As the Tory rebels faded earlier this week allowing Mrs May to stave off any further Withdrawal Bill upsets, it struck me just how febrile and imbued with self interest some of these characters must be. After all, the PM made no concessions and didn't agree to anything at all - but she did appeal for Party unity and a sense of collective survival - and that is most likely to be the background to the rebel cave-in. Party politics has pervaded Westminster for as long as I can recall, the desire to preserve the status quo, a political position on the greasy pole, the vested interests of the few desperately doing anything to hang on to whatever vestige of dignity and influence that is left amongst the MP fraternity these days (perhaps I should make that a gender neutral 'ity but a suitable word eludes me). I was further reminded of this today whilst listening to the Welsh Assembly and Carwyn Jones saying that it is time for MP's to put country before Party political considerations. What a refreshing sentiment, I thought - nation before Party - that must be such a novel thought in any of the Westminster camps who fight and squabble over preserving their patch of turf like the over-opinionated schoolchildren most of them are.
Will Westminster change ? I fancy not whilst we still have a first-passed-the-post electoral system that leaves most of us with a representative who actually attracts fewer votes than would be necessary to achieve a consensus in most commercial boardrooms. Proportional representation is one part of this necessary revolution but the likely truth is that Westminster, like Turkey's, will not vote for Christmas. When the Brexit campaign was running at its peak, there was a palpable sense that something big was happening and that our governance, our representation and our overall way of political life was on the cusp of some significant shift - a shift to something more accountable, more visible and more nation oriented. The threat of emergent party's like UKIP at that time clearly posed a threat and the public began to imagine that things could be different. Alas, that momentum has itself fallen foul of vested interest and internecine squabbling and we all slumped back into the Westminster malaise. We need our governance to put nation above Party, perhaps not in the blunt way that Donald Trump does it, but putting the emphasis upon the whole rather than the few. In less than a year, theoretically at least, we will be an independent nation again, making, we hope, our own laws, regulations and way in the world - the ideal opportunity to bring engagement back to the fore and let the wider public see, quite openly that government is prepared to change its messy ways and put the welfare of Great Britain at the top of the heap. And for that, we need new leadership, strong, passionate and influential. The political events of the last few weeks in particular do not, however, fill me with a great hope in this endeavour.
I see the World Cup in 2026 is going to be shared between the three best friends across the Atlantic - Mexico, Canada and the USA. There's time enough for much to change but if that were an event happening in the near future, wouldn't that see some sparks and vitriol being bandied about. Football would be the least of the attractions !
With Trumpy and Kim Jong-un now back in their respective lairs should we dare to imagine that something significant happened during their Singapore chit-chat ? The pundits say that despite no detailed terms, the brittle atmosphere that has existed for over sixty years between the two countries seems to have got immeasurably better. The cynics say we should not trust either party to keep their word but wouldn't it be great if some genuine rapprochement emerged from these two most unlikely characters !
I'll finish on the eyebrow twitching news that Ethiopia, land-locked since 1993, wants to build a navy - again ! It seemingly had a regionally significant navy way back but then Eritrea became independent and - ooops - the Ethiopian coast disappeared in a flash. No need for a navy then, you might reasonably think. But no. They want to start their navy up again using somebody else's ports ! Now for a country as economically deprived as this with untold human suffering occurring there on a recurrent basis, why oh why would they choose to spend what money they have on a navy ? Perhaps as significant a question to ask would be: 'Is Britain pouring aid into Ethiopia that is going to be spent on expensive folly's like this ?' Food for thought.