With Spanish house prices still falling, the implications for Iberian bank balance sheets are obvious. A million properties remain unsold. Spanish television is being pretty open about about the massive pressure on Madrid, but there is an undercurrent to all of it suggesting that Spain could break up as a nation. After all, if the banks’ finances are so shot to pieces, what help can the Government be to the regions?
Catalans in particular are being increasingly open about becoming an independent state, and only a fool would ignore the old Civil War enmities that still exist between Barcelona and Madrid. The fully justified fear is that Madrid’s power to resist a schism has been diluted by having to turn to Brussels for help. Some MSM titles are suggesting that, on the quiet, Galacia and Andulucia are also preparing to leave Madrid rule. Given that the latter has a 68% unemployment rate, there is a horrible reality to this possibility.
[I]n Portugal, a big protest in the capital is planned. For the first time since 1974, the military have made an official statement that they ‘will protect the people of Portugal’. The imputation is clear: the army is asking whether the Government still deserves to be the sovereign power in the land.
These are just two examples in Europe of how conscious EU/Troika policy has created the necessary conditions for nation States to break down. But there are more.
In Greece, there is now a clear split between older, more fearful conservative citizens and a more Left-wing anti-EU youth ready to break away from what they increasingly regard as imperial shackles. Layered over this crack in national unity are first, the emergence of the neo-Nazi Right, an object of great suspicion to the thus far protected military elite; and bitter resentment towards the politico-legal elites felt by ordinary citizens.
Italy is intrinsically split anyway between the family/community business/profession thing, a virtual closed shop; medium and larger enterprises responsible for most of the country’s exports; and government-owned enterprises, utilities, and banks whose productivity has been risible for years. There is also a north/south divide exacerbated by the fact that most efficient enterprises are in the north, whereas the public sector/mama and papa disasters tend to be to the south of the country. The geographic divide mirrors Spain, where Basque Country and Catalonian businesses are usually productive, while Andalucia in the South is renowned for nepotism and tax evasion.
All these potentially anarchic national features have been worsened by the euro crisis in general, and Berlin’s obsession with efficiency in particular. But these two specifics exemplify the general: it is very much in the EU’s interests for its member States to be weakened… and so too do the madder neocons work hard to erode the nation as a unit.
Three of the most powerful nations on the planet are, literally, split right down the middle: and it is the difference between the laissez-faire economic and socio-economic cultural model that divides all three. France’s two tribes are split almost exactly 50/50 between the reforming Anglo-saxonistes, and those still clinging to the cooperative farming and adversarial industrial form that has remained pretty much unchanged throughout the Fifth Republic. The United Kingdom has been a dead heat for years between the Thatcherite efficiency-at-all-costs strategy, and those who prefer more or less of the Welfare State as a safety-net. And in the US, the chasm between soi-disant ‘progressive’ Democrats and neocon Republicans yawns more with every election….while remaining close to 50% per side.
Observe how Murdoch’s Fox News winds up the mutual trashing between liberals and conservatives in the States. See how his media (and him personally for that matter) divide the United Kingdom: royalist v republican, Diana v the Windsors, Scotland v England, this Party one election v that Party the next. Thankfully for the French, as a foreigner he is wisely banned from being a media proprietor: but even there, in recent years Sarkozy and his American allies have tried hard to rubbish everything about the traditional French approach to life.
I am at pains to point out yet again that there is no conscious conspiracy in play here, merely a series of greedy, power-crazed bastards who rarely introspect in relation to what they’re about. Rather, they unconsciously seek to divide and thus weaken any and all opposition to their mad objectives. And of course, there is no way Brussels and the markets are working in unison on this one: as we have come to recognise, they absolutely loathe each other.
But perhaps I could summarise by observing that, while the EU is hard at work taking away our socio-legal rights and egalities, whacknut neocon multinational business pushes the envelope each and every day in a bid to see just how much BS we will put up with when it comes to financial repression.
Please don’t see these thoughts as doomsaying: I remain absolutely confident that, sooner or later, superstate and 3%-run societies will be exposed as unworkable. And faced with a stereo-cacophony of potty ideas, I am hopeful that increasingly desperate families and communities will refuse to engage with these headcases, looking instead to build life fulfilment from local rather than global: from responsibility and cooperation, rather than dog-eat-dog division.
By John Ward @ The Slog