It’s been a blessed relief to retire to a civilized country for a while, from the political chaos that is present-day Britain. I can’t entirely escape from the latter, of course, with the Swedish broadsheet press covering it pretty well, and unmercifully – they really do think we’re mad; but at least it puts some distance between me, here on ‘our’ idyllic island, and the ‘Eton mess’ back home.
I’ve always tried, in this blog, to contribute some historical context to the current events I comment on, as a justification for commenting at all, I suppose – for I have no other expertise that might raise my views a little above the level of mere ‘opinion’. But it’s difficult to in this case. I can – and have tried – to place present happenings in their very broadest context, of the modern crisis of capitalism, which obviously – to my mind – lies behind UKIP, Trumpery, the Front Nationale, and all the rest. That’s been building up for some time, and so qualifies as a historical phenomenon. But the crisis is taking different forms in different countries, some of which, it seems to me, have no exact historical parallels. I can’t find a very close one for the extraordinary phenomenon that is Trump, for example, though there are some very loose comparisons that can be made with 1930s European fascism; and the present political mess in the UK seems to me to be entirely without precedent. When did we (Brits) ever experience a crisis so self-inflicted, by unwise leaders, crazily idiosyncratic politicians, an irresponsible press, and a grossly misled public, as we (back home) are suffering today?
‘There’s nothing new under the sun’, they say. Oh yes there is. – That may be a historical point worth making.