The internationalisation of the poisoning accusation of Russian state involvement in the Salisbury incident - and many others over the previous years - is both encouraging to Britain but also an indicator of how the ideological differences between the East and West hemispheres of political and national opinion are again shifting apart. When the old Cold War ended in the early 1990's there was a hope that there would be a softening of positions on both sides of the former Iron Curtain and a better understanding and acceptance of each others fears and aspirations - something close to a rapprochement and an ability to live peaceably as neighbours.
Yet now we are again back to the old days of spies, saboteurs and assassins at large presumably deliberately provoking distrust, fear and chaos. We might consider this the way world powers will muscle each other about in the future - a sort of sub-surface warfare that sows the virus of chaos in an adversary rather than outright missile exchanges that will destroy everything. It all prompts the thought that the human way of life will always be divided by geography, resource, wealth, reputation and, of course, the way in which governments across the globe choose to position themselves in this hierarchy - the ideological and what I describe as the 'ambitional' factors. Humankind has not changed that much for the entire time it has existed on this earth and shows no signs of really changing in the future. As this blog has commented several times before we have developed enormously in technical, knowledge based ways as a species but we remain, as ever, relatively primitive in our fundamental behaviours and outlooks. Another recent example of this is unfolding in the Congo where the display of violent tribalism is yet another mark of our continuing division as a species albeit at the other end of the geopolitical scale.
The Labour Party seems quite unable to do the right thing these days. Embroiled in a frenzy of anti-Semitic issues old Corbyn is now wading well out of his depth in his ability to manage the party effectively. Non-Labour supporters might rejoice at this chaos but in truth we require an able and proficient opposition in our parliament to ensure that our affairs are conducted with as much democratic balance as possible. We might not all like how our governance works but for the time being it is the system we have and until we purposefully mandate change through popular consent (Brexit is the nearest current example of that) then we should support the democratic process we have - and that requires a professional, ethical and organised Opposition. If you're intent on hanging around, Mr Corbyn, get your act together smartly and start doing the job you've been mandated to do.
I was intrigued to read about the somewhat mad DIY inventor in the US who decided to blast himself 'into space' to see for himself whether the earth was spherical or, indeed, flat. He built a rocket in his garage and successfully launched himself off - not quite reaching space, but a creditable 550 or so metres and then landing with something of a bump. Full marks for effort but as the saying goes 'Only in America !'
Continuing on smiley matters - for me, anyway - the story of the French waiter sacked for being rude and aggressive at a Canadian restaurant being countered by his claim that it was his 'Frenchness' that makes him that way is wonderfully inventive. Again, top marks for coming up with a really novel explanation but for those of us who have experienced some French waiters (particularly French Canadians) then we might both nod with agreement or just smile. Let's go with the latter. We need to have at least one smile per day....