It was encouraging to hear that Prime Minister Abe of Japan was taking a positive view over Britain joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership post Brexit. Admittedly, without the US being involved in this accord to pull down tariff barriers and create something not unlike the EU's single market, it has had something of a shake to its foundations but with 11 Pacific Rim nations prepared to run with it the US is not necessarily a required member. Trump pulled out of the accord last year as he ramped up his 'America First' protectionist policies, but in reality, the US was never going to be the major player in this club. The direction of the US and that of the rest of the capitalist economy minded Pacific players is clearly divergent, but it could suit Britain very well if agreements on reciprocity and balanced trade are agreed upon. Let us hope somebody in our government can recognise the opportunity and stir some action.
Climate change is hitting the headlines ever more frequently. Global warming is apparently increasing much faster than mankind's efforts to control it with predictions that the 1.5C threshold of global acceptability will likely be breached by 2030 - two decades sooner than originally anticipated. The message from those who know is that we should all - nations and individuals alike - be doing more not just to practise better environmental habits but to actually create brand new habits that are fundamentally lifestyle changing. Such new habits would be related to individual diets, travel, consumer purchasing, energy preferences, land usage, city design and, inevitably, industrial waste and discharge. If we adapted to these new principles then the world might just cope with sticking at the 1.5C mark. The gloomier prognosis here, of course, is that it requires every nation on earth to adopt and apply them with vigour and to regulate the whole dynamic. Now there's the crunch. Possibly 50% of the worlds nations really don't pay much attention whatsoever to environmental considerations - including the US, China and India - because they put their own country's personal wealth and growth above everything else. That's something of a sweeping statement - perhaps - but as we see with other major international attempts at common practise, they seldom really work in their entirety because getting common agreement across a wide spectrum of cultures and vested interests is like pushing custard uphill with just your nose. The United Nations organisation is perhaps the most visible example of a notionally shared global vision blighted by the idiosyncrasies of its individual members - mammoth vision, miniscule influence. That shouldn't be to say we should not try and limit global warming - we certainly should. We have a duty and, frankly, a shared interest in such an effort succeeding - if we don't, the world will become a very different place by the time our grandchildren grow up. What it does mean, however, is that with only half the world taking it seriously then the task at maintaining that 1.5C threshold will be all the more difficult. That should not deter those who are prepared to try.
The British Conservative Party are toying with some new ideas. More accurately, the ideas are coming from the more youthful members whilst the establishment at the top of the tree try to stay there. One of these ideas is described as a 'Macron Moment' manoeuvre which would create something of a leap-frog mechanism in allowing a complete outsider (albeit from within the political party fraternity) to vault into the position of being Prime Minister. I'm all for a pretty radical shake-up of the political establishment but I'm not yet convinced that having a poll vaulting, just-out-of-school, Young Conservative is what I have in mind to become leader of the country. Keep thinking radical, chaps, that's innovative, but develop your ideas a bit before putting them out in public !
I read that Jaguar-Land Rover is having a two-week shut-down of its production plant in Solihull from the end of October as a follow-on to the three-day working week previously imposed on its Castle Bromwich plant. Much of the cause seems to be a downturn in demand from key overseas markets like China allied with some Brexit jitters and fumbled environmental declarations by the government over diesel efficiency and green-ness compared with alternative energy vehicles. I suspect this is not exclusive to JLR as the motor industry in general seems to be feeling the pinch whilst markets and governments bumble around in a parody of chaos. That all said, if we were to adopt the changes hinted at above on the matter of global warming, then the motor industry in particular would need to radically re-think its operational direction. Food for thought....