Orwell’s 1930’s writings on his experiences amongst the ranks of the POUM and their fight against the fascist regime of Franco during the Spainish civil war focussed on his view of the political conditions that fostered intellectual dishonesty. A deft subservience of the friendly ears of Europe’s intellectual left to tow Stalin’s party line.
Orwell wrote that Stalins edicts could not conceivably be supported by an “honest man” Orwell was one of the few who summond up the courage to fight the whole tone set by Moscow’s Politburo eventually fleeing the conflict for fear of his imprisonment by those comrades he set out to support.
Thomas Mann the German author of Death in Venice and a contributor to the canon of Exilliteratur (exile literature) wrote in Switzerland safe from the Nazis that
‘In the long run a harmful truth is better than a useful lie”
If Orwell’s Homage and Mann’s observation have any value to the current status quo in Catalonia and the Catalonian leaders declared move towards independence from Spain next week it is that Brexit and Scotland’s desire to leave the UK is a clear signal to the Spanish government in Madrid of the failure of European federalism at its macro and micro levels.
We Brits have been taught since the days of Ted Heath’s European EFTA propaganda that we can only function if we stick together, requiring more federalism, more rules, more restrictions than less.
This is the winsome lie of chancellor Merkel and others whilst the majority of the European populous seem to desire a return to the pre First World War assemblage of kingdoms, a time when the Europe as we know did not exist but the hills were happily alive to the sound of music.
The miscellany of monarchical states were only held together by the extensive family of Queen Victoria’s numerous inbred grand children. The crown princesses and princes of forgotten fairy tale lands who spent their idleness like George V sticking stamps in albums.
The current “much to do about nothing” Shakespearean comedy set in old Aragon, Zaragoza a stones throw from Barcelona is much to the chagrin of Spain’s King who perhaps fears further exile years for his family if Spain falls apart. Franco and his neighbour Salazar’s fascist regimes escaped their own deserved Nuremberg but kept their shit and countries together by imprisioning contrary voices
The current desire for localised determination over centrally governed nations and the fat cats of unwieldly federalism are being put to the sword
AA Gill wrote
We all know what ‘getting our country back’ means. It’s snorting a line of the most pernicious and debilitating Little English drug, nostalgia. The warm, crumbly, honey-coloured, collective “yesterday” with its fond belief that everything was better back then, that Britain (England, really) is a worse place now than it was at some foggy point in the past where we achieved peak Blighty.
I’m not a fan of federalism but believe 100% in a connected European. My life by necessity has embraced the foreign and relied heavily on an idea of global equality and democracy but many as I believe that Europe has become an undemocratic empire, people are saying they do not wish to be part of that empire.
This is understandable given you locally vote for a government hence the government has to listen to you, and if you don’t like it you can supposedly change it.
Who has ever voted for European policy? It is an obese leviathan at berth in Brussels, a home from home to cartoon politicians like Mr Farage
Our generation is globalised like or not we cannot retreat from this but learn to live with its positive implications and opportunities. We are citizens of a connected world who desire to live in villages but hate the insular villagers.
Like it or not we are being disrupted towards a rose tinted nostalgic feudalism of the pre -raphaelites except with wifi.
William Morris was here / there