Bristling Brock speaks out...
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Well, here we are only a few hours away from Britain's technical departure from the EU. It's an important new start but the trail ahead will still have to be managed with care and consideration before we can truly be independent of EU attachments and commitments - but it's a new trail to enthusiastically follow.
There'll be those who are glad and those that are saddned by this important historical marker. The important consideration needs to be one of acceptance and building a new future as an independent sovereign state. It's not a new concept, history is littered with the stories of nations that have broken away and forged their own futures but this occasion is perhaps the only one in which an extremely fast changing world - socially, economically, politically and climatically - is the encompassing environment in which it is taking place. That in itself is a galvanising spur to develop, innovate and move progressively forward on all fronts.
Our country has been beset by social and industrial change that has left us divided and at odds with each other. Some of that is due to the pace of change and some of it is due to past neglects in investment and attention and the nation needs to address these deficiencies to bring about some level of regional parity. Britain is also a very different society to that of even thirty years ago and many of us have to grapple with those shifting sands in ways that often leave us a little baffled by the establishment of new norms, standards, values and outlooks that the current social trends are dictating. We may not like it all but it is a new benchmark which a progressive society almost certainly needs to adopt and adapt to - we all need to change our stance and viewpoint on a wide spectrum of issues. That shouldn't be to say that there should be universal acceptance of every new trend - that would be a folly and a road toward a more dissolute society, but we should always challenge, test and examine the impact of new norms and styles before judging them. Britain needs to change. It needs to move on, confidently and with a self identity and purpose. And the departure from the EU is the moment to grasp that confidence and wield it to the benefit of all of us.
Examining projects like HS2 for example does test our faith more than a little. Whilst we must strive to innovate and develop and balance those regional differences better, there are som ideas that plainly do not fit within the jigsaw. The current estimate on completing this adventure is well over a £100 billion now and by the time of completion may well be many billions more. The completion won't be until 2035 - so we might reasonably assume that to be more like 2045 in true functional terms. The technology is already bordering upon being outdated - by 2035 + it'll be antique. The benefit to the construction industry is clear - it is a huge engineering project that has obvious attractions if you are in that business, but to the regions of the West Midlands, the North-West and a tickling spur into the North-East have little credible benefit to be seen. Mr Schapps makes the grand declaration that it is not to save time in getting to London (still the epicentre of British strategic planning) rather it provides confidence and assurance that the rail network runs efficiently, on time and keeps everything moving - the usual bain of the commuter. The cynics would argue that it doesn't provide the regions with that London connectivity rather it provides London and the South-East the option to relocate to cheaper territory to the north and still be within commuting distance of the Metropolis, ie, the entire project is geared to assisting London and the South-East rather than the northern regions. The big northern cities like Manchester and Leeds will certainly feel the upswing of such a project, but that won't necessarily cascade around the region for the wider benefit. Bristling Brock can't help but feel that had we done this twenty years ago it might have had a meaningful outcome for the wider community - but now, with the timescale and cost that is being talked of, it doesn't have any shine to it at all. If there was a vote, BB would opt to spend that capital on other, needy projects with a keener return for the areas involved.
Caronavirus remains mysterious and currently beyond our medical understanding. I wish the techies involved in finding a vaccine all fortune. The one aspect of this that caught BB's attention, trivial in some respects but perhaps not entirely, was the reportage that Britons brought back from Wuhan will be landed at RAF Brize Norton in the south Midlands. We then plan to bus them to a quarantine hospital on the Wirral, 100+ miles north. Transporting potentially virus carrying people in an ordinary bus across half of England seems to negate all the extensive precautions against cross-contamination that we see the Chinese making. Surely there was an aifield closer to the Wirral than Brize Norton ??? Or is BB getting overly picky ??? Let me know.
Trumpy seems even more likely to escape the rigours of impeachment as potential witnesses decline to be examined under oath. What is the point of a legal process that cannot demand the testimony of witnesses who know something of what was going on in the White House ? The answer, of course, is the vested interests of power politics. Oh, if we could only rid ourselves of that one...
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The Labour Party leadership contest continues with a three to one female to male bias in the runners. Bristling Brock can’t help but think that this is more to do with gender diktat from the NEC than it is to do with genuine talent and capability for the role. That’s not to say that the bias should be the other way around, rather it is comment upon the obsessions our institutions and much of our population have adopted in this sensitive politically correct domain - that of pushing a viewpoint on anything from gender, race, sexuality, faith and endless other subjects that are driven by fashion and collective band-waggoning. Being seen to be woke rather than having common sense and decent outlooks has transcended all cultural norms that would, under less scrutinised conditions, have served us much better. If you ain’t woke in todays Britain, then you are automatically labelled prejudiced. When BB looks around at our culture and civilisation these days and the people it glorifies as role models, he thinks it preferable to be unwokable.
Trumpy is in the midst of his impeachment proceedings, albeit that he is not there to participate in them. Again, it’s a numbers game, like two armies facing off - the weight of argument from Democrats against him and the weight of Republicans for him which will be translated into the numbers that vote to proceed with impeachment against those that would cast it aside. Whichever option, it’s a poor representation of what being the leader of the free world is all about. Bristling Brock is pretty convinced that the proceedings against Trump will be abandoned and, if the pundits are right with their predictions, he’ll be brought back for a second term. The theatre of Washington going through this charade is less than edifying on the world stage - whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation may be.
