(Picture credit to Sarah Andersen)
I am interrupting our usual scheduled blogging to talk about politics again.
I’ll admit I am starting to panic a little, and I’m not sure if that’s the norm for someone who is informed about politics or if it is a genuine response to what could potentially be very politically dangerous goings on in the world right now.
People are talking about the EU dissolving and the era of liberalism ending and considering that I’m fresh out of a lecture about the Fall of Rome I suppose I’m in a fairly fatalist mood.
That might be in part because apparently this year the world conspired to give the world not just one, but several potential new Hitlers. Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Theresa May (Although she seems more like someone who would follow Hitler then plead fear at the Nuremberg Trials). Just pick one, any of them could potentially cause very long-lasting damage to the West.
I am certainly biased in my views of the EU. I study history and I view this type of group as a force that will ensure peace in Europe and aid in avoiding another world war, or perhaps another cold war. And because I am a history scholar I keep getting this image in my head of an A-Level exam in 50 years; To what extent did the events of 2016 lead to World War III?
I do absolutely think that governments are overrun with career politicians more intent on being something instead of doing something. I am well aware that in the UK in particular the government is not benefitting the working classes and there needs to be a shift in favour of helping everyone, not just the few. I think there needs to be a change. What exactly that change needs to be, or how to bring it about, I’m not sure. This is incredibly frustrating and I am very much an outsider looking in, for those actually experiencing these issues it must be infuriating, hence the rise of populism.
Populism is historically very divisive and negative; ergo the prejudiced rhetoric that surrounds it. In Britain I do not actually think that people overwhelmingly hate minorities, which might be naive or a very precarious attempt at being positive. But I think they overwhelmingly want some form of change, which is understandable.
I do feel that all of this division and hate and anger will spill over into something eventually. It could be the cultural and widespread movement of liberalism like the 1960s, or it could be a war. These are uncertain times, and there is an uncertain future.
I am young. I want to travel and explore and live without fear of living in a war zone, or being dragged into a political upheaval, or a populist uprising, which are all very real possibilities in these times, just look at what our armies are doing right now. They are bombing places, making people homeless, killing civilians and creating war zones, and then scapegoating refugees as drains on our system for daring to seek asylum, from a place that our government helped destroy.
For my generation, one of the most free to explore and enjoy the world in decades, there is now a very real fear that this will be taken from us because of political upheaval, and I’m not sure we have anything but an elitist government to blame for that. But I am certain that dissolving the EU, scapegoating immigrants and refugees to cover all manner of sins by the government, or populism in general is the answer to these problems. Perhaps it’s time for people in power to take a step back and realised that they caused this, or rather that they could have done more to stop this.
Political systems all end eventually. We just have to hope that this is not the end of ours, and if it is, that the transition is fairly smooth and does not replicate the wave of revolutions that swept the world in the 19th century.
Does everyone feel better? No? Me neither.