Bristling Brock will be leaving the Brexit saga alone for today. Amazingly, there are other things going on in our nation state !
Language, and its usage and freedom of usage are growing topics.
Much is currently being said about abusive and threatening language being used by MP's, much of it directed at Theresa May. Whilst BB has little faith in Mrs May as a PM she deserves the respect of parliament and its members. Aggressive and threatening language being used by some is not acceptable at any level, and neither is it a courteous and polite way to conduct the affairs of the state. Strong views can be expressed without having to resort to an ignorant base level of expression and whatever we may think of an individual there is absolutely no need to resort to what must amount to 'hate' declaration. BB is not an unequivocal supporter of our current so-called 'hate' crime legal definition, it is a blunt approach to a complex problem, but in all respects, language is the means by which we communicate much, and - political obfuscation apart - as a civil and dignified society we should aspire to using temperate language. May bad language stop - whatever the provocation.
Still on the language subject, but from a different angle, that strange and upsetting story of erasing our historical past is back on the agenda. Mr Corbyn wishes our education system to focus upon telling new students how bad and awful our ancestors were, students in universities and others in extreme interest groups are still wishing to pull down statues and monuments commemorating individuals or events that are no longer perceived - in their eyes - as being appropriate. 'Let us erase our history if we don't like the look of it' seems to be their chosen cause. And this brings us back to language. Not so much the actual vocabulary - though much of that being used borders on 'hate' - but of the freedoms to use language in a proper and focused way. What we are seeing an emergence of is a cadre of activist individuals who wish to impose their sanitised version of our past upon us; their language is strident, it is belched forth by the exuberance of youth, it is designed to intimidate and quell any opposition. The notion that the young know best is encouraging on some levels for it displays confidence and a positive attitude to the future. However, on another level, it displays a lack of breadth in thinking, a lack of awareness as to actually how we all came to be where we are now. Our past has much to do with that. Destroying it or blindly imagining the symbols of that past will change anything is utterly naive. We might excuse the young for their revolutionary zeal - but this is not the way to express it.
Some universities report that books from libraries are being removed and destroyed by - presumably students - because they tell the tale of our past, both the good bits and the bad bits, and which these individuals vehemently believe have no place in our cultural legacy. How wrong they are. Who and what we are as a nation was crafted by past events and individuals. We were never destined to be a Utopia from the beginning of time - no nation state can claim that heritage - and it is a gross insult to our forebears to have a sub-generation of activists now trying to pretend that what we view as bad by todays standards was bad by theirs. We are an evolving society and we have gone through periods of greatness and success as well as many of tragedy and ill conceived outlooks and standards. But those were judged by the standards then - not now. What we are today is the product of what we were yesterday. Burning books and pulling down memorials is the first step towards fascism.
In the US the language phenomena is also at work. Quite apart from them having a president who can't actually string a coherent sentence together, a recent report on common languages being spoken across the America's focuses upon one called Telugu, a southern Indian language which has seen the most growth in usage over the last seven years. This is attributed to the preponderance of IT savvy graduates from southern India being recruited to US companies and the US's H-1B visa scheme which has centred upon Indian nationals. For the moment English is still the most widely spoken in the US, closely followed by Spanish - but, it seems, Telugu is now in the race. Maybe that's what Donald Trump is speaking to the world - no wonder we can't understand what he's saying !
John Lewis, one of the last bastions of British retail, is to stop selling DVD players once stocks run out. BB thought he was reasonably up-to-date in having one and actually buying DVD's. Apparently not, and dinosaur status beckons both the DVD and BB. On-line streaming is the way forward, we are told, combined with a 70 inch tv screen - that's almost bigger than BB's house. Yet it is innovative of John Lewis to move its technology base forward with the times. As other retailers bite the dust for not having changed to new ideas of retailing, let's applaud John Lewis for thinking ahead. Their latest hot-selling gizmo is a Wi-Fi operated doorbell - I haven't quite worked out yet why I might need one but I'll get there - eventually.