We may wonder why the British parliament has to wait nearly 2½ weeks to debate the Withdrawal Agreement over Brexit when the meetings and final discussions with the EU were conveniently slotted in one after the other within a single week.
Several things occur to Bristling Brock. One, it imposes a 'cooling-off' period on British opinion movers and shakers, allowing time for taking the hot steam out of any sense of betrayal over the rigid and most damning constitutional document Britain has seen in centuries. Second, it gives the PM a two week window to 'sell' the argument on the Agreement to both wavering politicians and the totally bemused British public; half of whom feel utterly betrayed and the other half not quite knowing whether they should be rejoicing or crying. BB is not looking forward to having to listen to or read about Mrs May's quite extraordinary rationale for believing the Agreement is good for Britain and the fulfilment of the Brexit pledge which will be repeatedly spread over the next 14 or so days. Ugggh ! Third, if we take note of the hurridly expanded political declaration in the Withdrawal Agreement document - amazing how quickly that was drawn up, eh ? - we hear the flabby and interpretive expression that we will create 'an ambitious and meaningful partnership with the EU on trade, security, scientific research....' etc, etc. Now let's think about that for a moment. Theoretically, the Agreement aligns us with EU regulation and judicial interpretation until December, 2020, ie, nothing much will change after 29th March, 2019. We'll pay our £39 billion divorce settlement (some speculate the real figure will be closer to £60 billion), reduce our monthly pay-cheques to the EU by an undisclosed amount and sit back and accept every edict the EU pronounces in our name. Very good display of democracy and an appalling outcome of absolutely ineffective British negotiation. At that point in 2020 the interested parties will likely agree to an extension of the implementation period because the solution to the Irish border problem will be nowhere near any state of acceptable resolution. So, the government defers the active timetable until a general election technically becomes the reality and, hey presto, the government declare that they've not quite achieved all the conditions required of the implementation period anda further twelve months will be required. And so it will go on. The significnce of this to the 2½ week parliamentary review is that parliament cannot judge what has not yet occurred, ie, the implementation period, so when it does go in front of the Commons they can only vote upon the implications of the deal up until December, 2020. What happens beyond that is anybody's guess but the PM needs time to convince MP's that their vote is qualified - it is not the absolute curtain call on the deal - there will be more that they have no vote upon. Her clarion call may well be' Vote this through now and if you all behave, I'll think kindly of you when the next election officially falls due.'
But enough of betrayal and subterfuge. We'll hear plenty of that in the weeks ahead.
Russia is again in the news, with its navy interferring with Ukrainian ships legitimately trying to get into the Sea of Azov where both countries have coastlines - if you accept that Eastern Ukraine is still Ukrainian and not Russian. If the video clips of Russian ships ramming Ukrainian ships is real and not fabricated (the clips were released by the Ukrainian government but look as though they were shot from a Russian ship) then we might think that this is Russian bullying at its best. What it says to the outside world, whoever released the clips, is that Russia has absolutely no interest or regard for world opinion about its actions in the region of The Crimea and Ukraine. This is Putin saying 'F*** you all, I don't care - this is my backyard !' And what might the combined weight of the West do about this. Squat diddly. The West is not going to hype up the tensions between itself and Russia if it has any sense - though I'll exclude the US from that statement - because as things stand the West could be squashed by any Russian action that it chose. Sure, the Americans could launch a mighty counter-strike that would embroil half the world in a nuclear Armageddon, but only the Chinese would emerge from that smiling inscrutably. Sanctions ma hurt the common Russian but Putin cares little for the common citizen - he is an expendable pawn on his global chessboard. So do we just watch ? The likely answer to that is that it is 'Yes'. As the paraphrased old proverb goes about China 'Let the giant sleep - for when he awakes we'll all be in trouble'. Worrying about Putin is one thing, but we do not want to hand the reins of world power to China - the most likely beneficiary of a Western conflict.
Global warming is also gaining some traction - despite Donald Trump denying its existence. The interaction of so many factors makes this an issue we should all be thoughtful of. There is cyclic weather change - it has occurred every 100,000 years or so since a bi-pedal creature first stalked the earth - and there is an acceleration factor added by man and his industrial and social activities particularly over the last two centuries. We have to change our ways. Burying our head in the sand like Trumpy will not pay dividends. The nature of our world needs radical improvement, particularly in the ways that man treats it. But at the end of this, nature will have its way. The cycle will continue and we will have a period of sea temperature rises, rises in sea levels and evident impacts upon our nations which will, in the fulness of time, come around again to the next ice age. That may be 20-30,000 years away - but it might occur sooner if we don't amend the way we treat this planet. That is our mission. To improve what we can and accept what we can't - though science may dispute the how's and when's.