The EU seems to communicate in so many different ways and through so many different channels that it is often obscure as to whether their outputs are policy or just random thoughts of the day.
At present we now have an EU - via Juncker - saying he hopes for a workable Brexit deal by November which would include an Irish Sea border position (a no-no for the UK). Alongside this we have unnamed EU officials declaring possible deals that will allow tariff free trade but which will not be 'frictionless' (that over-used expression that really has no precise definition - not unlike the EU itself) lest such a state undermines the 'integrity of the single-market'. Both statements mean nothing at all. They are merely palliative positioning outputs that deal with no root causes of the differences between Britain and the EU - they are made to exonerate the EU from any 'blame' should the negotiations end in a no-deal scenario - "You can't blame us - we made lots of offers to the UK which they rejected !' I can almost see Juncker and Tusk making the same press-release now, looks of practiced bewilderment on their faces, shoulder shrugging and spread hands. Further, let us be in no doubt, the absence of input from the major EU economies of Germany, France and possibly the BeNeLux triumvirate in these negotiations has been palpable, an abrogation of national responsibility to the political ethos of the corpus corporatum that is the EU. Their influence in defining what could have been a new, 21st century forward looking deal has been absent in every aspect of the negotiations and should, therefore, remind us that whilst we are geographically part of the European Continent we have never been, nor should we aspire to being, a part of a misguided European experiment in federalism. Britain should not be swayed by these false olive branches. We should push for a free trade deal without the caveats of unelected European bureaucrats and if that cannot be achieved then we should turn away, close the book and engage with the mechanics of a WTO based no-deal with enthusiasm and purpose. Bristling Brock has often expressed concern over the capability of our Brexit team and that remains a concern. At this late stage we can only pray that our modus operandi in the future negotiations will be steelier, less porous and less prone to concession making. Now is the time for grit and determination by our negotiators - a failure to deliver Brexit as it was intended will be remembered not just in the history books, but also at the ballot box.
Corbyn disparages the Brexit machinations - as we all may do on one subject or another - but his current behaviour perhaps owes more to public speaking training than it does to belief in what he is saying. He has certainly upped his image of late but his followers, acolytes and supporters bely that new image of a 'safe pair of hands' by displaying the real face of their socialism through their biblical brainwashed behaviour at conference, their orchestrated marches, their rent-a-crowd tactics and their intemperate statements on policy and future ambition. There is no political preference in this blog between the two main political parties - each are as bad as the other - but we should all be wary of the wolf in sheep's clothing, and for sheep let us read Mr Corbyn, puppet of the true wolf, Russia.
Brett Kavanaugh seems to be a step closer to being nominated as the next US Supreme Court judge. That is a matter for the US Senate to decide upon - although the influence of the Washington political machinery is much in evidence - and will no doubt become something the American public will have to live with...for a long time. This blog does not rate Kavanaugh for such a role, his conduct and style having illustrated a fickle and perhaps capricious attitude to the Supreme Court's mandate. But that's for Americans to decide. The sexual misconduct allegations against him hold little water and also speak of political opportunism and in that respect Kavanaugh's survival to this point is a validation of judicial due process - an entitlement for everybody in a democratic society. Sometimes, the law has to protect even those whom we may not regard too highly - but that is the law that defines the character of a democratic society. We live with both the benefit and disadvantage of that creed.
Scotland is again marching for independence from the UK. Even the Welsh are getting vocal on the subject. It's a thorny subject and, within our democratic statutes, the freedom to make protest is enshrined. What I find bizarre is the notion that either of these country's feel they are capable of surviving outside of the UK. Perhaps a desperate EU might let them in but they would become net receivers of a much reduced EU largesse rather than influencers of federalist policy. A comparison with Romania or Bulgaria comes to mind. It seems incredulous that the Scots or Welsh would wish that upon themselves. On a parallel level, do they imagine that the remaining UK - or Great Britain as it would then become - would invest in and fund all the things it currently does ? Of course Great Britain would have to respect their independence and treat them as friendly but foreign and the exchequers spending would cease at the respective borders. Think about that. No more Westminster money travelling north or west. Making immature political gestures belittles the devolved assemblies at this time. Choose your moment in the future, but make sure you have a credible budget plan to match.
The shortage of GP's is spawning some extraordinary suggestions. It seems that trials of collective consultation with your GP have already been conducted with some alleged success with meetings of up to 15 or so patients with common conditions all seeking a doctors sage advice in the round. Whilst the shortage of GP's is a national problem - though maybe it would be better to remove some of the legal, working practices and ethical impediments that currently discourage students from entering into that workplace - the notion of sitting in a circle around a solitary GP and asking questions about your specific condition seems something of a step too far - but maybe I'm being too prissy. Is this the face of future doctoring ?