As the wrangling goes on over Brexit - from both sides of the divide - I’ve recently started to wonder if we - as the British - are suitable subjects to really make of this opportunity everything that could be made.
Reading the papers on issues ranging from changes to the laws on marital relationships, prisoners human rights, access to the justice system, our attitudes to diversification and liberal tolerance, the politicisation of our courts and civil service, the seemingly growing divide between younger and older generations and the general growth in social intolerance that we also seem to be experiencing these days all tempt me to give some thought as to what we, as a nation, will do with something as unique and unprecedented as Brexit.
As this blog has commented on before, during the last 100 years or so this nation has progressively withdrawn into a state of anxiety over just about everything, a state of risk aversion, of vacillation and diffidence. There are no doubt many valid reasons for this progression, not least the horrific and wasteful loss of life during WW1 shocking our then society so much that it left scars that are still visible today. But what this unwittingly has created is apathy, weakness, self interest, self indulgence and a mindset of ‘I’m all right, Jack, but sod you’. And this is not the cultural or societal model for making a success of Brexit. Our government are going through the motions of Brexit - we imagine - but the truth of much of their psychological and philosophical belief is wholly averse to taking the risk, of instituting such a significant change in our national position that they do not enter into the process with any sort of enthusiasm, rigor or belief. It is a task being forced upon an unwilling state institution and despite the best efforts of the Leave community they - the government - just do not get it...the real reasons why 17.4 million people voted to leave the EU in 2016.
And a similar scenario besets our general population. Most of the general population are probably sick and tired of the persistence of the Brexit debate, fed-up with the obscurity of it, fed-up with the cat-fighting and fed-up with the endless attempts of Remainers to try and sabotage it. And they come to this state of mind, of apathy, because we have launched Brexit through the auspices of a totally unsuitable government and are now at the point where nobody believes anybody about what is going on. Add this to the culture we have generated in this country over he past ten or twelve decades and there is evidence of a soft bedrock, a climate of inability. That all said, I fervently believe in the innovative and creative skills of Britain in being able to develop new opportunities and markets if it has the correct framework within which to embark on this mission. And that framework depends upon the commitment of our government, it’s real understanding of what it is doing and it’s skill at bringing it about. And that, unfortunately, takes us back to square one.
To add some fuel to this sentiment, it was disappointing to hear that Jacob Rees-Mogg had been physically prevented from delivering a speech at a Bristol campus this weekend. To some extent it’s what students do as they learn to flex their consciences over just about everything, but it helps the debate not one iota by obstructing and physically threatening anyone and it does the students themselves no credit for behaving like a mob. Yet it does illustrate the deep rooted beliefs and prejudices that still underpin our cultural state - and very few of them are attractive.
An interesting idea from Avon & Somerset police is to ‘hire’ unpaid volunteers to drive its police cars so that police officers can maximise their time on real police work whilst on the road. Being over the age of 25 and with a moderately clean driving history are pre-requisites but what happens when a high speed chase becomes necessary ? I can’t see the younger generation volunteering for such an unpaid role apart from those who imagine driving a police car at speed will be some sort of manic compensation, so that leaves the retired brigade for the most part becoming the potential volunteers. Do the police really imagine that this is a smart solution to cut-backs and budget trimming ? It’s innovative, but is it realistic ?
On a brighter note I see that The Spice Girls are likely to make a come-back for the benefit of Chinese tv. Let’s have them back here in Britain - we need a bit of racy, social zapping - though I fear the feminist brigade would not agree. After all, aren’t we all going to be gender neutral by 2025 ?