collar citizens making up such a large percentage of the whole and who have been at the thin end of the Washington wedge for years just making their voices heard through Trump ? I doubt there’s a single answer to that but what it might tell us in the West - and Britain would do well to try and learn something from this seeming chaos - is that the unheard masses, if effectively mobilised to vote, can rapidly shift the status quo. Maybe Trump isn’t a great leader, but he seems to mean something to the average Republican American.
Turkey is attacking Kurds in Syria - again. This is not to help bring about an end to the civil war there, it is to do with Turkey eradicating an ethnic group that it imagines threatens its own status quo. That it brings yet more misery to the blighted state of Syria is not a factor, it merely exacerbates an already unpleasant era in Middle Eastern affairs. And Europe still wants Turkey to become either a full member or associate member. But if we’re honest, the EU played little part in preventing or buffering the events in the former Yugoslavia so why would we imagine that the Kurdish ethnicity is of any concern to them now. We live in a world where politics, power and influence reign supreme. Come to think of it, that’s been the way of things since time began....which might, perversely, explain the desire of blue collar America to punish the establishment through the highly vocal (but very limited vocabulary) of President Trump. Now things are really getting inter-twined !!!
Richard Branson’s hyperloop development looks incredibly interesting with the potential for mass movement of people and goods at astonishing speeds through maglev bogies that travel through a vacuum tunnel, ie, no atmospheric resistance. Like a lot of technology, it works on an experimental basis but finds the flaw in the amount of infrastructure change that would be necessary to get this established on a widespread basis. I’m sure it will happen in places like the US, Russia, China, etc, where there is vast physical space to build such an infrastructure but it’s difficult to see how such massive engineering works could be fitted around a country like ours, crowded and land protected as it is. But, the future is yet to be revealed - maybe this is the answer to traffic congestion, road pollution and swift logistical distribution. It’s certainly a fantastic bit of brainy’ism by clever folk thinking of the future. Go for it !