Bristling Brock speaks out...

 

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Trumpy has declared that the US has the ‘right’ to mine minerals on the moon.  This is quite an adventurous declaration and we should possibly wonder whether this does signify a new form of colonial ‘land grab’ by the US ?

On the face of it, it would look like a typically bombastic Trumpy outburst, something to deflect from his enormous misjudgements over COVID-19 infections.  Yet behind the declaration there is a grain of reality.  Who owns the Universe, who has ‘rights’ over it, yet in the time honoured practice of colonialism - which we Brits must acknowledge some prior experience of - the prizes go to those who either first get to some new piece of real estate or steal it from a lesser power.

Has the moon got minerals humankind wants, we might ask ?  The experts say it has, not least lithium and cobalt, the current power minerals that keep our technical gadgets working down here.  How would you mine it and transport it is another big question ?  What would be the physical consequences of churning up the moon - in much the same way as we have churned up the earth - and, bearing in mind it’s relatively small size when compared to Earth, and would this alter the delicate balance of the planets and their interactions ?  Thousands of questions arise, but if the traditional colonial mantra still applies, ‘...we need it, we want it and nobody can stop us’, seems to be the context in which Trumpy’s legislation has been framed.  

It’s certainly an adventurous strategy, one that continues humankind’s quest for ever exploring its environment.  Whether it’s the right thing to do, the realistic thing to do or the best thing to do at this stage of humanity’s evolution is history yet to be written.  It’s exciting and daunting at one and the same time...but that is the history of human evolution, isn’t it ?

Anyone who is nerdy enough - like Bristling Brock - and who keeps an eye on the flight radar tracking system of flights across the world will have noticed how empty Britain’s skies just are.  At one point on Good Friday, there wasn’t a single radar track of an aeroplane over the entire land mass of Great Britain (though that does exclude military flight activity).  It was quite extraordinary and probably only momentary but nonetheless a unique snapshot at just how much the COVID-19 lockdown has impacted upon the daily normality of our lives.  This nerdiness also flagged up that one of the few ‘regular’ arrivals at Heathrow was an Air China flight.  Surely we weren’t allowing yet more people from China into the country so freely ?  We would suppose not (hopefully) so might assume these were cargo flights bringing goodness knows what in the form of PPE and virus testing kits that our government paid up front for before knowing quite what it was they were buying.  Whether all such kit from China is usable or not we’ll probably never know, but yet again it gives us that extraordinary snapshot of a surreal environment that has been thrust upon most of the world.  Extraordinary times, extraordinary measures.

On the subject of China, the Huawei controversy has again risen to the surface.  Diplomatically, the Huawei chief has awaited Boris Johnson’s discharge from hospital before writing to him to underline the importance of his company’s technological input to the forthcoming 5G network.  There is much opposition to the very notion of letting a Chinese company to become intimately involved in the establishment of such a critical piece of our security and communications infrastructure, and likely with some good reason.  It’s hard to imagine that any technology company in China doesn’t have some level of connectivity with governmental foreign policy - and the very suspicion of Huawei’s potential connection with Chinese foreign policy strategies ought to be a significant warning to our decision makers about the potential threat this imposes.  With the entire 5G programme no doubt pushed out due to viral interruptions, there is still time for our government to make the right choice and deny Huawei that entry portal to our infrastructure.

COVID-19 has invaded all our lives very significantly.  All the more reason to be ashamed to see the video clip made by a nurse as she encountered a group of youths lounging about carelessly in a London park and quaffing beer.  As she challenged them to be more socially responsible, not least because nurses like herself were putting themselves at risk during their hospital and care duties, she received mouthfuls of vulgar abuse before they reluctantly cleared off - no doubt to resume their selfish indulgences somewhere else.  Most of our society is behaving responsibly in this crisis.  There will always be some who don’t care, are too stupid to recognise the risk and threat they pose, or too self indulgent to imagine that the rules also apply to them.  They may be a minority, but as you look around you realise that it is a noticeable minority, a dangerous minority who can prevent the successful suppression of infection spread.  Again, BB might suppose, an illustration of humankind’s sometimes perverse evolution.