A beaming Boris signing off on the Brexit withdrawal agreement is significant - constitutionally and in terms of the political detachment from the EU it signifies. The deal is, of course, far from yet being struck in terms of trade and commerce and the perfidious French are already trying to insist on UK waters fishing rights across the EU membership being assured for the next 25 years. There was a time when we’d tell the French where to go with their demands - for in truth, French obduracy has caused us and Europe in general, much heartache throughout modern history - perhaps most strikingly in the case of Premier Clemenceau’s obsession with bleeding Germany dry through the Versailles terms of 1919. All of Europe saw and suffered the consequences of that stubborn stupidity in the shape of WW2. Let’s hope Boris keeps his mettle and fends off the petty mindsets of the French.
The arrival of substantial traces of plastic in the waters of Antarctica is concerning for us all. Yet the world is at variously staggered stages of development and the cessation of indiscriminate pollution is a hope that is looking increasingly far fetched - especially from nations that, almost by cultural position oppose the courses for remediation that are being proposed in the more developed areas of the world. Getting this to a position of common understanding is one of centuries rather than decades - even if the human species is still around in centuries ahead. Can we, realistically, change the minds of major polluters such as China, India and others when their entire way of life is geared so differently to those of nations in the West ? And who are we to preach that doctrine to them, for we started the whole world destruction process off less than three centuries ago. Goose and gander come to mind here. We wish for commonality of purpose across the globe. The truth, however, is that the discord’s that exist between nations and the resultant lack of collaborations are the result of what we are - being the human species, programmed by evolutionary influences to reach a point of extinction as the next chapter of the world’s history emerges. The extinctions of the past are not unique to those concerned - there is a clear and immutable course set by every species, and just possibly we are reaching the twilight phase of Homo Sapiens existence. Grim stuff, a hobby-horse topic for BB !!!
Enjoy the weekend....
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The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement will be activated on 31st January and continued alignment with EU regulation will continue up until the end of December, 2020. Beyond that is pure speculation - deal or no deal, you might say. Yet this is the process that is now in motion - whether it is liked or not - so is it not incumbent upon every UK citizen to make the whole dynamic work to mutual best advantage ? Isn't it better for the country to get behind this generational political shift and make it a great success - for what will it achieve if there is continued moaning and groaning that disaster is looming ? For those comfortable with the dynamic of leaving, it is not so with a sense of 'having beaten the Remoaners', rather it is with a sense of future opportunity, expression and, of course, national sovereignty being re-ignited. Triumphalism - that over-used word - is not, for the most part, anything to do with the occurrence of Brexit, quite the opposite. It is a renewed belief in what Britain stands for, what it is capable of doing, its direction of travel and its future national identity. Whether we like it or not, every country is different - we can still be friends, but we have different priorities, values and beliefs in so many things - and that, for Europe in particular, was a destiny forged immutably over a thousand years ago when the very nature of national identity emerged. We can become Pan-Global citizens with some common objectives, but those do not subsume those objectives of the nation state. What we strive for is common purpose, common action and common recognition of those issues that affect us all - but beneath that aspiration there are people - you and I - who, by virtue of being part of the human species, have views, opinions and arguments that the sovereign state should be prepared to take account of in its international relationships and governmental positions. Idealistic ? Maybe, but it is a gold standard to aim for. The times of division need to end. Britain must get working on making the exit from the EU a political, social, judicial and economic success because if we continue to squabble and sulk, we won't get to where we need to be. And that would result in die-hard Remainers exhorting triumphalism - but to no meaningful end. So let's all just get on with making Britain a success again.
The Labour Party leadership contest was always going to be a mixture of comedy and bizarre posturing. Engulfed in socialist doctrine, none of the contenders have properly recognised the need to translate this into meaningful stratagems that benefit the population. It is a depressing burlesque show, for the reality of democratic, parliamentary governance is that there is government counter-balanced by effective opposition. Effective opposition has been absent from our democracy this past 10 years due to the Labour Party writhing with the contradiction of the perfect socialist state against the reality of democracy - the two of which are never likely to meet. Here, in the third decade of the 21st Century, we still have Marxist purists believing in their souls that this can be mutated with an increasingly diverse British population that long ago understood that purism and pragmatism seldom function together. To get an effective opposition in parliament, we need some pragmatists at the helm. Of the present contenders, only Lisa Nandy stands aside of the others as being a realist. Whether she has the wherewithall to translate that into becoming a future prime minister is still an open question - the others have no hope. And, as all the pundits have already remarked, whilst she may be the best of a poor bunch, she will not get elected by virtue of the Labour movements voting system. You could call it masochism, couldn't you ?
Iran maintains its aggressive world position with a zealotry and messianic fervour that few of us in the West recognise or understand. It's not clear to BB what Iran even wants out of this positioning unless its true desire is to develop a nuclear arsenal that can be used against Israel. But then they would invoke Armageddon upon themselves and countless others in the region - is that what they aspire to, a war defined passage to their paradise ? It can only be hoped that the rising opposition to the Iranian theocratic regime will start to have a major influence over future developments.
Trumpy has recruited a cohort of celebrity associated lawyers to defend his impeachment case. It's probably wise that he doesn't defend himself as his ability to use language in a convincing and authoritative way is clearly not his strong suit, nor is his ability to be self-deprecating (having recently listened to his views on climate change and '...all these gasses spewing out...' it is abundantly clear that his self esteem far outweighs any sense of realism or understanding - or indeed, expression). It'll be an interesting episode, no doubt being closely observed by Netflix, Amazon and others with a view to launching a major new mini-series on the affair. God Bless America !
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