Much against many people’s instincts, there is a whiff of change taking place in the EU. Whilst still tough on the pre-conditions of Brexit there is a ghostly presence of something softer in the process, of attitude and perhaps of a realisation that ‘murdering’ Britain (so to speak) won’t be good for them either. This isn’t a cave-in by the EU but it is the first hint at a recognition of the need to make a trade agreement with the UK.
I’m not convinced this has been brought about by crafted negotiation rather it seems to have occurred like a light bulb moment with the EU suddenly coming to terms with the undeniable two-way consequences of the Brexit departure. The main consequence for the EU is the jeopardy to £70 billion or so in exports to the UK and a cessation of very generous budget contributions; the secondary consequence to them is the danger of a leadership change in the UK, creating a shift in the dynamic of the negotiations and the added threat of ‘political rebellion’ in Britain if that leadership change were to bring in a Labour government. All valid reasons for sticking with what you know rather than the unpredictable socialism a Labour administration would bring.
As Mrs May has declared, there is still a gap to fill and a closer meeting of minds, but it is a start. Mrs May is probably also well aware that the EU’s tacit support for her is not so much to do with a softening approach to her appeals as it is to do with the EU’s desire not to create further confusion at this stage of the discussions. The PM is still highly vulnerable.
I was nicely driven to smiles the other day after reading about Lulu, the failed CIA sniffer dog. It seems that Lulu wasn’t able to concentrate sufficiently during her training to be an explosives sniffer and has been booted off her training course. What an indignity, but she has landed up in a snug new role as the house dog of her former trainer and handler. Good for her.
I was also driven to smile at another little tid-bit of news about the ‘hoistable house’. This is a full sized brick construction house that is built on a Lego-like platform attached to hydraulic pistons that, at the flick of a switch when floods are approaching, can be raised five feet into the air - the flood waters presumably flowing happily beneath it. What wasn’t revealed was what would happen to all the pipes, wires and other bits and pieces that connect a house to stuff underground. Do they somehow uncoil and extend upward with the house ? I wonder also whether it would have something like an airliners escape chute attached to the front door so that the occupants could slide out and raft away to the nearest dry supermarket. My final thought on this extraordinary invention would be about current brick built structures. Looking around at the way some of the plethora of new build sites actually build houses in this current boom for construction, raising them up five feet would probably collapse the lot of them. Maybe that is the objective for the building industry - build, flood, collapse, re-build, keep putting the money in the bank....
And now a brief look at my favourite international politician, Von Trump. Despite the efforts of former presidents Obama and Bush to convince him that he’s in the wrong job, Mr Trump has seen fit to Twitter about British crime statistics and the connection of these to jihadist terrorists. I’m all for being diligent on containing and eradicating terrorists but what Mr Trump was thinking of with this remark seems typically bizarre. ‘We must defend America’ he ranted. Absolutely, that is your presidential duty, Mr Trump, but what has that got to do with our crime statistics we may ask ? More than likely nothing. Maybe even his wife, Melania, has got the message as reports of her using a doppelgänger double to accompany her husband has emerged. If she’s smart she’ll be back in Eastern Europe by now hiding out.
And finally, a thought for Hillary Clinton, now on her new book signing circuit around the world. Appropriately named ‘What Happened ?’ she is now earning her living as a travelling raconteur of her political misfortunes. Sad, but nevertheless moderately entertaining to listen to (I somehow doubt Mrs May would have the same panache as Mrs Clinton in doing this when her turn comes around...).