Bristling Brock speaks out...
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The impact of COVID-19 still lingers on, quieter perhaps than at its peak in April and May but still capable of a twitch that sends ripples of renewed fear through our establishment. Therein lies something of an oddity - the establishment versus the populace - and the reactions to 'twitches' by the perfidious virus.
Perhaps a majority in the population now see the virus threat as receding. Folk are cheesed off with hibernating in splendid isolation, losing income and not being able to freely move about or associate with others. The relaxations of lock-down have emboldened the view that the danger is rapidly passing, albeit with an occasional, waspish re-appearance at local levels. So it is probably no surprise that we see more and more people on the streets, businesses back up and running, traffic at almost pre-lock-down levels with only a token recognition of threat through the wearing of face masks. By contrast, the establishment, principally government itself, is still treading with enormous and often knee-jerk caution over the relaxation of freedoms that the country as a whole is generally seeing as being back in swing. When COVID-19 twitches, the government react like a stung mule, itself twitching in all directions and without any clear sense of purpose or co-ordination. Their fear of COVID far exceeds the fear that throughout the population is lessening day by day.
But is this true of all of us ? Seemingly not, for the emerging outcome of this pandemic is a significantly changed cultural landscape with society quite prepared to shift into a new mode of socialising, working, travelling and spending. What existed before is unlikely to re-appear, the virus has created an attitudinal change to just about everything we took to be normal at one time, but likely no more. Within this change, positive as it sounds as an aspiration, there are countless casualties, not least those who have lost their lives to this plague like intruder. Businesses have closed, jobs have been lost and livelihoods crippled, public borrowing has soared to an eye-watering level of debt that is difficult to see being redeemed within a generation. There will be a legacy to this episode in our history and, as always, there will be winners and losers. It will be a testament to our new society as to how we manage this legacy - with steely fortitude ? with frugality ? with a renewed bullish attitude toward investment and growth ? or, perhaps, a resignation to the fact that the divisions amongst our communities will appear more pronounced, defined and intractable as camps of 'I'm all right, Jack' protect themselves from the camps of the ruined and dispossessed.
There clearly are no absolute rights and wrongs and despite the whiny voices of some opposition politicians (who generally complain about everything and anyone) the government need to settle down on the new course to get the country back in action in as equitable a way as possible. It's a gargantuan task and, as with COVID-19, mistakes will be made, judgements incorrectly drawn and seeming injustices promulgated alongside many others that will be necessarily and rightly made to mitigate the effects of the virus upon recovery plans. Nobody in living memory has been here before, there is no rule book and there is no wise old sage sat on a cloud to guide and direct. The government need some leeway in this. They will make some bad calls but they'll also make some good ones and we as the population of Britain need to accept that as things edge towards significant social, economic and political change there will be some ups and downs, some painful, some less so. But there is little merit in constantly whining and sowing the seeds of negativity. If we carp about our governance at this time we will slow the process of government down, slow down the change and slow down any chance of some resumption of economic well being. The government should always be held to account, but for the next few years, let us pray that the harbingers of doom are kept firmly in a dark corner somewhere and that the spirit of recovery wins the day.
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Reading or hearing the multiplicity of news stories abounding, it would be easy to come to believe that Britain as a homogeneous and cohesive society, one with a proud history despite its shortcomings under current scrutiny, a nation built upon time forged principles and balance, a nation of honour and some character was a description that could no longer be reasonably applied.
The Britain we see portrayed by our avaricious and sensationalist media is one of division, suspicion, envy, short-sightedness, expediency, blame and retribution and one which has little sense of direction, purpose and role. It may well be true that the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously rocked the UK plc boat - but one sees that as a common denominator amongst most liberal, Western minded countries - but there rises above this a neo-left thrust to denigrate, undermine and challenge the very institutions we need to get our national affairs back on some semblance of a course toward a social and economic recovery. It would be fair to state that many of these institutions need something of a shake-up themselves, but if the media, supported enthusiastically by the neo-left, destroy the very building blocks of recovery then we will destroy with that the means to re-build in a way that embraces some of the changes stimulated by the intrusion of corona virus and which could form the foundations of a more pragmatic, prepared and resilient nation state. Beyond that, yes, look at some of these institutions critically and devise either new ones or re-shaped structural organisations, but do not throw the baby out with the bathwater when you're already up to your neck in a flood tide.
