Boris Johnson has opened up the governments plan to tell the British public how Brexit is going to proceed, what its advantages are and that it will be happening whatever the critics might try to achieve in stopping it.
In a peculiar sort of way I quite like Boris's approach to politics. It's simple, passionate and usually quite direct. But not yesterday. Boris was the opening speaker in a pre-prepared list of government ministers who will deliver the 'message' that the British public are craving to hear - if ever that was going to be so simple. Genial, upbeat and passionate he was, but his message was flabby, lacking in substance and, as ever on Brexit, it skirted the real bloc of information we actually wanted to know about - trade deals, immigration, borders, sovereignty of the courts, freedom to negotiate outside the EU, and so forth - and as such it fell rather flat. I'm quite sure had Boris said what HE wanted to say the message would have been very different but we see the hand of the arch-control wizardess, Theresa May, at work here - talk a lot but say nothing !
Next in line to spout forth is Philip Hammond who sits decidedly on the Remain side of the Brexit case. Will he say the same as Boris and remain on message according to his briefing we might wonder ? If the recent past is anything to go by, Mr Hammond will ignore the pre-prepared message and do his own thing and create even more controversy over cabinet unity - if he were to say anything more conciliatory then I doubt anyone would really believe that he'd been converted to praise Brexit.
So, the new campaign to tell us what we want to know is under way, a somewhat poor start we might conclude but almost certain to create sparks rather than harmony. Again, in that peculiar way, the controversy over Brexit is precisely what our parliamentary process is all about - debate, analysis and judgement - and perhaps we should encourage ministers to speak their minds rather than being held on a politically tight rein held by the PM. Unfortunately with Brexit, we have travelled down the road beyond the point where rational debate and consideration is likely (or timely) and we are now at the coal face with a pick-axe rather than a whopping great power drill. But wasted time is spilt milk as the old saying goes so we need to look forward, pick up the pace and quickly try and find the power drill we need to burrow through the EU's crusty exterior. And that means our team have to be robust about the issues that are embodied within Brexit and push for a deal - not some egregious climb down so that we end up with a motley assortment of bits and pieces. Now is the time to gird your loins, team, and get a bit of the Henry V spirit in you. Onward !!!
I see Trumpy is being quite careful with his words of late - how unusual that is - as he weaves through the ever expanding mire that seems to grip his White House administration. Revelations of wife beating aides and chiefs of staff who do rapid turn-abouts are very close to Trumpy's core vulnerabilities - that he too is something of a misogynist and position changer. If Porter the aide and Kelly the c-of staff are found to be compromising Trumpy's desire to steer onto more substantive matters of state then they will surely go and add to the growing trail of former White House officials who have bitten the dust this last 12 months. Does this not make you wonder how the US economy is doing so well when its government is patently beating itself to death ?
Still in Trumpland, the latest school shootings have shocked everyone. Regrettably this is becoming something of a routine occurrence in American schools - I believe Jon Sopel reckoned there had been 18 such incidents in 2018 alone ! To then hear gun-lobby congressmen saying that weapons control is a step-too-far at this stage is equally shocking. It may be the perpetrator who commits the act but it is the easy availability of modern weapons that enables these very disturbed people to put their madness into action. I understand the fundamental right of Americans to bear arms, that is part of their heritage and cultural development, but a point must surely have been reached now where the right to life must transcend the right to wield guns freely. Let us hope so.
South Africa has eventually got itself a new president - committed to developing the economy and widening opportunity for all South Africans. Noble aspirations, Mr Ramaphosa. But will he be able to achieve this with many believing him to be a corrupt businessman who has cleverly avoided the law ? Only time will tell, but history is not - unfortunately - on South Africa's side.