This is an interesting observation. The media “never consider” anything outside the box of the comfortably familiar. One wonders whether they are actually capable of doing so. Or are the media, and the established power for which they speak, prevented by their very nature from ever imagining a world in any significant way different from the one that they have always known? Is it a defining characteristic of established power to imagine that all innovation is done?
The complacently well-placed disparage dreamers as all dreams are considered unworthy other than those that have already been proved worthy by being realised. In a downward spiral of despairing realism, the smallest of dreams become the worthiest and the pettiest of personal gains become the pinnacle of human achievement. What we have is the best that we can hope for because to hope for more is to put at risk what we have.
The daily victory which sustains established power is the defeat of dreams. So long as enough of us remain sufficiently convinced that to dream is only and irrationally to deny reality, then established power remains secure. So long as we are kept from the realisation that the dream is the crucial precursor to change, then we cannot see meaningful change as a realistic possibility. The day we lose our fear to dream is the day that the citadels of established power begin to tremble.
So long as we swim in a media sea of ‘never consider’, we are no threat.
But suppose we stop to consider the possibility that other arrangements are possible. Suppose, for example, we consider the proposition that ‘separatism’ may not be nearly so unthinkable if we think of it simply as separation into parts which sit comfortably as the constituent parts of a whole which is more coherent and cohesive for its constituent parts sitting more comfortably within it. Suppose we consider it, not as breaking, but as reconstituting. Why should this be anathema to the EU? Why should this be anathema to anyone, other than those who have a vested interest in maintaining a generalised belief that all possible innovation is done?
In the context of Scotland’s constitutional debate, a Unionist is someone who has never questioned the Union, while a British Nationalist is someone who insists that the Union should never be questioned. In the wider European context, might it be that developments in Catalonia prompt more people to question the status quo? Might it even be that these developments, in conjunction with the irrepressible urging of Scotland’s Yes Movement and its counterparts elsewhere, weaken that obdurate resistance to questioning present constitutional arrangements?
Let’s reject the stultifying culture of ‘never consider’. Let’s instead consider the possibility that now is the time for the EU to abandon attitudes to secessionist movements which hark back to a dark age of European imperialism and adopt the enlightened principles set out in the UN Charter.
If the EU and the governments of European nations regard the current situation only as crisis and respond with defensive aggression, then it is difficult to see anything other than a protracted tragedy ensuing. But if they see it as an opportunity to embrace change and move immediately and with a sense of urgency to establish procedures by which that change might be managed, then the prospect opens up of a more stable, sustainable, prosperous and peaceful Europe.
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