I like this time of year and especially the month of September. It usually signifies change and opportunity. This year it’s different, much of the change seems loaded with ominous risks that must be managed more carefully. Early memories of the new school year and the apprehension of the challenges that lie ahead will never go away. Now, I’m a Dad and I see my children preparing for the biggest challenges of their lives, final year of GCSEs for my son and A-levels for my daughter. I finished up at Just Eat and started a new contract at Reach a week later. Gone for a six month contract this time, in a technical area where I believe there is a growing demand from clients across this business sector.
The first day the Commons Chamber opened again on 3rd September, after the Summer Recess. The Conservatives lost their majority of 1 when Mr Phillip Lee crossed the floor to join the Liberal Democrats in the middle of Johnson’s opening speech. Twenty one MPs (including Ken Clarke, Nicholas Soames and other cabinet ministers) were expelled from the Conservative party for defying the party line. The ‘Ben Law’ was passed, in theory preventing Johnson from taking the UK out of the EU without a deal, though it’s rumoured he may have a work-around. Johnson has now made it crystal clear he will be pushing for a general election at the earliest opportunity. Corbyn is the rabbit in the headlights and Labour are not confident they can successfully complete. Liberal Democrats have responded by confirming they will revoke Article 50 if they are voted in.
The biggest story in politics this month however was the tale of the Prorogue, that started on 10th September. The action was challenged at the High Court where the hearing of ‘the prorogation of Parliament’ was concluded with a unanimous decision by the UK’s ten most senior judges that the prorogation was illegal!
Johnson’s gamble had not paid off. At the time the decision was being made by the High Court, Johnson was schmoozing with Donald Trump and his cohorts in the US, so he had to hot foot it back to the UK to provide a suitable explanation to the Queen (about the mis-advice had given her) and then leg it across to the Houses of Parliament to face the music there. Tempers were fraught in the Commons that day with some highly irresponsible rhetoric whipping up emotions, in particular from the Conservatives with Johnson seeding ideas of possible civil unrest with the media (and hence the public). Reputations and careers are being ruined and the country continues to flounder closer and closer to Brexit with so many people trying to get control of the rudder and counteracting the previous change in direction.
In Hong Kong Pro Democracy appear to have won the fight over the Extradition Bill which was withdrawn this month. Despite this, Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam continues to appear to be a puppet to China’s president is Xi Jinping, who took office in March 2013. So it’s business as usual for the Pro Democracy movement who continue with renewed momentum with their increasingly confrontational demands for improved human rights, civil liberties and social justice in the jurisdiction. While China may have reversed out of this particular battle, there is an inauspicious inevitability that they will ultimately win the war by grinding down and crushing the will of the Hong Kong people. I’d give the magnificent city less than ten years before it becomes ingested by the hungry and oppressive Chinese ruling regime.
The world watched on this month as Hurricane Dorien made landfall in the Bahamas hitting 185mph wind-speeds, inflicting huge damage and taking lives. By the end of the month this extreme weather was confirmed to have taken 54 souls and 1,300 people were declared missing.
Sadly, India’s attempted moon landing ended in failure (Trandrayaan-2 mission). The Vikram lander appeared drift off-course during the final descent (1.3 miles up) and crashed into the surface at about 120mph. This pattern of events during the final descent had similarities to the Israeli moon landing mission earlier in the year (March) which also came to the abrupt end after control was lost in the final stages of descent. It reminds me how well the Americans did to put men on the moon all those years ago (with the limited technology available at that time) and brought them safely home again.
Astronomers have detected water on a planet very large planet (7 times bigger than Earth) orbiting the red dwarf star K2-18b in a nearby neighbourhood of the milky way. However, the chances of humans ever getting there any time soon are less than slim as it is 124 light years away.
Back on Earth (and to end this post on a high) in Japan, the England Rugby squad kicked off their World Cup challenge this year by demolishing Tonga (35,3) on 22nd, and then thrashing the USA (45, 7) on 26th. Next up will be Argentina followed by France. Get in!