Thursday, May 16, 2002

What will unite us?

In the Spectator Chris Patten says that we need to develop a European patriotism.

So what will tie us to Europe?

Obviously it can't be a shared history as there never has been a time since Christ walked the earth when one part of Europe has not been at the throat of another part. From the Germanic tribes and the Italian centurions (or the Greeks and Romans).

Democracy? In the continent that spawned Marxism and Fascism?

Language? Non.

Religion? After all many of the most enthusiastic integrators call themselves Christian Democrats. But after you get past Christianity what brand. Catholicism, which is the most obvious candidate, would meet fierce opposition even in virtually agnostic England - and that's before we get to places like Sweden, Greece or the Netherlands where the Catholic vs the rest thing actually meant something.

So what about some "can't we all just get along" ecumenism? I don't know but I think that some luke warm combination of kumbaya, wolly jumpers and guitars won't tear the people from their old nations. You need some raw emotion for that.

Geography? Again where's the emotion in that?

So what do we have left? Something that the vast majority of Europeans have in common but that has some raw emotional appeal. Like the colour of their skins.

You think that the European elites are too liberal and modern for this. Well if they don't pull something out of the hat then the people will leave them and the whole thing will collapse. And if it collapses so will their power and privelage.

Perhaps they don't want to rule any more, as elites in the past have also grow mysteriously tired. But if they do, do you think that they will put the interests of their darker skinned bretheren before the continued enjoyment of the perks of power? No, really?


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