Thursday 7 June 2012

In The Dance Who Calls The Tune?

During the lifetimes of my parents, their parents and grand-parents Europe went through four major transformations that radically reshaped its political and economic structures and world wide involvements.

The Europe I was born into was not the continent it is now any more than Great Britain is and during this time there have been a series of changes.  At one time the talk was of Empire, then World Citizenship, then Europe but now what?

We are said to have “Globalisation”, but this is not a concord of peoples come together for better government and sounder economies.  It seems to be quite the reverse, being a number of effectively state less organisations exercising power for their own narrow financial interests.

Today, there have been contrasting matters in the “news”.  One is the need for Europe to hold together to face the present Euro crisis and avoid a collapse.  The other is whether Scotland should opt out of the UK to keep its hands on the oil money for the benefit of organisations which would profit from this separation.

This has had the effect of the leading politicians in several of the UK’s political parties to come together to try and keep the existing show on the road.  In the picture above from the recent “La Sylphide” performed by the Royal Ballet there are several tartans on display, if someone could identify them it would be appreciated.

But the tartans relate to Clans and the history of the Clans in Scotland is not one of loving friendship, mutual appreciation or dancing happily together at betrothal feasts.  Until the Union they often shed each others blood in the name of land ownership and local power.

In the Atlantic Isles we forget that much of the shape of Europe today is quite recent and to regard the existing boundaries as an absolute for all time and the future may be a mistake.  In the past the histories tell us that it has been largely shaped by wars. 

What is less clear is how far the wars that did make a difference arose from economic stresses, political confusion and the failures of the then political entities to hold together.  At times of prosperity and expansion there may well be trends towards integration and a decline in mutual hostility or narrower interests.

But what happens if there is a radical decline in both prosperity and the ability to continue expanding in the face of increasing population?  How easily could it all begin to fall apart with local elites emerging to enforce control over smaller polities?

With the press now insisting that as far as the Euro is concerned none of the experts really know what is going on it is fair to assume that none of the politicians do.  But it is not just the Euro, the UK and Europe the stresses are building up again quickly across the world.

When stresses in the tectonic plates occur the result is an earthquake which may change the shape of the land above.  Are Europe and the Atlantic Isles due for yet another major shake up in their economic and political structures?

Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?

1 comment:

  1. A dance is only worth the effort if you get to choose your partner, not have them forced upon you!