To Trump or not to Trump?

Hard one this. A lot of nonsense being talked on both sides of the debate, and I don’t agree with the general immigration ban. But there is an argument in favour of order security, despite what the so-called liberal elite think (a term I think is meaningless btw). 

A post-Brexit Britain will need muscular friends, but hopefully won’t be willing to compromise on our long history of liberal democracy. I also worry that being too close to Trump could be disadvantageous in the eventual post-Trump era. 

I don’t envy Theresa May her position. Where does Britain’s national interest end up being best served here? I certainly don’t think we should aim for enmity with the new US administration. But we should speak our mind as friend to friend. 

Charles Moore’s Telegraph Notebook made a fair point yesterday, in that the normal democratic processes, checks and balances still exist in the US, and many of Mr Trump’s Cabinet seem to be at least slightly less right wing. The Democrats’ delay in confirming them should be unacceptable. We have to believe that, in the end, the checks and balances will operate. 

So, what do I actually think? Hard one. Still let him have the State Visit, not an address to Parliament, and use the visit to demonstrate the best of tolerance and true democracy. 

Well done Oscar

I’m pleased to hear there have been several black and minority ethnic nominations for the Oscars this year. I haven’t seen any of the performances, although an actor being able to play the piano seems to be the most amazing surprise for everyone. Let’s hope all of the BAME nominees feel properly valued and are there on merit – not just included to avoid another media firestorm!

The right balance

The long-awaited Supreme Court verdict on the government’s powers to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty came this morning. It seems to me like a sensible place to end up – Parliament makes law, and therefore must have a say on repeal or change of law. But the devolved regional governments can’t hold the majority of the country to ransom – in fact it is this principle that’s been one of the big problems for the EU, with vetoes and qualified majority voting passing too much power to the small nations.

I’m sure this will become a political football with the vocal (and one-dimensional) ScotNats trying to derail the whole thing.  I’m a Scot, and used to support independence, but in reality I suspect it would be a total disaster.  So they better be careful what they wish for.

Scotland is such a narrow-minded, small thinking country, despite all the great things it’s done and people it’s produced. It’s dependent on its larger neighbour and oil, and EU handouts. Every time I go “home”, it depresses me. My Facebook feed gives me stories of local government squabbles, which from a 500 mile distance are so parochial as to be a parody of small town Scotland.  The friends and family we left behind 30+ years ago basically haven’t moved house, changed their prospects or even travelled much in that time. They have a completely different world view and mustn’t be allowed to dictate Brexit terms more broadly across the country.

I voted to leave, although personally and professionally I still can’t quite admit it for fear of being cast out!  Mainly, for me it was about the potential future enlargement giving free movement rights to countries where we would probably want a measure of control over immigration from, and also that supranational courts and parliaments don’t feel like the right way to go.  And so logically I have to support the Supreme Court focusing on the primacy of Parliament.

There is a nagging fear at the back of my mind, which is the echo of the early 20th century rise of nationalism and demonisation of particular groups, which clearly ended in confrontation and war.  There are few alive now who have lived through something so horrific, and anyway the nature of a modern war would be very different should it come. But the repeated focus on immigrants and minority groups by the more vocal nationalist politicians around the world does cause a sense of unease.  Hopefully this century, we are too sensible not to have learned from the failure of past generations.

Oh happy day

Today has been a good day. The sort of day that makes me glad to have a great family, be healthy and to be lucky enough to have the spare cash to have a comfortable life. I haven’t done anything overly amazing, but I spent a few hours with the boy this morning, getting haircuts, trainers and having a bacon sandwich. The girls were off doing their Saturday thing, and we reconvened for lunch with my in-laws. This afternoon we mooches around, the girl went shopping for a new riding hat. I’ve just been for a run, set a new 5k PB (not super speedy, but 28 minutes is 90 seconds faster than my previous best). Now I’m looking forward to dinner and a G&T snuggled beside the wife, watching crap on the TV. 

So nothing special, but a lot to be thankful for. 

Bucket list

Everyone should have one apparently…?  I might come back and add to this over time (and hopefully tick a few off), but here’s a starter for ten of ten:

  1. Run a marathon (preferably London)
  2. Run 10k in under 50 minutes
  3. Play golf at the Old Course, St Andrews
  4. Scuba dive
  5. Swim with manta rays (see also (3))
  6. Own a ride-on lawn mower
  7. Swim 100 metres
  8. Have my photography exhibited
  9. Run my own business
  10. Go on safari
  11. Play the guitar
  12. Get a tattoo

How long will it last…?

Apropos nothing, I have decided to keep a diary, inspired by reading Alan Bennett’s latest volume. Inspired by, so not seeking a reproduction of his style, nor indeed seeking anything much in particular.  There won’t be a theme, just random thoughts as they occur to me, or reflections on things that have happened or are happening.

I recently turned 40 and wanted to make this year significant. So, I want to end the year fitter, lighter, happier and with fewer things on my bucket list than there were at the start of the year.

Like many January activities, it may not last very long at all. But it might. Let’s see.  If you’re reading this far, thanks. I hope you’ve found something of interest and check back in from time to time.