David Davis seems freshly confident that a good and workable trade deal can emerge before the Brexit deadline of 29th March, 2019 gets to us. Let's hope that that is true but, as we have experienced several times before in recent political history what we are told is good has seldom turned out to be quite as good as its PR. So, who defines what is 'good' ? Now here's the conundrum. Whitehall would have us accept their very fluid interpretation of the word - "..good is better than before but not necessarily including all the things that we thought would be good but is inclusive of some new things which other people think are good but which would be politically dodgy to declare to the British public because they probably won't understand what is good for them when it comes to balancing up the good points of the deal against the not-so-good parts, which might lead to the public thinking the wrong things about what is good !" Against this we have the purist Brexit interpretation, "...good means we get what we voted for - a return of national sovereignty, controlled immigration, British legal jurisdiction and precedence, freedom to seek and apply trade deals outside of the EU and manage our national affairs in the spirit of friendship with our neighbours but without any entitlement by them to regulate of inhibit our desire to be involved with global partners on mutually advantageous terms." I know which I'd opt for but I suspect the Whitehall version is what we will get, nicely PR'd and packaged with promises, benefits and no doubt golden cuckoos for all. We are so politically gullible in Britain I sometimes really do think we get the governance we deserve - because the majority will actually believe that "Whitehall good" is as 'good' as it can get.
However, the chief of the German industry federation has also pitched in, telling the EU to smarten its act up and ensure a sensible and fair deal is offered to Britain - at this eleventh hour they have acknowledged that too many German jobs are tied up in producing for the British market to let idealistic bureaucrats in Brussels threaten that. We'll see what Frau Merkel and her new coalition have to say about that now that she realises that she has committed Germany to a new Russian pipeline feeding gas into the Fatherland whilst Putin sharpens his probes into the West's ability to rebuff him.
And talking of Russians, the poisoning incident is still a source of diplomatic vitriol as accusations and insults pass back and forth. The EU has sided with Britain - guardedly, it has to be said - in accusing Russia of its dastardly involvement in the Salisbury incident and in listening to Donald Tusk's declaration there was a distinct lack of outrage in his voice (though it must be said that whatever he talks about he looks as though he is battling with a severe hemorrhoidal incident of his own). We must remember, of course, as Frau Merkel is no doubt already doing, that the EU is a neighbour of Russia and feels obliged to be a tad less belligerent with such an unpredictable presence on their doorstep - but that should never be a reason for not resisting aggression and oppression. Europe tried that before and it got thenm almost destroyed. The EU must be strong, hold its ground against Russia and denounce that which is clearly against the spirit of co-existence and respect for sovereignty. We may not be as strong as Russia, even as a European collective, but we should never be brow-beaten by bullies.
Having first denied it the Australian cricket team have ' 'fessed up' to cheating in the South African test series by 'fiddling' with the ball. How unspeakably un-British that sounds. Yet the reality is that sport across the world and in just about every category is now riddled with the ethos of cheating to win. Whatever happened to 'sport for the sake of sport' we might ask but as we have evolved into this hyper-commercial species we must surely know that it is money that makes sport tick - whether at a personal level or from a corporate level of infusing money for business advantage. I raise the spectre - somewhat nervously - as to whether we have any true sports people left in the public arena; it looks very much like the majority are now involved in some sort of financial arrangement that requires them to be somewhat less than professional in their sporting behaviour.
Qantas have flown the first commercial (that word again !) flight non-stop from Perth to London using (unfortunately) a Boeing Dreamliner. It's nevertheless a great first for the Aussies and the record books, so well done to all involved. But being the Bristling Brock that I am, I raise yet another spectre of a future world as it gets a little smaller and we all get where we're going a bit quicker so that we have loads more time to do what we want to do, obsessed by our own self interests, driven by targets, ambition and reward. Almost an extract from some futuristic Orwellian nightmare some of us might think - or are we already in the middle of it without realising where we are ? Let's not allow the power of technology to completely absorb the human spirit, clever and wonderful as a lot of that technology may be.