The Badger’s never been a member of any political party and never will be! There. That’s got that important piece of context for this piece out of the way!
The Badger was trained to think independently and objectively, to analyse facts, learn from life and career experiences, and formulate personal opinions while respecting that the opinions of others might differ. Over the years the Badger’s found that rational independence, rather than allegiance to a particular ideology, has been a beneficial because no ideology has a monopoly on being right. Why is the Badger making this point? Because this week the ‘my way is right’, ‘It can’t be done’, and ‘they won’t agree’ rhetoric, gamesmanship and speculation from politicians and the media-savvy chattering class seems to have been particularly pronounced. The Badger has thus found a tinge of irritation infiltrating his thoughts, especially when what can be done with technology has featured in political debate.
The Badger, who believes firmly in democracy and healthy debate, wondered if levels of misinformation and media shrill has got out of hand. In the UK, posturing over negotiations with the European Union on Brexit has been particularly high because there’s an important meeting of the UK cabinet on Friday 6th July. Frictionless trade with the EU and the nature of the border between Northern Ireland and Eire – the UK’s only land border with the EU – have been hot topics in EU negotiations for months. On the Northern Ireland border issue, many domestic and EU politicians have lined up to rule out a solution which uses technology to keep the border as it is now. Having listened to many items on why a technology-centric solution won’t work, the Badger has concluded first that the positive case for it hasn’t been well presented by politicians or the media, and second that politicians appear to have an intractable ‘can’t be done’ mentality when that suits their individual or party-political objectives.
The Badger’s thoughts crystallised in a very simple – and some may say naïve -conclusion; namely, that technology can and must play a big part in frictionless trade and making the Northern Ireland border with Eire work with little if any change. If major cities can use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) for congestion charging, ANPR can be used to automatically fine you for speeding or not having vehicle tax, and you can buy goods on-line track and track the location of your item in the delivery chain, then it’s not credible to assert a technology-based solution at a border is impossible. What makes it impossible is only the posturing of politicians and those who need a media story. Every time the Badger hears a politician of any persuasion or country say something can’t be done and cites technology as one of the reasons then the Badger says ‘Oh yes it can’ out loud! Career politicians might need a wake-up call. Mr Trump. Do you have any spare time?