Whilst Mrs May continues her 'Smooth Wooing' of the EU member states, her selected ministers (those approved to actually speak to the public) line up in wait to see how things are going: 'Should we say this, I wonder....or that, maybe or best of all, nothing at all...' We still have quite a few sheep in the Cabinet who dare not bleat until given permission it seems. The PM's control obsession rolls on.
The PM has, of course, been attending the Munich security summit and using it as a means of trying to sway individual state leaders to see Britain's Brexit point of view. Nothing fundamentally wrong in that but it has illuminated some of the discord within the EU bloc itself. Whilst that might bring a wry smile to our faces it is not actually all that helpful to the Brexit cause. We need consensus in the EU just as much as we need it within our own government else we risk having endless conflict in reaching an agreement. One of the issues that has thrown itself up this week is not to do with the economics or trading future of Britain outside the EU (there are plenty of so called experts to tell us all about that), it is to do with a society, a culture, a way of life and - that much missing element in our recent history - a pride in being what we are. Such sentiments are often belittled by the guru's who claim the moral and intellectual high ground, but these aspects of Brexit, fluid and intangible as they often are, form the bedrock of what Brexit is really about. And surprisingly, there has been support from around some EU members for giving exposure to these usually dismissed but equally important needs. Brexit has to be - in part - about economics and trade; I don't think anyone could dismiss that notion, but it is also about re-building a fractured society, developing modern values, a sense of purpose and bringing back that ever so important bit of magic called national pride. Some will label all this as fanciful tosh or even xenophobic, others will dismiss society as a trivial consideration against the £ signs that they see as being more important in their lives. But those are the folk who have created the fractures in our society to start with and they should not rule the roost indefinitely. Brexit will raise challenges, and some may be painful for a while, but if we come out of this with a nation state that has belief in itself, in its innovative capacities and ability to be globally flexible then it will have succeeded well.
Henry Bolton has been ousted from UKIP, the much troubled vehicle that helped so much to bring the vision of Brexit about. It's not really a surprise in our present day 'finger pointing' culture where blame has to be laid at somebody's feet as long as it's not your own. Yet on a wider basis it is a bad day for British politics. UKIP has represented the views of many in the recent past and provided a political voice for many of the concerns that the forgotten electorate needed to be considered, for despite its image UKIP did have policies outside of the realm of Brexit which the Westminster Club dismissed as being beneath them. Two Party politics in this country is no choice at all when each of those players weave and dance about each other for purely political advantage. They seem to have lost the concept of government being something to do with the entire country, not just themselves. If UKIP can survive and rekindle those lost voices, it'll be no bad thing for the political classes to be respectful of.
On that topic of two-party politics the media have picked up, again, on Jeremy Corbyn's rather dubious past. Thirty or forty years ago it is probably what impressionable young socialists dreamed of - a touch of brotherhood with the seat of socialist ideology in Moscow and its satellites. Every budding student in those days fancied himself as a revolutionary of some sort (and perhaps still do). Yet we are quick to condemn. What, we may ask, is the difference between a bit of youthful socialist ideology occurring during the Cold War and, for example, the acceptance into our society of an organisation like Sinn Fein along with its arch practitioners of yesteryear ? And what is the difference between that youthful exuberance and the fact that we know full well that the Russians have interfered not just in the US political process but also our own as well as being responsible for ceaseless cyber corruption of our state organisations which - politically - we have not really challenged. I don't care for Mr Corbyn or his policies, but in fairness we have the kettle calling the pot black on this occasion.
The Oxfam saga is another illustration of how warped our society has become. The revealed practices are indeed reprehensible but we are glorifying in them, sensationalising them and feeding off a moral perch of sanctimonious superiority. This is the mark not of a healthy society but of a venal and gratuitously self-centred one. May it soon end.