As the Brexit negotiations enter yet another crisis mode, perhaps we should reflect upon the likely winners and losers of this protracted battle.
Britain will regain its sovereignty, its national right to decree its own laws and processes. Quite laudable if you’re a Euro-sceptic. Over the Channel we have the vested interests of 27 other nation states. It would be a mistake to imagine that those interests are common, for each has an agenda that focuses upon its own well being and prosperity. You could say that’s a laudable position for them as well. The EU, however, is a Continental Political Entity embracing those 27 disparate ambitions - some of which support a strong EU because they are net beneficiaries from its subsidies and largesse, and some that seek to be the captain of the European ship and its journey toward federalism. In that, Bristling Brock looks at the machinations of French political positioning in particular. It’s no coincidence that France has emerged as the agent of opposition to securing a Brexit deal. Let’s assume that there are no history denyers reading this, but for the last thousand years the interests of this island and that of France have been at odds. It’s almost built into the DNA of our respective societies and national outlooks. We both see ourselves as different and better than the other in an almost playground face-off between young belligerents. At some level it is an amusing back-drop to ancient historical conflicts but the reality is that it is still an emotive and strongly held belief on both sides of the Channel that there should be some one-upmanship in play. Brexit presents such an opportunity for the French. With German moral and financial guidance wavering, France has quickly adopted the captains cap on the good ship SS Europe. There are clear benefits to France in a no deal outcome - not least in the financial sector where Paris may well become the hub of investment activity for the entire bloc, London by then an outsider. It’s a lucrative goal for France to pitch for, so the blocking of deal conditions is very much to their advantage. And that’s the point - it is to France’s advantage, not necessarily the EU’s. We have a classic example of national interest taking precedence over the EU bloc’s interest. Read the history books, it’s happened before !
The Donald is still complaining of unfair electioneering. Whether that’s a true assertion or not, it brings disrepute to the broader church of American politics, that arena of intrigues that has always been plagued by cries of ‘Foul !’ and wrong-doing. In some respects it is the theatre that represents our views of much of America. It is television and film fodder which, as always, portrays good triumphing over evil - often wonderfully entertaining but subliminally setting the notion across the world that this big superpower is as dysfunctional as any tin-pot dictatorship. We cannot truly live our way of life without much of this American influence, and for certain aspects of that we should be grateful, but we should not bend our knee to this often bullying cousin. Whatever sizes and global influences may be, we are our own people and with a new American administration approaching we should not be the expected supplicant.
Eton is in the middle of a row over the expression of free truths and opinions versus the wokish dogma’s of current day public life. You can guess where Bristling Brock sits on this argument, an argument of puerility and political correctness that stifles the scope of young peoples thinking versus the argument of open-mindedness, freedom of thought and expression, of natural debate over all issues without constraint or fear of recrimination. Let us hope freedom of thought and opinion win the day. The alternative is dictatorial and wholly counter-productive.