Everyone knew what
Newton was after. But in the social and political world, we have as many truths as
we have eyes. Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder in politics, but truth
is. This is why different nations cannot immediately agree on the right thing
From the beginning, the
European project symbolised peace. It started because the peoples of a given
geographical area in particular had witnessed pain. Napoleon and Hitler had
been tough to respective other nations at different times. This is far from a
fair and inclusive list. The history of humanity is filled with fear,
disagreement and wars.
Peace, as an ideal,
cannot come into existence at a sudden moment like the gravitational force
discovered by Newton. The European Union has adopted Beethoven’s 9th Symphony
as its official anthem - without the lyrics of the poem by Schiller which
Beethoven placed into his symphony. Schiller’s poem which the EU anthem did not
acquire says that custom has divided humanity, but it is the magic of humanity
which can unite it again. With the UK referendum, it is the will of this one
part of humanity which has explicitly forgotten the power of optimism and trust
in ‘the Other’.
The national will in
the UK has expressed a fear of loss of sovereignty. ‘Good’ governance, without
losing track of ‘real’ society, needs to be able to meet each other half way. People
forgetting what good is, is ignorance: the international elite forgetting the
people is oligarchy.
Democracy at the
supranational level can be shaped in a realistic fashion. This European
democratic model ought to be supplemented with a theory of communication. This
requires the parties to listen, and desire to understand. Without the will to
understand, the national ‘will’ becomes static and regressive. Countries in
international relations are not so different from individuals in societies.
Solitude is the diet of the soul: a little bit of it is necessary but too much
of it is deadly (La Rochefoucauld). This is the test for the UK now.
This year’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow has been hailed as the most significant climate event since the 2015 Paris Agreement. But what action must world leaders take to put the planet on a sustainable path? And what does this mean for the future of global capitalism?
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