Bristling Brock speaks out...

 

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With the EU summit just a few short weeks away, the notional deadline for agreeing a trade deal with the EU is nearing fast.   This is not something set in tablets of stone but it is an indicative timeline to ensure that by March next year we really either do have a workable deal in place or we don't.   What constitutes a workable deal is, of course, the stuff of great political and commercial controversy.  From where Bristling Brock stands there seems next to no hope of Theresa May's Chequers Plan gaining any acceptance by either the EU or even her own parliamentary party - and most likely a very negative reaction from the population at large.  The only alternative, we are religiously told by government, is to prepare for a no deal exit.  The very idea of having several versions of a plan available seems to have escaped both government and its pro-Europe civil service cadre.   Planning is obviously not their strong suit.  So, after months of messing around and running in circles, the government looks likely to have to concede a no deal exit as things appear right now.  We shouldn't be alarmed by that as there are simple and practical ways for this country to do what it needs to do under WTO rules - and in some respects we could argue that this gives Britain the absolute freedom from European regulation that sparked the whole concept of Brexit in the first place.  But even a no deal arrangement should have its conditions - not least the divorce bill of £39 billion.  That should remain within the British exchequer - not a penny reaching greedy EU hands.   I'd like to feel confident the government could at least guarantee that, but regrettably, I can't.   The nature and capability of our government does not lead to any level of confidence in anything and I fear for this country's £39 billion.

Boris has made something of a move that has got the pundits twittering, though not an expected one with direct political connection.  His announcement of divorce from his wife should be a private and personal matter but, naturally enough in these strange times, there is much speculation as to whether this is a first chessboard move toward him making a Tory leadership bid.  The media is certainly full of commentary about that prospect and there is some natural traction in that direction being gained by the almost total silence of government on a whole range of subjects ranging from Northern Ireland through to Trident and much else in between.  Mrs May's autocratic style of 'leadership' (if that's what it is) thwarts communication and dialogue and that inevitably stirs the speculation pot about her capacity to hold the government together as a cohesive and effectual body.  But the inevitable must surely happen.  As a nation we cannot sustain this government and something will have to give - and if Brexit is anything of a motivator in this then that move would need to happen very quickly.

Let us also give pause for thought about what a Boris Johnson leadership of the Tories might look like from a public perspective.   A bit of a lad and occasional buffoon he may be but there is a sharp mind and a 'can-do' attitude behind that cheery façade and he has alongside him, in both an academic and political sense, a range of keen minds with this country's well-being at its heart.   I am sure there are many other things, both positive and negative, we could argue on this but the essential thought is that our current governance has run its course - even over-run - and we now need a more dynamic, pro-active and tougher government in place to ensure our future is not entirely sold down the river by a visionless, and, frankly, clueless team under Theresa May.

Britain's Labour Party is in no better shape.  It's a tiring task to wade through Labour's political shenanigans with Corbyn resolutely erring leftward, McDonnell airing his credentials as a 'moderate' and thoughtful Chancellor in waiting and an ill-disguised attempt at constituency level to oust MP's who don't fit the socialist picture as the extremists would wish.    In ways that mirror the Conservatives, the Labour Party is rendering itself unelectable.

Even in Sweden, we are seeing a shift in political outlook with the first strains of a more right-wing and even fascist approach to some of the country's perceived woes - at the head of which is immigration.

Europe and the world at large is in a state of turmoil.  We all need to keep an eye on things before they change under our very feet ! 

Trumpy is also getting it in the neck - again !   What with Bob Woodward's new book appearing on the shelves and nameless insiders writing articles in the New York Times, his image is taking on a bombardment of criticism and hinting strongly at his necessary removal from the presidency.  That would be extraordinary indeed and would rank alongside Richard Nixon's infamous doings but surely that would need squaring against Trump's very evident hard-core popular support across Republican America ?  I'm no expert on US politics but it strikes me as a difficult manoeuvre to remove a president whilst he enjoys a substantive grass-roots support base - even though his removal might be politically expedient in economic, social and foreign policy terms.   There's more to be revealed here, I'm sure, but perhaps Washington's vested interests may indeed find a way to remove him in spite of his ratings.  Whichever way it goes, we can be assured of it being explosive.