The hustings may be ongoing but in real terms they have no significance to the outcome of the Tory leadership election. The political blather that comes out in the hustings is mere froth, a theatrical episode that the process requires both candidates to endure yet say nothing meaningful about. In some respects that is still a measure of how the Westminster political process is still detached from the realities of public opinion, believing that it still has a resonance with the public - or perhaps just the Party faithful - and 'delivers' democracy. We must all hope that if that is the Westminster interpretation of democracy then the new Prime Minister will have the gumption to dump that misguided ideology and rethink the whole dynamic of how governance is still a pact that should follow that ancient Roman mantra of 'governance of the people, by the people for the people'. The days of elites, wealth owners and vested interest may not be entirely numbered, but there needs to be a recognition that the underpinning power rests with the electorate and that the equilibrium position between that electoral power and that of those 'who would be king' does require some significant re-definition.
The other aspect about the Tory leadership contest that occurs to Bristling Brock repeatedly concerns the opportunity to make some of these fundamental bedrock changes to the way this country is run. It would be tragic if the opportunity was missed or even failed to be recognised by the contenders. Words are cheap at the hustings and are clearly designed to display the breadth of concern they each have for our future governance. But it is the electorate, if not now but at the next general election, to determine whether the successful candidate has that real breadth of understanding that requires a systemic shift in the structures of governance - in parliament, in the cabinet and perhaps most significantly in the manner in which the civil service influences government strategy and policy. Right now, none of those branches of governance are shining examples of democratic behaviour and each and every one does need to re-align its vision upon something. The new Prime Minister will need to act decisively upon each facet and, perhaps radically in some cases, to demonstrate real attitudinal and action changes to British governance - and that will require a strength of character, persuasive skill, courage, defiance and an innate belief in it being the right thing to do. In other words, passion. And of the two candidates, there's only one who has the potential for this, albeit being quite well hidden during the conventions of husting meetings. This is the moment of truth, the moment when the opportunity inspired by Brexit will be taken up by the winner or left in the pending tray.
BB finds it interesting that what started as Brexit, that definitive change in the relationship Britain has with the main European bloc, has become an instrument for a wider structural change to the British way of life. Brexit remains an important issue in itself but it is irrevocably linked to that almost seismic pressure to reorganise what Britain is, how it thinks, behaves and views the wider world. We are no longer a big world power where our strategic opinions matter that much to other nations, but what we have had in the past and what we can achieve again in the future, is an integrity, a nation at peace with itself, authoritative in what it knows about, robust in its response to bullying and unequivocal about that magical balance between necessary governance and that which supports and encourages its people. This is the golden opportunity for Britain to re-shape itself into a forward looking and fairer place to live. We've often espoused that principle but in the last couple of decades or more our governments have failed to see the real future. Now is their chance to take the blindfold off.
Trumpy continues to amaze with his brinkmanship games with China and Iran. By association, Britain is drawn into his sphere of influence, sending marines in to seize an oil tanker bound for Syria that compromises our own integrity and puts British interests at risk. Trumpy may well see that as being the way in which the spurious 'special relationship' is played, but we would do well to open our eyes and recognise that that is a one-way street. There is only one beneficiary from the special relationship - and it isn't us.