Monday, 25 February 2013
Who Will Ride The Revolutionary Wave?
Europe has been where it is today once before. In 1848 a wave of liberal revolution swept through the continent as the people, tired of the restrictions imposed on them by their "betters", rose against the establishment and demanded change. Like most revolutions it was largely without direction and was largely leaderless. The unrest that can felt today is similarly directionless and lacks leadership. In 1848 the liberal revolution was effectively hijacked by conservatives who replaced the yearning for freedom with something that was at least concrete - nationalism - and we all know where that led. For the next one hundred years Europe did its best to annihilate itself. The most outstanding figure in this period was Otto von Bismarck who took a rudderless liberal revolution and created a new nation state - Germany. Today conservatives across Europe are desperate to emulate his success, preaching the need for us to endure austerity while they enjoy what little wealth is left, turning us against ourselves while they remain unscathed. Like so many political surfers, leaders like Cameron are trying to ride the revolutionary wave while the rest of us are left to flounder and, eventually, drown. Bismarck did have something to offer, even if it was nothing more than an illusion, but what can Cameron and the rest of the conservatives in Europe offer us? The answer is quite simple - nothing. What we need is a bigger surfboard that we can all ride.