It's probably true of all broad scope treaties and agreements between nations that after the handshakes (and elbow knocking these days) there is a brief period of relief followed by the noise of advancing hordes of tut-tutting bureaucrats who will ponder the finer details of what's what and twist the interpretations in all manner of ways.
And it is the advance of the bureaucrats that is imminently about to descend across Europe. Every state will have its debate warriors and scribes there to scratch away the superfluity of the agreement and instead drill down to the crunch issues that divide the parties. With Brexit, this could go on for quite a long time - it's an international civil service golden egg moment - years of paperwork, reporting, consulting, amending, re-writing, changing direction and so on and so on. Yet we might consider this to be the dreary mechanical stuff of Western democracy, for without it we have rules by diktat and imposition rather than by tediously worked out detail. So let's face it - most of us cringe at the prospect of analysing every nut and bolt of the agreement, it takes that special breed of nerd to be able to undertake and enjoy such a mind-blowing amount of tedium and come up waving tomes of reportage that, frankly, very few people will ever read. But it's that very analysis and scrutiny that distinguishes the democracy from the dictatorship, that enables politicians to lift weighty volumes in their democratic chambers and assert that the detail has been looked into and the will of the people has been upheld. So, a little bit of a 'good luck chaps' smile toward our doughty civil servants - we don't much care for you as a species but we know you're a necessary part of the way of life we all cherish.
This brings Bristling Brock to the lofty halls of the BBC. Even now, after the thrust of Brexit and trade agreements have been reached, we have the ever lovely to look at battery of lady political reporters still twisting their scalpels into any politician who deigns to put his or her head above the parapet. Their mantra must be 'Let us sow doubt, gloom, awful predictions and question for ever why so and so didn't do something before now !' Old John the Baptist had nothing on the current swathe of BBC Ladies. So why can't these undoubtedly smart and accomplished reporters actually switch their tone - occasionally if not always - to one of support, positivity, and faith in the future ? Are we so inured to gloom and set-back in this country that we cannot actually get by without a daily dose of catastrophe ? (BB won't even go there about Eastenders in this context....). Not that long ago, we were, on the whole, a positive nation, sometimes up against it, but nevertheless cheekily upbeat. We need that back. We need the nation to start feeling good about itself, about the prospects, the opportunities and the mental well-being of feeling positive, we need to start caring about our nation state and what it means to the way-of-life we understand and seek. Not everything will go our way and we must be clever enough and determined enough to overcome these hurdles, but unless we start believing in the future as a positive and opportunity strewn pathway then we'll stay stuck in the mire. So come on, BBC, put those clever reporters to an infinitely better use.
Having said all that - the Brits are - once again - disgracing themselves in foreign parts. First we have skiers in the French Alps and then we have the backpackers letting everyone know about the worst of British culture in Australia. We seem as a nation to have a penchant for selfishness and irresponsible behaviour whether we are over indulged nouveau riche or lager louts incapable of understanding the most basic of behavioural boundaries. We may be smarter, and more technologically savvy these days, but it seems there are still many who haven't yet risen above the bog when it comes down to individual behaviour, common sense and social responsibility.
Saints preserve us !