Bristling Brock speaks out...

 

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We'll start today with a little look at Trumpland and the build up to their November elections.  It's an infinitely tedious process of fundraisers, rallies, speeches and travel as the two candidates parade themselves amidst their adoring supporters in a positively vulgar and egregious style - so much so it's enough to make the blood of an Englishman curdle.  As for the supporters themselves, it is sometimes hard to grapple with the imbued narrow mindedness of those that the media tend to pick out for comment.  It's very tribal, very introspective and, unfortunately, it is a glimpse of a society that remains fractured, disparate and in many respects dysfunctional.  We in Britain might have a different dynamic to political elections but we should not look entirely at the US with our noses in the air, for we also have cadres of political support that are immune to reasoned argument, rationale and progressive change.  But let us stick with the US for a moment or so....

The John Bolton revelations of insider White House chit-chat reinforce the view many in the non-US West see as typical behaviours and practices within recent American politics.  It has risen to a crescendo of insult and counter-insult, sackings intended to silence non-conformists, of ludicrous diversionary outbursts and cringing displays of political savvy and technique.   Yet whilst some traditional supporters of Trumpism have clearly begun to waver - perhaps they are actually thinking now - there are many that are cemented firmly in the Trumpist, right-wing camp.  The real peculiarity amidst this bizarre political circus is that some of that right-wing, off-the-page theatre has actually worked, not least in the case of the US economy.  Admittedly, the corona pandemic has messed much of that up - as elsewhere - but the underlying truth is that the US has uplifted itself and performed way beyond previous era's to be the only realistic economic challenger to China in the West.  Was that due to Trumpism or circumstance - we'll never really know, but the none too shy President is quite happy to take the credit.  And a force against Chinese economic and cultural influence is surely a necessary strategy in a world where the exploitation of a neighbours weakness has become commonplace.   Bristling Brock is no advocate of Trumpism, but grudgingly the rest of us need to concede that we all need that bulwark against invasive Chinese meddling; which raises that other spectre of Russia.   Quietly watching, undoubtedly active beneath the radar, and waiting for the moment when Western weakness is at a tipping point...and we've seen a few indicators of that in recent weeks.

Back home, we're still gripped by the risk of COVID-19 refreshing its assault upon us.   Perhaps the biggest mindset to change in all this is that COVID isn't likely to disappear, with or without a useful vaccine.   There is every probability that it will remain endemic amongst us.   So that requires one key thing to acknowledge - the acceptance of risk.   We have nurtured an almost universal risk-averse culture, one that seeks to mitigate any perceived risk whatever.  The reality, of course, is that risk is as endemic as COVID might become - it cannot be eradicated entirely.  So we need to come to terms with the fact that whatever we do in response to COVID in particular, we'll be taking risks.  Proportionately, they are the necessary risks to be taken in order to get economic activity functioning satisfactorily again and these are weighed against the risks of a continuing and active presence of this virus and the effects upon our communities.  The bald truth is that both the virus and a non-active economy will kill us.  So we have to make a judgement call.  Do the economic factors now outweigh the medical ones ?   And the undeniable response to that is an emphatic 'Yes'.  Unless we work we'll suffer more privations in the future, more susceptibility to disease and social disorder, more chaos (perhaps exactly what China and Russia hope for) and a disintegration of that which has taken a thousand years to nurture.   Risk is inevitable.  We just need to recognise that.