After a couple of days of gritty interviews with some key movers and shakers on the much trafficked Brexit highway we seem to be no further forward in negotiating a satisfactory exit from the EU. Mrs May and M'sieur Macron will no doubt have a beautifully scripted and diplomatic chat over whether Macron can soften the EU intransigence over Britain's departure - which he is most unlikely to go along with, Mr Carney at the Bank of England has equally upset the applecart with predictions of no deal Brexit doing extraordinarily painful things to the economy and in the middle there is the newcomer, Mr Raab, trying to hold meaningful but pointless discussions with EU officials who don't see him as an influencer in this saga.
Plan B is a much used expression in this prolonged and tumultuous Brexit story. But have we actually got a Plan B for when Plan A fails - as it looks increasingly likely to do so ? There's bold talk of plans and preparations for a 'no deal' outcome, but this is quite late in the day for such an important contingency to be being looked at and if we are to believe the pundits the preparations are being made in a rather wishy-washy fashion with no real bedrock to them. Almost without exception now, the Brexit actions of the government are alienating both sides of the debate. The Leavers aren't happy with Mrs May's Chequers plan and the Remainers are equally brassed off with it as well. The PM, of course, doggedly insists her plan is the only plan to pursue but that probably tells us more about the PM's flawed leadership character than it does about the wisdom of her convictions. She seems very blind to the image she is putting out both at home and abroad. The victims of this blinkered outlook are, of course, us - the great British public. So, there is some reasonableness in the public getting more than a little soured by government behaviour, lack if vision and distinct lack of ideas. Mrs May's future in politics looks to be quite short - but she will no doubt retire with a nice pension, an after dinner speaking schedule and no doubt a few carefully selected corporate directorships. She's unlikely to feel the pinch - unlike Joe Public.
So what are we left with ? Is a no deal exit something to aim for ? After all, back in June, 2016 that is exactly what was being exhorted - let's just leave, pay the perfidious EU nothing and make a new way for ourselves from scratch. Great idea in principle but there are a few issues tied up in this that do need a little bit of attention, not least the trading and financial ones. That said, the absence of progress with the EU is making viewpoints harden with an almost devil-may-care attitude developing within which a no deal exit may well be what we end up with. So, if no deal is to be a likely outcome then let us start making Plan B something real and tangible. Let us but some grit into that planning and making sure that Great Britain plc has a place to go on 30th March, 2019.
Two things in the papers today have made my eyebrows twitch - an increasingly common affliction in me, I am told. Both are media related. The first is the idea of portraying Emmeline Pankhurst as a black woman in a new theatrical production. Fine, you might say, if the production is nothing but a whimsical piece of entertainment. However, the concept is, inevitably, being manipulated as a piece of diversity enforcement by those who believe their voices and viewpoints are more important than everyone else's. History is what history was. There's much to argue that a lot of recorded history is a bit dubious in content and context but it must surely be unwise to launch any revision to historical events through such a public media outlet as the theatre to try and re-write something that patently was not so. So many rely on media output as being fact that a production like this does as much disservice to honest history as any incorrect recording of it did in the first place. Rant over on that one.
The second tid-bit that agitated my ire was the notion of Strictly Come Dancing including same sex partners. I'm guessing here, but I would wager money that much of the viewing figures for this glamorous show are made up from ordinary men and women who enjoy seeing good dancing performed by a man and a woman. The routines, the dancing and the theme of this extravaganza is heterosexual in every possible way - the costumes exaggerate it, the music propounds it the whole context of the show exudes it. And that's brilliant ! What can possibly be wrong in this challenged world where minority viewpoints are overwhelming good, common sense and proportionality, of seeing a glamorous display of skill and verve between a man and woman dancing ? At the moment, the show is wisely defending its corner but the time will come - unless we display our disagreement - when the vested interests of the minority will rule the majority. And that won't be a good day.