Well, Chequers has come and gone, a little like Christmas, but has anyone any clue as to what went on ? Reportedly, all the cabinet ministers present left in high spirits and apparently in agreement on the decision made. Errrr, what decision might that be then ?
If we believe what is leaked - it's extraordinary nowadays that we have to rely on 'leaks' to get any insight into what government is up to - then they have collectively agreed that they will ensure that Britain maintains a comparable standard of business regulation to that of the EU until such point as it [Britain] may decide otherwise and that any disputes arising from this parallel regulatory system would be arbitrated upon by and independent committee (!!!!!) and its proclamations would be binding. Now for particular industries we can see that there needs to be conformity in matters like quality, methods of manufacture and so on, so in that context the agreement has some general sense. As to whom the 'independent committee' might be made up of is an interesting one and, frankly, I can see that creating more dispute than resolving others. But let's not be negative, what else did they decide as Britain's negotiating position for Phase 2 ? Errrr. Well, nothing else actually. Excuse me, the cabinet chats for 8 hours and only comes up with something akin to ISO9002 ! Did they discuss nothing else ? Apparently not and so the regulatory system would appear to be the central tenet of Britain's Phase 2 negotiations. Wunderbar, we might exclaim, if that is all that we have to thrash out then we must be all but home and dry. Me thinks not. The EU is hardly going to see that as being the core platform of Phase 2 - what about borders, tarriffs, immigration, EU citizen rights, the length of the transition period, the nature of Britain's relationship with the EU during transition, etc, etc, etc ? Are our cabinet so naive or has the 'leak' been officially restricted to just that one topic ?
The answer to that last question is that we'll never really know, such is our governments penchant for saying a lot without informing anything. I agree that the government should keep a few aces up its sleeve but the broad principle of the Brexit thrust is now long overdue for revelation. Not only is this bad for business and its forward investment decisions but it is bad, electorally, for the Conservatives and more than likely to provoke EU resistance by virtue of its generality. If the government are relying on the suspicion the electorate may have of a potential Labour administration then they are being foolhardy in the extreme. The electorate have a habit of punishing the party that lets them down irrespective of what the alternatives may be - and if the latter did occur then we'd truly be up a creek without a paddle.
Astonishingly, polls are telling El Trumpo that his popularity is increasing. This has come from an exhaustive poll of just 500 Americans - that's a mammoth 0.00026% of the US population so it must be representative ! This same poll also claims that the 'majority' of Americans believe fervently in their 2nd Amendment rights (the freedom to bear arms) over and above any censure of the NRA or its warped philosophy that the right to bear weapons is a God given right. To celebrate, old Trumpy shows the media how he combs his hair and spends time demolishing the reputation of a sheriff at the Florida high school where the recent mass shootings occurred. What he doesn't spend too much time explaining is that his proposal to arm teachers is, in fact, serious and that he expects schools to become citadels of defensive firepower. Wow ! Not only does America have a surfeit of crazy people waving guns it is now being proposed to condone gun-fights on school campuses rather than legislate against gun ownership. We wonder about the Middle East and its crazy factions but we should also be worrying about our western neighbour being not hugely different....no wonder the Russians are seeing the global opportunity to seize control of the world's stage.
Talking of Russians and their former Czechoslovak allies, the papers are full of Corbyn sagas and what he may or may not have done thirty years ago. There's probably no doubt that Corbyn has had associations with some of the most abhorrent people and organisations over the last thirty or more years and that merely shows bad judgement on his part because he never had, never has and never will have the gravitas, influence and credibility required to make use of such associations. Nor will any of his current hench-persons who collectively display a frightening vision of what they might do if ever they are in a position to form a government. But, as this blog comments above, the electorate are quick to punish one administration without too much thought about what they may be ushering in, so the potential for a Labour win is one the thinking electorate should truly be wary of.
On non-political tid-bits in the news, the revelations that the Ancient Britons might well have been usurped very speedily by a new culture appearing from the east - 'Beaker peoples' - is hugely fascinating. A mere 4,500 years ago this was possibly occurring, shifting our peoples from being stone-age hunter gatherers into more organised and collectively minded agriculturalists. Great stuff - all power and funding to the genuinely clever folk who can develop this knowledge.