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Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity


You see, the reason I’m cutting back on UK politics is that it’s all just so damned depressingly predictable all the time.

Although, it has to be said, even I was a tad surprised at the news that, first of all, the Home Office doesn’t even know how many people it employs and the Telegraph’s wonderful headline “DNA ‘should be taken from babies'”. And then, in other domestic policy news, we get the nice little story about the Pakistani grandmother, in the UK as an asylum seeker having fled an abusive husband and family, who is about to be deported despite having been honoured by both the Queen and the Prime Minister for her community work – because she’s far more valuable as a statistic.

And, naturally, if you start extrapolating from all this, then the descent into hyperbole and comparisons to less than savoury regimes from Europe’s past become very hard to avoid. Accusing your own government of creeping fascistic tendencies is itself passe and boring. And this is how they get away with it.

In other, only vaguely related news, interesting article in the New York Times on the difficulties the ex-Soviet states of Eastern Europe have had in sorting out their security services. (Quite how our dear leaders think Iraq’s going to be able to police itself just three/four years after the fall of Saddam I have no idea…)

As I say, *sigh*. Pre-Christmas, shortest days of the year depression, no doubt. All I want for Christmas is something inspirational in the news again. And by that I don’t mean an “And finally…” about a puppy who’s been dressed up a Santa Claus.


  1. I know just how you feel. Recall seeing a funny spoof in a satirical online magazine where officials from the 3rd Reich are quoted angrily rejecting comparisons to the Nazis. But this is a global problem. The technology of "managing" an electorate by an ever-less accountable elite is improving quite rapidly.

    I recommend a new way of thinking about international relations. Mostly people tend to think of nations as the principal actors, and usually assume their elites somehow represent a unified set of interests and motivations. I propose that this is not at a helpful or accurate picture of the situation (it comes from the journalist/diplomatic shorthad of referring to political actors by the names of the countries they purport to represent.

    Instead, it would be more accurate to approximate the world–particularly the most industrially developed part of it–as a single nation that happens to be divided into vestigial administrative sectors, e.g., "the USA" or "the Netherlands." These sectors are reinforced by regional resentments and language barriers; they survive for obvious reasons; but the idea that they represent meaningful divisions of human interests is, in my view, spurious. This single "real" nation of humans is often kept divided by its elites simple to provide themselves with a metier. The fact is that accountability of these elites–business, military, or political–lags so badly because of the lack of international solidarity among non-elites.

    What I'm proposing is more of an effort for oppositionists or dissident people in different countries to cultivate a sympathy for each other (as opposed to the existing tendency to insist that even oppositionists are somehow to blame for their government's policies, by accident of birth or citizenship); and an effort to view the problem as something of a scientific matter, analogous to self-aggravating global climate change.

  2. Accusing your own government of creeping fascistic tendencies is itself passe and boring. And this is how they get away with it.

    An excellent statement. I'd characterise the political mindset in this country right now as one of "well, yes, I know that the government has committed the supreme international crime of planning and waging aggressive war, and I know that Blair conspired with a foreign government to lie to us which makes him a traitor, and I know they've destroyed habeas corpus and the rights enshrined in the Magna Carta, and they've curtailed our right to free speech and assembly, and want to fingerprint all of us and take our DNA, and they collude in disappearance and torture, and have presented a bill that abolishes parliament, but… I don't really do politics."

  3. James – sounds like a rather nice idea. I'm very much against the concept of the nation state anyway – an outmoded concept that's caused vast amounts of harm. Hence my support for (the concept of) the EU. I think, to an extent, that's what the lot over at European Tribune were aiming at – and have, to an extent, achieved. They're currently planning a bit of a rethink about the site's direction and management – perhaps you should pop over and make the suggestion…

    Antipholous – you see, that's the trouble with democracy. While our parents/grandparents may have literally fought for the right to hang on to it a mere six decades ago, their success bred complacency. Now the general consensus is that "it coud never happen again". In that precise way, no – we're very, very unlikely to have another Hitler threatening the whole of Europe with dictatorship imposed by military force. But there are plenty of other ways for fascism to get in to power – the fact that Hitler and Mussolini both got to the top without a real fight should be testamony to that.

    But, of course, like the terrorists, Hitler was pure eeeevil – and therefore any comparison of any "respectable", "democratic" Western leader to him is utterly beyond the pale…