Bristling Brock speaks out...


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The rhetoric is becoming more frenzied and from all sides of the Brexit debate.

Even a glance at Boris Johnson's six point plan immediately shows that it is far removed from the Chequers agreement conditions doggedly pursued by the PM.   It is a potential alternative - in points of action rather than substance - that we could do well to explore before more time slips by.   Bristling Brock is definitely not in favour of the Chequers Agreement - that is a clear capitulation to pressure group politics and would leave us in a parlous state of semi-sovereignty and uncertain world status in connection with trade agreements outside of the EU.   Boris's option would, however, need fleshing out considerably for anyone to see the nature of the beast - the expression 'SuperCanada' deal has no resonance as yet - but it could if the wider public were to understand exactly what that entailed.  Time is short, Boris.   Give us the detail.

On the flip side, we have seen during the Labour Conference a marked change in the Corbyn phenomena.   Prepared to back a deal that the government might broker with the EU on the proviso of single market continuance (which the PM has continually said will not happen) the fighting talk from JC has become a remarkable switch from the frequently quiet and unresponsive Opposition benches.   The other remarkable output from the Conference is the apparent zealotry of the audience.   I'm quite prepared to believe that some of those were hand-picked die-hards who'd back Corbyn whatever he said but there must also have been at least a sprinkling of ordinary Labour delegates there as well.  Not only did they cheer and ovate a Labour MP advocating a general strike, but following Corbyn's speech they went into some sort of Kafkaesque rapture.   This is concerning stuff.   Whatever reforms our governance needs this is not the solution in either style or substance.  What is equally fearful is that a seemingly significant part of the electorate are beginning to believe this almost messianic delivery of gusto mixed with implausible policy.  Electorates have never been the wisest of pressure groups but if they (Labour) get the numbers on-side then we could all be in for a period of some extreme left political stewardship.  I can only hope for a speedy counter-thrust from Boris.

Trumpy is continuing to support his nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, in his battle with sexual assault claims from 35 years past.  I see political intrigue at work here but as an aside I was astonished how much air-time the BBC devoted to this story on its prime time news bulletins yesterday.  It was as if this was the biggest thing since - goodness knows what !  Western societies seem obsessed with a range of policy themes that support the minority groups - rightly so in a good number of cases - but the one that hits the media pages always is sexual indiscretion.   This gets the newspapers and tv journalists salivating like no other subject can and their outputs are pored over by an equally salacious public.   I'm far from anti-feminist and I'm a supporter of justice for all but I cannot help but look at Dr Blasey-Ford (presumably an intelligent and highly educated woman) and her testimony with nothing but scepticism.   Her story sounds contrived, designed to an agenda.  Whose, I know not, but it is wrong after such a lapse of time to make such allegations against anyone when she could have taken action 35 years ago - we weren't living in caves in the 1980's - there was law, there was a justice procedure and a smart woman like Dr Ford should have taken action then - if it was real.  She didn't.  I'm no supporter of Kavanaugh, he doesn't strike me as that smart to be a Supreme Court nominee (even in the strange world of Trumpland), but I'm definitely against character assassination for political ends.   

I listened to the words of Dany Cotton, the London Fire Brigades commissioner yesterday.   I thought she did well in a difficult discussion of choices and decisions made over the Grenfell Tower fire.  We expect our public servants to know and understand everything.  They cannot.  Partly because they haven't got all the resource they need - including budget and manpower - but they are also human.   Grenfell was beyond all prior experience as an incident - terrible as it was for those involved.  The choices and decisions were made at the time of a major incident that even the fire service did not have the experience, training or equipment to combat.  We should not condemn those that made difficult choices on the battlefield; hindsight might tell us that some better preparation for fighting high-rise fires in years past could have helped, but at the end of it all, a fire-fighter is a human being doing what he thinks is best at a point in time.   Not all his decisions will be good, but in like manner we must respect that he was there, trying to save lives.  We were not.

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