The Big Truce.
On Christmas Day 1914 at Ypres, a British soldier, Wilbert Spencer*, “saw Christmas trees across no mans land. We heard “Silent Night” being sung and “Happy Christmas” called out. No firing. Gradually men showed – you could never imagine such a thing. Both sides met in the middle and shook hands.”
Tragically it was just a truce, just 4 hours. There was to be a further 4 years of killing. Neither side ever really knew what they were fighting for.
The President has set a high bar of xpectations hailed the China talks as “an incredible deal…one of the largset deals ever made.” I so wish that were true, but it is not. This too is at best a truce – 3 months to prepare for more talking.
But there is so little time.
We need an aligned industrial, foreign and financial strategy capable of competing with that of China – we have not got one.
We need international friends and alliances able to add to our capability – we do not have them.
We need directed programmes to underwrite our lead in tomorrow’s technologies – 5G, AI, Climate Change – we do not have them.
And we need an agreed plan for mutually beneficial collaboration with the emerging Chinese superpower. We are miles from even thinking about this.
Like Christmas 1914 this is a truce already within sight of failure. The market traders will enjoy a client pleasing Christmas Rally but the fundamental challenges of leadership in this country remain twirling in the wind.
Have a good day, James
The Big Truce.