Life is like an Echo - what you put out comes right back at you.

Brexit pandemonium continues, but for how long?

Here we are, less than ten weeks away from formally leaving the European Union - and still in a state of flux. Undecided, ripped apart by fragmented political party's, and as divided as we ever have been and still seemingly no closer to a decision. It probably feels not dissimilar, or something akin to how people living in Cromwellian times felt. Helpless, irritated, unsure of the future, like living on melting, shifting ice. But I guess the difference is they at least we're fighting for and heading for something; we today, on the other hand, have no idea what we are fighting for or where we are heading. We are perhaps just exhausted from the lack of decision.

I believe though, we will be ok and all will be well in the end. It is just getting there that is so inextricably, exasperatingly and unnecessarily painful at times. But perhaps it is edifying also.

But I do have faith in human nature - a very basic understanding of what defines right and wrong, though this is actually more about survival and self-interest. Why would anyone jump off a cliff? Only if jumping off a cliff looks better than any alternative. Alas, there are unfortunate people who decide to take their own lives for various reasons - brave people - really brave people actually. But, tragic as that is, it is a very final and last choice.

Built into our DNA is the hard-wired impulse to survive. Leaving the European Union without a deal is tantamount to suicide. That is why I fervently hope that our lawmakers will put their pride in their back-pocket and knuckle down and make a deal. A deal where no-one will get everything but everyone will get something. A deal we can all live with and then we can move on and get onto some terra-firma.

This might be wishful thinking on my part, but it is actually common sense. This obviously comes with the warning - "Common sense does not always prevail".

Manners Maketh Man

This week, that bastion of civility and tradition,  none other than Cambridge University,  St Catharine's college I believe, made the decision that from now on, Students could choose to stand or stay seated when the lecturer entered the class. This is apparently modern and, as "Will.i.am" might put it, Fresh?

Well, actually - No! No, it isn't - it is disrespectful, and here's why. Standing up when someone comes into the room, no matter who, it is not telling that person that they are better than you - rather it is a way of noticing them - acknowledging their presence so they are aware they have been noticed. Nothing more than that. But it is good manners, and good manners are like the oil on the chain - they make life and interaction smoother. Good Manners should be taught and encouraged - not disregarded and ignored at will, and certainly not by schools, colleges and universities. These are places of learning. This is not about keeping up standards - but teaching skills for life. You only have to look at Trump and his behaviour to see the result of disregarding manners. You end up with all this pushing and shoving, eventually with 'Mob Rule'. Lack of manners is all about self first - ignorant of others - it is the foundation of bullying.

And whilst I am on the subject; I usually agree with Mathew Paris - on the whole. I have always thought him an admirable fellow and tend to be in broad agreement with his thinking - But just not on this perhaps. See The Times (London) 23/01/2019 - 'You may care how I am but please don't ask'.

I think we need to take better care of each other. Asking after each other's welfare, providing it is a genuine inquiry is to be encouraged. It all goes back to 'Listening' - the ability to be engaged with others - the compassion of mankind that touches us somewhere deep. Those random acts of kindness, a smile, a wink, a hand up when we have fallen or just a 'how are you'? A recognition. So I am guilty of So - How are you - Are you well and Howdy. But never to offend - Sorry Mr Paris.

The biggest problem in the USA is not Trump but some Republican Senators.

When the Forefathers wrote the constitution, and you have to marvel at their foresight and wisdom, because it seems that they took in to account, even then, the possibility of a Trumpian character getting elected to the highest office in the land. But they had envisaged that Senators would be able to contain outlandish behaviour, unbecoming and ill-advised of that high office. That is what is so very disappointing. The integrity of individuals has to be above any party or fraternity - surely? People of strong mind and conscience need to have the morale rectitude to make a stand against the revanche of a reckless leader. If not, we end up with self-serving sycophants kowtowing to a dictator. The world has been there before and at a deer cost - a cost too high to repeat. Stand up Senators - speak loud and speak clear.

Rick - Suffolk - UK - 28th January - 2019


rick@notesfromengland

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