The PM's deputy, David Lidington, has made a statement confirming that Brexit has only two-ways to go - an EU acceptance of the Chequers plan or a no deal departure - and that the EU must get their act together and recognise the risks if it goes belly-up.
Now that's a shift in language compared to mealy mouthed previous efforts. Tougher talking is fine in certain contexts but this is late in the day stuff and, if it does work and the Chequers plan is agreed then most Brexit supporters will be hugely disappointed by the betrayal of principle that entails - half-in, half-out, neither one thing nor another. Not that we should expect better from our government, but I fancy they will pay the price at the ballot box and hopefully disappear off the political field. But that is not the issue, is it ? If Chequers succeeds we'll be a shadow of an independent trading state - a vassal state to use Boris Johnson's turn of phrase; if no deal emerges as the outcome of this then we have at least the flexibility to trade and adapt where we choose - though doubtless there'd be a period of economic pain in the short term (though I'd sincerely hope we hung onto the £39 billion divorce bill).
That Brexit should reach this point in such a negative way reflects badly upon the political and bureaucratic displays of the EU and the unquestionable ineptitude of the British government. The whole of Europe should reflect upon this as a monumentally mishandled opportunity which will likely stir up the less desirable elements of the far right across the Continent - but somehow I don't think the culprits will see it quite that way.
Whilst this face-off is still happening here, Mrs May calls on her African 'friends' to seek support for new trade deals. Today we hear of extended military aid to Nigeria and more development aid - this to one of the worlds richest states, albeit disgracefully channeled into the pockets of the corrupt. Giving military aid of this magnitude to a country like Nigeria defies any description of common-sense - whatever the strategic thoughts behind the offer are (counter terrorism, anti-slavery initiatives and people trafficking). Talk about buying a seat at the table - this trumps it all.
Trumpy is weathering his own storms quite resiliently for the time being. Whatever we all think of him, he is resilient ! The current upset over respectful half-mast flag flying for John McCain is probably just another spec of dust in Trumpy's ointment. And that begs a thought that we are seeing an extraordinary shift in the dynamics of world politics going on without us really noticing too much - in the US we have the abrasive and unpleasant Trump but who somehow manages to maintain his redneck support base, in Russia we have Putin who has skilfully but scarily manoeuvred himself into a supremo position, in North Korea we have his alter-ego in Kim jong il, we have Assad in Syria deconstructing his country, Orban in Hungary ramping up the hard right, Erdogan in Turkey playing footsie with Russia over Trumpy's tariff barriers....and so the list of undesirables goes on. It's getting pretty hard to actually point to a political leader who might even loosely be described as an OK guy. It seems to me to be a unique time in world history that we have this collection of powerful and influential leaders who are behaving like mobsters and doing little more than building ramparts around their own preservation. But maybe I'm a cynic....
It's upsetting to hear how many young girls are self-harming in response to perceived negative views of them through the murky lens of social media. What has made us as a culture so dependent upon what we look like and how many 'friends' we think we might have ? It seems quite global too with the obsession of appearance and peer approval ranking high across the world for girls and boys. I'm probably too old to really understand the forces at work here, but I do understand how tragic it is for those at the butt-end of negative postings. The human race should be better than this, don't you think ?