Bristling Brock speaks out...


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There is much afoot this last few days as the row over the suspension of parliament and the scheduling of a new Queens Speech to herald a new parliament reaches quite frenzied proportions.

A good deal is being bandied about on the subject of democracy - or rather the alleged government attack upon democracy, the onset of dictatorship and the rocky road toward us becoming an authoritarian state.  What absolute bunkum !   The very essence of democracy is unquestionably the freedom to express disagreement, the wishes of the majority to hold precedence (without this in any way dismissing the minority positions legitimacy to argue for alternative ways) and for the general good order prescribed by that ancient and overriding concept of the Rule of Law.  That all said, the form of democracy we have is certainly not perfect, but as all things constitutional in this country it is an evolving process, ever changing, adapting and trying (not always successfully it might be said) to reflect the cultural shifts as well as the legal obligations that we should all be respectful of.  That adaptivity is what binds us as a nation state.

Bristling Brock (who is neither Tory nor Socialist at heart) supports Mr Johnson on this issue.  Many others do not.  That we have an opportunity to take different positions and express them is a sign of democracy at work.  We would all soon notice if this rather subjective freedom was denied to us.  And whilst Parliament is a significant force within the workings of democracy, it is not exclusive - democracy is an everyday presence in our lives over which Parliament often has little or no knowledge at all - and which, BB suspects, the vast majority of the population themselves never link to this very important cocoon around us that we all, blithely enjoy.  Yes, we may seek changes to the methodology by which our democratic representatives are selected and also the proportionate numbers of electoral votes that enable those candidates to be in the running at all - those aims in themselves are a healthy sign of a living-breathing democracy - but we should all be wary of abusing that privilege.

With Brexit we have a legally decided mandate to leave the EU.   Logic would suggest that having some sort of negotiated withdrawal would be preferable to just walking out of the door.   Regrettably, for almost three and a half years we have had a government prevaricating, supplicating themselves and merely trying to look as though they were going through the motions of actually preparing to leave the EU.  If there is any transgression of democracy here, that is it.  A complete abrogation by those charged with a specific task actively working against its fulfilment.  Now, that government has been dismissed and we have a new government that has the stated aim of ensuring that Britain does leave the EU - that is the democratic position of the majority, the legal position, the moral position and most likely the position that has this nation's best interests at heart.  True, this new government has not been elected in the classical fashion, but nor was Mrs May's tenure, Gordon Brown's and countless other administrations over past decades.  It is not an essential whilst the Parliamentary term is still running.  And this Parliament has had an extraordinarily long run which Mr Johnson is now bringing to an end so that a new legislative programme can be put in place for future parliamentary discussion and approval.  Absolutely nothing strange about that, nothing dictatorial, nothing at all that could be classed as anti-democratic.

What we are experiencing these last few days is the (deliberate ?) conflation of the suspension of Parliament with the very act of preparing to leave the EU.  But let us consider this.   After three and a half years of agonising ineptitude and sabotage by the previous government - which truly was anti-democratic - we now have a government that is prepared to fulfill that 2016 mandate and in doing so will fulfill a democratic demand.   Those that feel some sort of abhorrence at this bolder, more decisive strategy are living in some parallel universe if they believe that democracy is not being served.  They have every right to shout and wave banners to express their dislike of the dynamic now at work but they are not in any way entitled to describe the suspension of Parliament (which has probably gone down in the history books as one of the most ineffective of recent times) as some underhand plot to dismiss democracy in this country.  That is nothing more that ignorant twaddle.

The PM has a tough job on and he has to accomplish this with a full recognition of the right to protest yet the arguments about deals or no deals are incidental to the concept and application of democracy.  Britain's sovereignty has endured a thousand years of frequent mayhem but it has successfully adapted to the changing times.  Now is a time of change, a legally charged change that the government has to fulfill.   If it doesn't, then democracy will have failed and those that have shouted loudest will have won.   But then, of course, we will no longer live in a democracy.

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Have we reached a state of such divided public opinion over Brexit that whatever arguments and debates continue we are all now largely committed to our own perceptions of what is the best outcome ?  Does this make for irreconcilable, politically postional camps across the country in the future - for we have as a nation engaged with the Brexit political debate in ways that we have never previously done - and does that prospect actually matter ?

Logic would suggest that it does matter, for a divided nation (irrespective of the cause) is a malcontent position for large swathes of the population and there develops a natural and automatic tendency for the divisions on one subject to cascade around and become the divisions of other causes as well.  The net effect is a lack of social cohesion, a lack of national self-confidence, a disrespect for the Rule of Law (again irrespective of the common belief that parts of the law are 'truly an ass') and a broadening disrespect of the bedrock values we regard as being the root of Britain's constitutional democracy.  We may not like or agree with our form of democracy, but in reality it is the very substance of how we live our lives in this nation - and if this foundation level concept is diminished then we will all be the worse for it. 

