Bristling Brock speaks out...

 

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Well, despite Brexit affairs not leaping around too much at present (like our Parliament the Europeans have their sacrosanct August), I see we are at least chatting to the Irish over future border arrangements.  That can be no bad thing so long as a mutually agreeable solution is found.  Another thing that has dogged my thoughts this last few months is the question: 'If we've invoked Article 50 and declared a course of action, does this not allow us - under international law - to actively create new trade deals outside of the EU ?'  Now I'm no legal guru on this but it often strikes me as being absurdly unreasonable for the EU to bang on about our obligations to EU law whilst denying our sovereign right to agree trade matters to our future advantage.  We are going, we have formally told them so and we are on notice that on 29th March, 2019 we will be out.  Now stifle your hoorays just a moment !  Why, do you think, the British government is being so passive and 'reasonable' to EU officials over compliance to these demands ?  Why is our government not taking a more bullish position and telling the EU that we will strike such external trade deals as are appropriate to Britain's future so that there won't be that infamously phrased 'cliff edge' in March, 2019.  It all seems very one-sided - and I'm not dismissing the future value of a trade agreement with the EU - but we are seemingly headed for that cliff edge, not by dint of an absent EU agreement but because we have allowed the EU to dictate the terms of engagement in this process.  Should we not be out there, not just presenting the outside world with royal ambassadors but with gritty trade negotiators putting sound and reasonable trade agreements together ?  Passivity in these circumstances is not the answer - our negotiators need to toughen up and start telling the EU what we want out of this - not to the detriment of EU concerns but to ensure that we are not just rolling over and letting the EU play the game out until, they may hope, we change our minds.....

Now that raise yet further concerns in this story.  Is 'playing the game out' the British government's objective here also, discreetly appearing to be proceeding with Brexit but in actuality, not ?  That's very conspiracy theory'ish but in the world of high politics and money making there are clearly forces at work that do not make this a totally outlandish thought.  I truly hope it is outlandish, but....

A Labour MP has resigned under pressure from the Opposition front bench for saying something in public that, I suspect, many of us already believe.  The story of horrendous abuse of young white females by predatory gangs of - shall we say, ethnically different groups of men - shows how obsessively PC we have become in this country.  We mustn't call a spade a spade in case it offends someone, we mustn't declare a viewpoint for fear that we'll be overheard by the righteous PC brigade of believers, we mustn't even think that way for fear that it will terminally poison our minds against ethnic groups.  What absolute tosh this position leads us to.  When a free, democratic society cannot express itself then we are on the road to ruin.  This is not to advocate hostility toward any ethnic group but it is to advocate that there are problems to be addressed, openly and without fear of recrimination.  It applies to majority groups as well as minority groups - let us be grown up about the world we live in.

Amazingly, I find myself actually agreeing with a President Trump statement.  The Charlottesville  crisis has brought American race relations back to the fore and it is clear that in many areas there is still an undertone of racial bigotry.  We shouldn't condone this on any level but Trump, despite being somewhat late in declaring his position on this riot has, I think, quite reasonably commented that this was not a singularly one-sided affair.  White supremacists were part of the problem but it increasingly is evident that the counter force to this riot, extreme left-wing activists, were also significant contributors to the anarchy.  As always, innocent and peaceable protesters get caught up in the frenzy and the media inevitably focus upon that element of this human drama.  Perhaps there are no absolute rights and wrongs here, just people expressing their viewpoints in different ways.  But extremism of the far right and the far left is unacceptable.  A moderate middle ground allowing all sides to express openly and without fear of expression is surely what America's founding fathers wrote into their often quoted constitution.  The pulling down of a statue is the tip of the iceberg.  America has history just like we do and the representatives of past era's should not be vilified for what they did then - for they are part of the very fabric that makes up a society....but for that conflict 150 or so years back, America would not be the broadly liveable space it is now.  All protesters should remember that history plays its part in everyday lives.