Bristling Brock speaks out...

 

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Maybe it's the warm weather, maybe it's the bewilderment over political leadership contests or maybe it is just downright political and social apathy that besets us now as a nation.

It is probably true that the political stage has frustrated a good many in recent weeks (if not recent years) and we are fast reaching a state of inertia where our broader inability to influence matters meaningfully has guided us - willingly or otherwise - into a position of indifference.  There is seemingly one overriding ambition left and that is getting on with Brexit.  And that's unconditional - just achieve Brexit one way or the other.  Bristling Brock doesn't entirely subscribe to this singular and almost desperate plea to 'just do it', but that seems to be the way of things just now.  The broader questions are not appearing on the public agenda and BB could possibly imagine that is because there is a limit to the level of political frustration folk will tolerate and register.  Beyond that, withdrawal to a singular argument is the only twitch left in the corpus of British society

Elsewhere in the political ring, the Labour Party are still embroiled in that impossible dilemma over anti-semitism - and that is a debate that's now afflicting the Tories.  Quite apart from what is and what is not considered to be anti-anything, are we witnessing a progressing shift in social values from that old-fashioned notion of freedom of speech (for which I seem to recall we have, in part, fought two World Wars to uphold) to those of vocal minorities and so-called liberal cliques that believe in pretty much anti-everything that upholds the former ?  That's a bit of a complicated muddle of ideas but whilst BB would not wish to deny any legitimate group to be represented and heard, it is getting harder for those who believe in the concept of free speech to even voice an opinion - be those conformant to the clamour or in contradiction to that noise.  By the very nature of humanity, there are issues upon which we will all disagree, but is it not the very foundation of our desired democratic principles that we allow a broad church of view, opinion, position and outlook to be expressed without fear of attack from the self-appointed social conscience purveyors who shout the loudest ?   There are necessarily some very appropriate exceptions to that - notably the restriction on what some would preach that would incite violence and treason against the state - but on general social and political issues BB is finding the limitations being imposed upon free speech, freedom of expression and opinion being voiced without danger of hostile counter-attack are increasing exponentially.  You can't say this, you can't say that, you can't even be allowed to think what you would think - all these politically prescribed hurdles fundamentally undermine the essence of what we accept as democracy and, in this country, have traditionally fought to uphold for centuries.   

Are we not better than this ?  Are we not able to cope with disagreement in a civilised and orderly fashion that allows debate without rancour ?  We should all be wary of allowing the zealots to rule our thinking - whichever part of the debate they claim to represent.   If Brexit means anything at all, quite apart from its political and trade issues, should it not be the opportunity for Britain to re-evaluate precisely what it wants to be, how it behaves, what its social and international norms should be and, perhaps above all, that it affirms its commitment to that oldest of old freedoms - that of speech and opinion ?   Right now, we are in danger of losing it by being embroiled in the fog of apathy.