Bristling Brock speaks out...

 

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Well, Boris, predictably perhaps, has become the new Prime Minister.  Whilst it is still a Tory government with - presumably - the objective in part of preserving itself as a political entity, it has some signs that quite radical change in government focus if not parliamentary reform is on the agenda.

Let's face it, we were never going to get the full shake-up of Westminster that we've mooted for the entire period of the Brexit process, but what we do have now is the possibility - let's not describe it beyond that for the moment - that there is a dynamic in play with a gathering of individuals who are prepared to think outside of the orthodoxy of traditional Westminster behaviour.  That's a positive to be built upon.  We need politicians and government alike to start being upbeat about what needs to be done, being enthused by the challenge of a Britain with a new mode of leadership (we hope) and equally stimulated to start seeing the opportunities rather than the rabbit holes all of the time.  Gone are the soothsayers of May's government.  Out have gone the detractors and opponents that have infested the positions of high office.  Yet there are still loud noises being made by the leaderless army of anti-Brexit campaigners, an army of convinced sceptics who would prefer the inclusiveness of a federalised Europe rather than seeing the opportunities that Britain could develop if allowed to.  In short, we are still very much divided on the whole issue of Brexit.

There is an imperative here, is there not ?   If there is acceptance that Brexit was legally mandated and undertaken, that parliament set Article 50 in motion and that all party manifesto's (perhaps excepting the SNP and the LibDems) supported the principle of leaving the EU then that is what must happen if the very idea of democracy is to hold water.   A rebuttal of Article 50 or a second referendum - as things legally and constitutionally stand - would not be legal.   What would be the legal status of a 'Let's stay in the EU' majority vote emerging from a second referendum ?  Remainers would no doubt argue that it took precedence.  Leavers would say that the first vote was the legally binding one.   Division and further schisms would continue.  That is not what this country needs.  We need bold, imaginative and positive leadership from Westminster, not an endless continuance of mealy mouthed pundits predicting either Utopia or Armageddon.  That time has passed and now we need government to grasp the nettle and fulfill the legal mandate of leaving.  And if we have to leave with no deal that will be unfortunate, but it would perhaps underline how short-sighted and petty the EU have become toward anyone challenging their club rules.   Britain needs the global market to play in.   It needs the choices of doing deals with those who wish to do deals with us - and not everyone will, there will always be some who choose a different path of their own - and Britain needs to recover that sense of worth, of self-pride, confidence and ambition that the EU stifles.

Our circumstances may not be perfect but they are looking infinitely better than they did under the previous government, and once the Brexit phase is concluded one way or the other, then we can turn much needed attention to our domestic and social agendas.

If this government is not perfect, then so be it - seldom do we achieve perfection.  But let them get on with the job, stop squabbling and detracting and let's all push for the new pathway for Britain to follow.

 

 

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Todays mini-blog is about a topic that caught Bristling Brock's eye.  It's not the stuff of mainstream politics or world goings on just yet - but it could be.   And it got this old dog thinking...

There has been some debate going on for a while about the advancement of AI and where this may lead toward in terms of the continuance of the ideology of democracy.   It's an intriguing subject and Brexit seems to be a part of that dynamic conversation.

This last week, Elon Musk has been talking about his latest project, Neuralink - in short, a linkage between super-smart computer algorithms and the human brain.  Some have described it as 'brain-hacking', a process by which the neural capacity of human cognitive thinking can be replicated by a computer.  This is the stuff of Dan Dare's world is it not !   It's a big subject but the aspect that caught Bristling Brock's attention inevitably had a political angle to it.

The argument goes that if we, as humans, cease to need our brains to process data and create choices and decisions (because a future computer would do all this tedious work for us), we would actually cease to have any social cohesion, any political bias or indeed, any need for the notion of democracy - the computer would enable us to exist in a world where all choices suited everyone and there was no variance in ideology.  Utopia, eh ?   That's a frightening scenario to BB - it may work in Hollywood but the human species must surely be a more complex entity than can be entrusted to a computer - big and beastly as it may be.  The issue being debated is that if we allow technology to usurp the human capacity to manage and control itself - imperfectly as that may be - then at some point we reach some Orwellian stage where humanity becomes subservient to technology.  At that point there is no capability (or even need) for humankind to develop social structures, societies, laws, political groupings and the concept of national boundaries and cultural influences.  It would be like The Stepford Wives vision imposed upon us all.... 

The ongoing debate essentially must be about not whether we can reach this state of technical superiority but whether we should.   Progress and development clearly are natural, ongoing processes in themselves and we should not reject that as a model for trying to improve the world, but we must surely also take account of exactly what being human means.  A topical example of that is the Brexit process (though BB cringes at the notion that this has actually been a process rather than a super-botched piece of political inanity) is cited as being a popular rejection of becoming integrated into a supra-national, federal entity of Europe - a conscious human decision exercising a democratic opportunity to reject a political drift towards that state.  It can be described as nationalism, a desire to be managed by those who share our values and believe in the (limited) democracy that we broadly uphold.  These are choices made by individuals about our society, our way of life, our independence from authoritarianism and they partly characterise the human spirit.  And the cognitive force behind that choice was created by individuals rather than by an algorithmic technology.  That we have others in our society who oppose this dynamic is also part of the fundamental bedrock of a democratic grouping of people - dissent is healthy to a degree but societal norms tend to prevent it becoming overly destructive.  We are left with majority decisions (within our concept and grasp of existing democratic workings) which represent the substance of the human condition.  Choice ! 

