Posts tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Brexit – a typical British mess

There is something radically ramshackle about the politics of England whenever an existential threat arises. The government of the day appears to be both unprepared for the threat and in need of outside help to avert disaster.

On a recent Question Time Gina Miller called the government’s actions on Brexit ‘shambolic’. This word I believe applies to every existential crisis that this country has lived through in the past 100 years. For example, look at the preparations for WW1 and WW2. When war started in 1914, the War Office had only 4 months supply of Acetone, which was essential for coating the heads of missiles. They used to buy it from Germany and for some reason that source was no longer available. Now there was none to be had. Unless something could be done, the war would be lost in 6 months.

The government asked a senior lecturer in biochemistry at the University of Manchester named Dr. Chaim Weizmann to try to develop a synthesised version of Acetone. He soon invented a fermentation process that came to be called “the Weizmann Process.” This enabled Britain to fight the war, which was eventually decided by the US adding their men and materiel to the fight.

WW 2 had a different but similar situation. The government of the day was so anxious to avoid a war that it both appeased Hitler and made no preparation for a possible conflict, leaving the country without planes, tanks, guns and bombs to fight against a Germany that had been re-arming itself for 6 years. Churchill spent his wilderness years trying to convince the government that Hitler was a real threat and that appeasement would not work. In the end the US again had to step into the conflict to give the Allies a decisive victory. Both of these potential disasters were averted by the US stepping in, something which will not happen this time. .

The current existential crisis, which at least is not a war, is the question of Brexit. Once again, the government is totally unprepared for the event, and doesn’t seem to understand the nature of the threat. In this crisis the USA will not step in to help, because it has actually increased the threat by starting a new trade war as the aggressor.

This trade war should make it very obvious where the country is heading via Brexit. It is obvious that Trump only respects power, and what we are doing with Brexit is voluntarily reducing our power. The hard-line Brexiteers may believe that going it alone in the world will increase our power and prosperity, but this looks increasingly like an illusion. Leaving the EU will make us weaker economically and in the eyes of the world, including Donald Trump’s. This means we are deliberately making ourselves weaker and poorer. Hard to believe that a country would do this to itself, but then why didn’t anyone stockpile acetone and who thought you could appease Hitler? There is a terrible pattern repeating itself here. Mrs May rushed to Washington when Trump was elected to solidify the special relationship and lay the ground for a great trade deal with the US. We now see how much that is worth. He said America First not the special relationship first.

Let’s do a ‘what if’ moment. What if the US trade war started before the referendum was called. Who, other than hard-line Tory and Ukip Eurosceptics, would have seen the sense of breaking away from our largest trading partners in the midst of economic turmoil. It’s time to wake up. It’s not too late. The country needs to vote again, now that it is becoming clear what an unholy mess Brexit is going to be.

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June 30, 2018 at 1:53 pm 1 comment

The Revaluation of All Values

Nietzsche wrote about the revaluation of all values. I believe we are living at a unique time when it is possible to conceive of a revaluation like this. The current dissatisfaction with the way we live forces us to think about other ways. This gives us an opportunity to re-examine the values we live by, and to create new ones or revert back to earlier ones now lost or in danger.

The ascendance of Trump in the US and of Brexit in the UK gives us the chance, indeed the duty, to look at the values we currently live under, and to decide which ones can help us to sustain a life we would like to lead. These events show us in stark relief that the outcomes of our current system have terrible effects on our lives. Do I need to mention Climate Change ? Grenfell? Homelessness? Foodbanks? It is all too obvious.

But Trump will go, and although Brexit will probably happen, its revelation of the sharp divisions in our society, and its breaking up of old settled ideas and ways, gives us a short window when it is possible for us to revalue our values and to make some choices for the future.

This is why I like Jeremy Corbyn, despite his shortcomings. I believe he sincerely wants to create a better society, and to live under better values. These values, ones that can create and sustain a better society, are not the ones we currently live under. We have to decide what is more important, to keep the political economy that currently exists and that leads to greater and greater inequality or to refigure our economic and political life so that it reduces inequality and gives everyone a fair chance of a decent life.

We create society, it is not a given, and if we can dream and plan of a society that is fairer and better, then there is no reason, given the political will, that we cannot create that society. It is political will that is missing. The ideas are all there. We know what good values are, and we know what are bad ones. But do we have the political will to say to ourselves, we need to lose some of these values and to encourage others.

It would be a shame to miss this moment. It doesn’t come around that often.

December 30, 2017 at 9:43 pm Leave a comment

The 7th Python: The Twat Stage

This week we are starting the second phase of social media publicity and marketing for my book The 7th Python. Previously we used as visuals the clever cartoon cover of the book by Owen Williams and two Gilliam-style animations that Ruth Barratt made for us. The copy was focused on letting people know about the book and its subject matter. But the book also has a sub-title: A Twat’s Tale. This is the name that Eric Idle called me, and so I took it on for the book. For this next phase we are going to use the same graphics but this time we’ve come up with some items- funny and informative – that have to do with twat, and yes, I’m afraid that both Donald Trump and Twatter do make an appearance.

Patrice Stephens is again doing our Digital Publicity with Nigel Passingham in charge of the campaign.

http://www.the7thpython.com

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April 2, 2016 at 2:29 pm Leave a comment


The Blog That Fell From The Sky

Reflections on an age of anxiety.

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