Bristling Brock speaks out...


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Now that the British are going to be involved in the European parliamentary elections we are seeing extraordinary outbursts and rank nastiness amongst the political classes.  On the whole, none of them do themselves any favours in these petulant and acrimonius utterances as we, the public, look on in ever increasing incredulity over their behaviour, manner and utter arrogance.

If nothing else, it is further demonstration that we are both governed and influenced (unreasonably) by a cadre of politicians who, frankly, we should not be heeding at all.  Bristling Brock listened with amazement at the PM's recent retort to a question from Andrea Jenkyns in the Commons about whether she should resign or not, claiming that [Brexit] '...isn't about me, it's about you ! [parliament].  If I'd had my way we'd be out of the EU by now...'  In literal terms, Mrs May is correct - but had we gone her way we would already be feeling the vassalage to the EU and the neutering of our national advantage completely.  Delusion is one thing, sheer incompetence is quite another.  Yet it is this blindness to reality that comes over to the public time and again, not just from the PM - though she certainly takes the prize for the most flabby and ambiguous gaffs - but also from just about every pundit stalking around Westminster.  Everyone wants a slice of the chaos in the belief that they can emerge with some 'I told you so' kudos that will benefit their positions going forward.  The shallowness, the displayed anger is so blatently disingenuous and so palpably visible to the public that we must all be shuddering at this theatre macabre.

And where does this all leave Britain ?  Not in a good place to be sure.  Already humiliated and diminished amongst our peer group of nations (perhaps 'peer' is now the wrong word to use) we are seen to be squabbling, inconsistent, perpetually divided, and utterly rudderless in the manner of our governance and future position in the world.

As a governmental position we have rejected a Brexit 'no-deal', we have thankfully rejected Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement three times and we are dancing foolishly at a late stage around the table with the Labour Opposition to no good purpose and the EU are resolutely not agreeing to any further negotiation on how this country might exit the EU.  So where do we go from here ?  Whilst it would have been preferable to have an agreement with the EU that was not so subservient as Mrs May's botched Withdrawal Agreement the practical reality now is that parliament has to rescind its opposition to a 'no-deal' exit.  The European parliamentary elections are likely to just about bury the Conservatives and marginalise the Labour Party to such an extent that they will, de facto, have little in the way of a legal mandate to call the shots on our governance.   In terms of radical change to the way in which we create our governing structures this may not be such a bad position but we need to be sure that the alternative options are realistic, capable and sustainable as political groupings.  Those elections will likely throw up a collective of smaller political groupings that, if a British general election quickly follows, would be probably put in the position of working as a coalition.  Coalitions are fragile entities in themselves and tend to only have temporary usefulness so we would be looking for a dominant swing in one direction or another to become the potential new player in Westminster.   Quite which player that might be is still not certain but we, the public, need to use our votes wisely and thoughtfully.  This is the crossroads.  We need to choose the direction with care, acknowledging the need for change but ensuring that the 'change' we select has both the true philosophy of our national interest and the means (financial, social and political) to endure whilst we recover from this awful blight of Tory/Labour inertia.

Bristling Brock was pleased to hear Johnny Mercer standing up for our Northern Irish campaign veterans.  Belatedly, the MoD has joined in that chorus.  Prosecuting soldiers who were in the most ambiguous and dangerous circumstances for their actions is against the spirit of why we actually have armed forces.  We cannot expect soldiers to be put in harms way and then tell them thirty or more years later that they committed crimes and will be prosecuted.  Absolute idiocy by those who have brought these actions about.  War is an unpredictable business and armchair strategists who take the moral high ground without the reality check of having been there themselves should really shut up and go away.

On a similar theme it is reported today that the procurement of a new generation of communications for our first responders is not only way behind schedule but also going to cost more than £3.1 billion extra than was originally envisaged - yes, that's £3.1 billion extra !  If we ever get the political change that's necessary in this country that should also cascade down to the absurd and downright inefficient procurement strategies of state owned agencies.  Always seeking 'value for money' this invariably means accepting the cheapest bid.  We see it here with comms, we've seen it with aircraft carriers, aircraft, submarines, nuclear missiles, computer systems and countless other big capital projects where buying cheap has led to eventually buying a botched product costing umpteen times as much.   We not only need wise heads in governance, we need them also in the civil service.

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