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Children of the revolution?

July 5, 2016

 

It’s been one of those weeks, hasn’t it? You know, you’re busy looking up the dictionary definition of "existential" while counting who’s left to form a shadow cabinet and then Boris and Nigel suddenly shuffle off stage.

 

Give the duo credit though, there’s few who could shaft the establishment, get shafted in return by their ‘allies’ and then complain that the pro-remain camp didn’t have a workable Plan B in readiness.

 

Follow that particular logic through and you’d expect Churchill to have prepared a strategy for collaborating with the enemy should the worst have happened. I make that analogy for those who confuse remembrance of the sacrifice made during the last world war with the inclination to fight it all over again.

 

Arguments about motivation just won’t go away though. Was the so-called grey vote driven more by nostalgia than neuroses? Was it a backlash against the assumption that national priorities should revolve around London politics and London sensitivities. Or did seventeen million people simply not want to be told what to do by Brussels? The answer, I think, is ‘all of the above’ and then some.

 

So you have to ask yourself why political parties immediately look inwards for the solution.

 

Clearly they are convinced the answer lies in new leadership. No point I guess in mentioning that it was “leadership” that brought us all to this pretty pass in the first place?

 

I'm bemused by party grandees who mutter about ‘disconnected politics’ and satchel-toting grassroots activists alike who can’t see past their own social mobility in order to recognise the alienation that besets communities.

 

What other result did they expect from fragmented neighbourhoods equally isolated by benefits or affluence and then fed messages of sovereignty and straight bananas?

 

I’ve no time for all the post-Brexit baloney about ‘getting on with it’ but I’m just as unimpressed by efforts to challenge the result’s legitimacy.

 

As someone else observed, the Welsh Assembly came into existence on a far more slender majority and on the basis of equally spurious promises.

 

I don’t think the vote to leave the EU was a party political gesture in the accepted sense. If anything, it was an act of defiance that bore the mass-movement hallmarks of a revolution. But this is no enlightened crusade for social betterment. This is something different.

 

Yes, it encompasses a sense of hope and freedom but it is also a freedom that emboldens thugs and racists. It’s going to take more than an affable ex-London mayor to put that particular cork back in the bottle.

 

We are divided. Half the population sincerely believes the other half is wrong.

 

That’s bad enough, but it’s an instinctive trait to look after your young in times of threat - and there is a generation out there who think their elders abandoned that responsibility.

 

They are the children of the revolution and they will not thank us for our legacy.

 

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Selective memories

 

There are some dates when you can remember precisely where you were and what you were doing.

 

For me, one of those is 20th March 2003 and I was travelling through Florence. From practically every apartment balcony hung rainbow banners bearing the word “Pace” – Italian for “Peace”.

 

This was the local population’s reaction to the news that coalition forces had that morning invaded Iraq with a force which included about 28,000 British soldiers.

 

The stated mission was "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people."

 

I came across a more honest statement of intent later that year during a visit to Houston where I spotted a bumper sticker bearing the incitement to “Kick his ass and get the gas”.

 

I can only guess what conclusions the long-awaited Chilcott enquiry will publish tomorrow, but I suspect that “freedom” will barely get a mention.

 

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Waterfront investment continues

 

With all the present uncertainty surrounding investment, it’s good to see University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) pressing ahead with their imaginative proposals for a Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter.

 

Detailed plans for the first phase of the innovative project, jointly submitted by the university and the Welsh Government, will be under discussion by council planners today.

 

The scale of ambition involved is undoubtedly impressive. Having secured roughly twenty-two acres of land in the former docklands location, UWTSD aims to develop 355,000 sq. ft. of residential, academic and commercial development.

 

Included in the first phase is the new Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering (FACE) plus a new library facility where the maritime view will most definitely be a distraction.

 

Work is expected to begin later this year on what will become Trinity Quarter and the new buildings are expected to be ready in time for the 2018 academic year.

 

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Making history

 

Finally, I couldn’t let this week go without congratulating the Welsh football team on their magnificent run at Euro 2016 - and to wish them every success for Wednesday’s semi-finals. Stronger Together!

 

 

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