Europe today is facing problems of a magnitude not seen in 70 years: an ongoing debt crisis and ensuing economic disaster in the south, a large influx of refugees from an imploding Middle East, and renewed military aggression originating from an increasingly autocratic Russia. Considering the current state of affairs, it is to us more obvious than ever before that the nations that make up Europe need to cooperate to effectively address their shared problems in a true Union of European Nations.
In Germany, tabu had entered common parlance by the 20th Century, referring to things restricted by custom more so than law. They are the things that are implicitly excluded from society, rather than explicitly ban. They are unspoken of, unrecognised even. They are one of the tricks of human social interaction, and that is what makes them so mysterious.
The institution of the pub persists at the heart of British life, fulfilling an undeniable and necessary social role. The exercise of going for a drink at the pub is something we grow up with – reading about it, watching it on tv, hearing about pub-related antics from other people and seeing the life it fuels on nights in towns and cities across Britain. For someone who grew up that country, it’s hard to imagine social life without a pub-like venue, as malleable a setting as it is. Having spent a while living outside of Britain, I’ve been prompted to reflect on what that means and the place of the pub in everyday life.
Last week Europe was treated to a visit from the US President, Donald Trump, a visit which only served to provide more evidence that the current American Head of State has no interest in maintaining the order America built since 1945, nor in fulfilling the role we have become accustomed to the Americans playing in the post-war era.
A spectre is haunting Europe. This time it is not the workers’ revolution however, but the white man’s revolution – or, I should rather say, counter-revolution. And we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking it is simply the white working-class either, but the white people of all classes and all European nations. The form this spectre has taken for the moment is Donald Trump, who arrived in Europe on Wednesday.
Two stories on European follies today; the ongoing Migration saga of Europe, and the Greek ‘debt relief’ agreed on Thursday night. They are contrasting examples of eras of European integration: the latter, the last hurrah for the Merkel style of politics that were seemingly going to shape Europe for decades to come; the former, the new Europe, where Merkel is isolated and intergovernmental agreements can no longer be made to look like they suite everyone’s interests.
In this week’s news, the fallout from the G7 summit which took place over the weekend, the saga of the migrant ship Aquarius currently making its way across the Mediterranean and this week’s votes in the British House of Commons regarding the Theresa May’s government’s flagship Brexit bill.