We have bowed to minority demands, we have seen our traditions and history trashed and cast aside as no longer relevant, we witness a feverish glee in the media to sensationalise, trivialise and jab pointy fingers of blame at anyone but themselves - and by proxy, all of us. It's always somebody else's fault, it's always somebody else's responsibility, it's always somebody else's tab to pick up. We have, by default, become a passive nation, rolling with the punches, uttering an odd grumble here and there but generally letting the creed of chaos, misinformation, narrow-mindedness and the highly vocal voices of the minority rule the day. What happened to our national pride, our belief in Britain as the best place on earth to be born, what happened to our sense of right and wrong, of the direction of our moral compass, what happened to our belief in the common good, of the rule of law and the tolerances we had of all other beliefs and creeds ? What happened was greed. By allowing the insatiable appetite for instancy, for online news of everything from the latest political utterances to the meaningless and purile chit-chat of so called celebrities we have lapped it all up like cats faced with the cream. We have societally rejected the norms of good and reasonable social behaviour and economic prudence, we have marginalised the very concepts of law and order and we have made governance more of a trashy soap opera than something to uphold and respect. We did, after all, vote democratically to create our governance ! And this has been delivered to us, manipulated by, re-hashed and coloured by media platforms intent on exploiting that greed, intolerance, the I'm all right, Jack' mentality, pushing agenda's created by - in many cases - neo-left producers intent on getting 'their angle' across'. And we, the passive majority, have let it happen.
All this is a failure of the reasonable and tolerant masses of what seems to be now called 'Middle England', or we should say, 'Middle Britain'. The majority need to speak up, reject the absurd and wildly contrived debate of the neo-left and counter it with properly constructed and informed dialogues at every level. We are not perfect as a nation and never have been, but the nation is what it is at any point in time. History and circumstance cannot be erased despite the best efforts of the mindless left. When it reaches this crass, revolutionary and over-agitated state that we are seeing, it is time for good men to stand and be seen, to counsel good advice and opinion and to lead. The government should take heed. Leave it much longer and the decisions of government will mean little more than the latest salacious gossip throughout the chattering classes. And we currently have far more of those than we need.
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Britain seems to be teetering on the edge of some novel twist of economic-political-social forces over which the government clearly has no handle upon. Having weathered the bulk of the corona saga without too much of a political price to pay they have now embarked upon what looks like some perverse suicide mission to destroy themselves.
Every utterance by a government minister seems to be so bland and full of obfuscation that increasingly large swathes of the population are now virtually ignoring them completely. Add to this the crass and virtue signalling antics of other social influencers like the Archbishop of Canterbury and even F1 drivers and you get a scope of messaging hitting the headlines which do nothing more than irritate and annoy the majority of thinking people in Britain. Therein lies the issue. Nobody is speaking plainly, succinctly and with any measure of clarity. Nobody in a position of authority and leadership has managed to grasp the very evident elephant in the room - that of telling the population the exact way it is. Listening to Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson and Alok Sharma - who are only the tip of the iceberg - there is not a word spoken that says anything like: ‘Look folks, we’ve made a lot of mistakes with this pandemic, but we’ve truly been learning as we go along, so stand with us whilst we put our new experience to work in getting things back to normal...it’ll be tough for a while and we have a lot of gaps to fill, but it’ll take time to achieve it all...there’ll be some who gain and some who won’t, I can’t guarantee we can save everyone in this endeavour, but we’ll try our darned best !....’ Clear, plain speak, honest speak, speak from the soul is what the country craves. It doesn’t want to hear the repeated platitudes spilled out from bland ministers every single day which serve only to alienate rather than encourage support. Read the mood, Prime Minister - you’re bold enough to react in a positive way if you just ignore your guru’s for a while and follow your instincts. And if Mr Cummings is the strategist behind this endless spouting of nothing, You, Mr PM should recognise that he’s long past his sell by date. Time to change the record.
The shift by China we are currently witnessing from being a large but colourless political entity to an outspoken, provocative and threatening one is possibly the facade slipping from the real face of that vast and almost amoebic like country that uses money and technology to spread its influence across the globe. That influence is now very significant in world affairs, and even at the very fringes of its scope we see the pervasive grasp of the Chinese - Bristling Brock’s local golf club is now owned by the Chinese (though BB hastens to add that hitting a small white ball with a long stick seems a pointless enterprise in his view). What this characterises, however, is an economic subversion of foreign institutions and by association it is a subversion of culture, socio-economic habits and preferences and ultimately of national governance. It is an effective but highly dangerous scatter-gun of pellets assailing the West. Robust responses need to be made, whether the Chinese threaten reprisals or consequences or not. This is not a time to prevaricate and act in a mealy mouthed political way. Aggressive actions by a predator need to be identified and dealt with without fear. If history has taught us anything, it should be that at the very least.
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