All this is not to say there shouldn't be the processes of change at work.  Our constitution is unwritten and has the sometime value of that being interpretive and adapted to circumstances - so it is open to being regarded in different ways should we choose.  What is important is that we delegate the authority to make those changes and adjustments to these fundamental guidelines of our lives to our government.  We put a mark on a ballot paper and we empower a political group to form a government.  How those people become eligible for participating in government is, however, something the wider electorate can press for change upon, as electoral reform is key to expanding the understanding of political representation and equally expanding the belief that the government and our parliamentary representatives are fairly and justly appointed.

So the crux of Brexit is, perhaps, a matter of faith.   If we have no faith in government then we will eventually tread the road toward anarchy.  The government is our means to live our lives in a comparitively orderly and managed way.  We may resent that notion but it is, for the most part, a truism of the British way of life.  Bristling Brock will always argue for change on those issues that clearly need something of a refreshed view and the political processes we have enable us to express our differing thoughts and opinions (BB will keep certain PC issues out of this part of the discussion) to weigh in on national and local issues.  That we must cherish above all else.   We have freedoms here that are conducive to our way of life and the government is the arbiter of how those freedoms of expression can be judged as meaningful influences within the political arena.  If the arguments for change are powerful enough, justifiable and popular then that change can be brought about.  Government is not perfect, but reflect a while on the vision of a state without proper governance - it is not a pretty sight to behold.

So BB, despite many reservations on detail, would argue that we must believe in and have faith in our government at this testing time.  If we continue to force division, we will end up with chaos beyond anything imaginable.  Whatever the government does now - and it surely must take a position - all things remain on the table for future discussion.  Nothing is forever.  But first things first, the country needs to come together now and unite behind the government and have faith in the choices it makes.    


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Obsession or treason - both very emotive words these days.  But in Westminster both might well have some applicability when we start to look at the conduct and behaviours of a hard line clique of Conservative MP's on the one hand and the unashamed and stoked up ambition of the so called Leader of the Opposition.

Let's start with the Tory Remain Obsessives - the Hammond's, Clark's and Stewart's to identify just a handful.  Bristling Brock has read (always dangerous these days) that there is growing evidence of the former Chancellor having connived with the EU to encourage them not to give any ground in discussions with Boris Johnson on the basis that the below the radar Tory rebels who don't want to leave the EU will kill it off in parliament anyway.  Now BB is the first to concede that newspaper reports can occasionally be a little biased so a pinch of salt may be needed here.  However, if even parts of this disclosure are true, we have a display of pretty extreme obsessiveness and, if we look further at the process of deliberately undermining government policy with a foreign power (aka, the EU), one assumes that this might be considered treason.   In the old days, treason was rewarded with either a noose or a half dozen bullets but we might nowadays consider either of those responses a little too much for our politically correct and bend-over-backwards and righteous culture.  If that is considered too much then the very least we can consider is expulsion from Parliament, Party and British citizenship (these culprits, whoever they are, would no doubt find a welcome in the hills in places everywhere around the EU).  And, let's face it - we'd all be better off without characters prepared to subvert our country with a foreing state lurking around.

Now for Mr Corbyn.  This fellow really has gone crackers.  He also can be included in the obsessive category and his recent actions in openly trying to subvert the legitimate government of the state by encouraging MP's to vote against the government so that he can assume the premiership (albeit in a stated 'caretaker' position - yeah !) must rank pretty close to being treasonous if not strictly so.   

What does this tell us about our parliament ?  It tells us that our representatives are not that smart, very conscious of their privileged position and perks, not managed well by their respective party aparachiks and are as venal and self-obsessed as they come.   BB will grant there are a minority of exceptions, but precious few.  Is it not time that we have a complete overhaul of parliamentary dynamics, methods of representation and Party influence within the machinery of governance and the relationship that civil servants have with parliament ?   This is not to suggest that our interpretive constitution should be significantly changed but it should be implemented by a far more representative cadre of parliamentarians and public servants.  The current methods and tactics are just not fit-for-purpose.

In the interim, we should support Boris Johnson to get Brexit delivered.  Once that's accomplished the opportunity to get this country moving on co-operative and collaborative lines is there to be taken.  If we take the positive view and get behind Britain's capacity to evolve and develop a new way of life that can be so progressive should we wish.

I have a smidgen of sympathy for Carrie Symonds, that rather woebegone looking lass who now lives with the Prime Minister.  True, Boris is still a married man, and Ms Symonds is the 'other woman' but looking around at the way the country now looks upon marriage and partnerships, the relationship between them is not unusual.  Bristling Brock is of the view that Boris needs to get on with a tough job and if Ms Symonds can make that task a little more tolerable, then let them get on with their lives - hasn't nastiness towards people in the news gone far enough in this country ?  We can surely reserve that for those who truly deserve it. 

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