It was perhaps inevitable that the Brexit status would again erupt into discord and, in several instances, blunt acrimony. On the EU side, let us consider what that is - in the round - and the strings that represent its core leverage points in respect to Brexit. First, Britain is a net contributor to the EU - we pay in more than we get back. The exit from the EU by Britain will potentially reduce their income in a significant way and threaten the stability of its dealings with the poorer, Eastern European members. Second, almost by necessity, the EU is a vast bureaucratic administration, driven by rules and regulations, with a federalist agenda and a vision of a USE to rival the USA and strong economies in the Far East. Third, the EU is controlled by those who fear the potential loss of influence, status and prestige the most. When a net contributor decides to leave it takes away a noticeable chunk of the EU’s foundations with it. Fourth, the EU sees itself as the superior body in the Brexit negotiations, larger, more powerful and more inclined to inflexibility by virtue of its systemic lack of understanding toward changing world dynamics. The list could go on and on - and that would not be to decry the benefits that the EU structure has in the past been able to provide British organisations, but the world has changed, is continuing to change in ways that now demand Britain takes a more individualist approach to how it adapts and flexes to these movements in world order and trade. Whatever else the EU is, it is not adaptive. The PM has, belatedly, used some strong language with the EU to warn it of its own intransigence. That’s no bad thing in itself but has been displayed at a precariously late stage in the negotiations. This is a style that Britain should have adopted much earlier and with much more vigour. However, as the saying goes, that’s just spilt milk now and getting agitated about what we should have done months ago is of no value - ways forward have to be found and built upon. If that results in a satisfactory trade deal, fine (but emphatically not the Chequers deal), if it doesn’t then we shall embrace a no deal exit with similar vigour and ambition and whilst that may entail some short-term pain, we will prosper, we will become the proud and independent nation that we can be, regulating and ruling our sovereign state through our own, independent government. This is what Brexit is truly about - governing ourselves, choosing our own path, developing our trade and our new technologies with new nations in a spirit not of isolation but of neighbourly collaboration. The EU cannot deliver any of this.
I’m writing this blog in a non-EU country. On the face of it, it is poorer that we are, on the face of it, it looks more chaotic than Britain does, on the face of it, it is ambivalent at best about the EU, the euro and the red-tape that any dalliance with the EU would entail. But the ‘face of it’ is not all there is to see. This is a country that had a hard birth a little under a century ago but has a history longer than our own in terms of its ethnicity and role in the world. It’s a country that is pretty much self-sufficient in produce - only really importing perishables to fulfil the tastes of the tourist community - and with a developing technical base that possibly rivals any other out there already. It’s not a perfect place, but that’s not something many places - if any - truly achieve. What strikes me about it is it’s faith and belief in itself. The people are proud, maybe not all rich, but convinced of their country’s ability to progress, develop and decide things for themselves. The government here has mixed popularity but in essential matters it is working. The state functions, businesses come and go - as elsewhere - and the entrepreneurial spirit is encouraged. In some respects, I’m envious of this commitment and resonance they have with their country. It’s something we British could learn from.
Trumpy is again beset by controversy over his nominee for Deputy Attorney General with yet another sexual harassment scandal besmirching the name of his candidate. The peculiarity of this, which is fast becoming the norm on both sides of the Atlantic, is that the alleged harassment happened 35 years ago. Not only were times different then, moral values different and attitudes to sexual harassment different but it was a time when the two who were involved in this incident were frivolous teenagers, experimenting, exploring and doing what probably nearly every teenager in history has done since time began. I’m sceptical that these allegations are worthy of any merit rather they look like a mendacious attempt to destroy integrity - perhaps with a political motivation. I have no regard for Trump or any of his administration - a weirder bunch you could hardly find - but I do rail against gratuitous blackening of anyone’s character. And this incident looks just like that.