Bristling Brock speaks out...

 

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Under siege ?  Perhaps a bit dramatic a description but from Britain to the US, Spain, Syria, North Korea and probably countless other places we see a distinct pressure being put upon government.  Some of that is domestic, in other places it is international but common to all is the image of challenge to government.

In the US, we see a continuance of bad judgement with the enforced resignation of and criminal and tax fraud charges being levied against President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.  The administration there is also under scrutiny for its use of military adventures in the name of combatting world terrorism.  That’s a hard one to really see the nitty gritty of as few of us are privy to what information the US might have about such organisations but has been brought into focus by the recent events in Niger where US special forces have been operating.  The key point, rather than the foreign interventions themselves, is that the scrutiny is aimed at potentially limiting the powers of the presidency, curtailing Mr Trump’s ability to wage war in foreign lands without Congressional authority - in effect reducing presidential autonomy.  It’s not a new situation but it is one that the current Trump administration has managed to publicly highlight.  Inevitably, there’ll be judgements in the court of human opinion that will sour any proper amendment to this authority.

Spain, of course, is the current topical challenge with the Catalonian dispute continuing to excite and challenge the legalities and methods surrounding regional autonomy.  As always, statistics, percentages and other numbers are being bandied about by both sides of the controversy in attempts to ‘prove’ who has the moral authority to either break away or remain constitutionally a part of the larger whole.  Spain will probably win over Catalonia - but at what cost to freedoms of speech, opinion, association and democracy ?   Not so long ago Spain still had a fascist government and it needs to be careful about how it re-imposes it’s authority over a wealthy region that clearly doesn’t, in part, wish to be governed by a central administration in Madrid whilst a roughly equal part of Catalans do wish that.  Thorny challenge - but Spain needs to play this one with kid gloves.

North Korea is still a nuclear threat that is in the hands of somewhat unstable political and opposing ideologies.  Perhaps the deeper question to ask is just how did NK manage to invest sufficient in such a complex technology when its own domestic wealth creating capacity appears significantly below par ?  In other words, who is pouring money into NK’s nuclear capability ?  Is this China, Iran, Russia or someone else ?  Perhaps we’ll never know for sure but it seems like a consortia of the West’s preferred ‘enemies’ are the most likely candidates - something that accentuates the continuing divide between ‘the West’ and everyone else.  Has the Cold War really finished, I wonder....

Here in Britain it still looks as though the government remains in a ‘drawbridge up’ position with little information or disclosure coming out over matters Brexit.  All the speculations and theories are bouncing around the media but with almost no governmental reaction - is the bill going to be higher, is a trade deal looking more feasible, how realistic is a no deal scenario, and so on and on.  No information from government = a high level of speculation and public concern.  Another key debate going on is the cut-back to certain armed forces budgets, notably those of the Royal Navy, with the proposal to sell off some ships that still provide valuable service and decommission others before thinking through the full implications.  These are just two illustrations of unsatisfactory judgement in government and rising public disquiet over the management of our affairs.  By contrast, for the moment, our government seems utterly obsessed with sex scandals, paedophilia, gender equality and related purges.   Just where we are going as a nation sometimes eludes me when governance seems more driven by populist sensations than it is by crucial political, social and economic well being.  I won’t be so bold as to diminish the importance of some of these populist reactions but proportionality in governance is key to confidence and faith in governance.  I’m not sure we have anything near proportionality at the moment.

History records that most governments become unpopular with time and events.  The West believes it has the mandate to preach its form of democracy around the world.  But as has been said in these posts before, do you actually believe you live in a true democracy here....in the cradle of parliamentary rule ?  Food for thought....