Let's hang on to being human.  Once we're not, we're extinct !

Back to more political stuff next time.   

 

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Brexit as a debate is still blasting back and forth between those who would leave and those who would remain.  The tactics of debate are as partisan as they ever were and have perpetuated the position of there being no clear way ahead.   This, more than anything else, has begun to damage our economy, our confidence and our very democracy.

It's often bandied about that if the electorate had known what it was voting for in 2016 then Brexit would never have come about.  Commentators and members of the public alike, when asked now what they voted for, frequently state that if we had known the facts that we 'know' now that we didn't know then, then Brexit would not have begun its tangled journey through our divisive and unrepresentative political system.   And this is where Bristling Brock challenges the assertion that we were ignorant of the consequences in 2016 but are now fully informed of the Doomsday predictions being constantly launched from Westminster.  In some respects, that statement is correct - we are very informed now of the Doomsday predictions authored by Hammond, Carney, Gaulk, May, Stewart, Hague, the LibDems and countless others.   But their predictions are not fact.   What they are saying repeatedly is that it will be a disaster for Britain if there is no negotiated and acceptable deal for Britain with the EU and we revert to the legal position of no deal.  They present no facts, they present a scenario designed to agitate a very febrile political state and sow the seeds of concern, anxiety and rejection of the referendum result.  But BB repeats - nobody that is credible in this debate has actually calculated what 'disaster' means - there are no soundly based figures, no economic theories that hold water in the absence of facts, no policies that represent the majority electorate.  All that is being presented, nay, bombarded upon the British public, is a fresh wave of craftily orchestrated and theatrically hysterical fear, a fear that those committed to not leaving the EU hope will so damage the cohesion and position of the Leave campaign that either a second referendum will be called by the new Prme Minister or a blockage to the no deal option in parliament can be upheld and the option thrown into the waste bin.  But fear and speculative story-telling is not fact.  BB would suggest that the electorate knows very little additional 'fact' now than they had in 2016; what the electorate have had a surfeit of is vested interest interventions, speculation, opinion, if's-but's-maybe's and the weight of the Westminster pro-EU establishment behind an organised campaign to discredit the referendum result.  Those who campaign thus do not possess facts to support their disaster theories because this is a unique situation without precedent.   In truth, nobody has a completely clear idea as to what will happen if a no deal Brexit occurs.  What we should be saying loudly is that the referendum result was a legally mandated choice that expressed the democratic will of the wider British population - and, as this blog has often argued before, we trash our democratic processes at our peril.  If we British allow Project Fear to win the day - and make no mistake that that is precisely what some sections of the establishment, executive, parliament and the media are pumping out in volumes - then we will get a society so riven with discord, distrust, anger and increasing faithlessness that whatever the engineered outcome of Brexit these people conjure up it will be nothing as compared to the civil,political and social strife that will build up rapidly around this country.

Respect the referendum, respect the democratic right (necessity) for the 2016 choice to be implemented, respect that no deal is a necessary part of any EU renegotiation, respect that if renegotiation is fruitless then no deal is the way to pursue.   Project Fear should not be the measure by which this decision is brought about rather it should be Project Re-Birth being hailed - confidence, hope, and belief in what this country can do - in spite of the Westminster cliques.  Britain has re-invented itself many times in the last two millennia; there is no reason - no restraining facts - that it cannot be re-invented again.   We need courage and a sense of excitement and anticipation about our future outside of the EU - after all, the EU is nothing more than a gentlemans club with a rule book - and we should not allow those who would drag us down with their miserable predictions succeed.

Trumpland, as ever, has a fresh episode of extraordinary behaviour almost weekly which, predictably involve a turn-about viewpoint being expressed just days later.   It is still difficult to fathom whether Trump is very clever at manipulating people and situations that he can wriggle free of in almost an instant or whether he is just a bull in a china shop crashing about.  Perhaps that is his true intent, to create that ambiguity of purpose that sees the scales dipping and rising constantly, giving little solid ground for his opponents to really present their case against him.   Is it really clever - or is it just crass ineptitude ?  Yet nobody can deny that within the US, the economy, employment and even on Capitol Hill, there is an up-beat story to tell.  Whether people love him or hate him, they are generally doing better from him - and that is his appeal to the majority of the US population - possibly 250 million or so of forgotten America - who, like us in Britain, have previously been forsaken by their governments.  It's certainly hard to like him, but he's doing somethings that are benefitting the common American.  And that'll get him a second term in 2020.  

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