I salute David Cameron for his veto to the EU because I think I have become more conservative and appreciate the maintenance of Anglo-American culture versus the new form of polity that is emerging in Europe under the leadership of Germany. Liberal seems to mean merging the Anglo-American culture with the Continental which is not realistic. Gideon Rachman points out in his column that the Netherlands and France seem to be hanging rather lose in the new constellation formed. France because the socialists, if they win in the spring, would opt against. What I don’t like with the Germans so far is the strong anti-Americanism displayed in their English propaganda magazine Spiegel Online International. The English journals and magazines are more neutral against Germany.
Sweden has ended up in a precarious situation the reason for which I am a little unsure. I had this idea that the Swedes that historically have had a soft spot for the strong leader would have liked the EU and to become more of a guided citizen of Europe than a member of the “free world” now when crisis strikes and federalism is back on the agenda. Many politicians and industry in Sweden are German and would like an EMU membership but the populace is to 80% against this development currently. This surprised me actually and the question is if this is Germanophobia, Anglophilia, or just holding tight in your wallet for southern profligacy? The fact that English is used in media and music to a great extent in Sweden probably adds to the ambivalence. Birgitta Ohlsson, the EU minister, Jan Björklund, party leader in the People’s Party, and Carl B Hamilton, chairman of the EU commission today write in Svenska Dagbladet that Sweden should join the “core of Europe”. That would mean EMU membership or at least membership in the new coalition. The new suggested Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt immediately takes a point that they act against the people. It is interesting to find Tories side by side with Swedish Left Partiers!
People are demonstrating in Italy because of Monti’s austerity measures which raise the question if the German austerity way is actually going to destabilize Europe. If these problems become more severe this might lead to a notion from the market that a federalization attempt of the Eurozone would not add to financial improvement. People seem therefore have lost hope and walk out on the street without a clear objective. They do not sense the reality of the emergency. Large numbers are just large numbers and not years of hard work with less to balance the books. They feel unfairly treated and cheated by everybody. Almost all serious writes that publish in the free media diagnose the problem as a problem of a widening gap between the rich and the poor. In order to entice investors Merkozy let the private investors off the hook in the deal and loaded the problem onto the taxpayers, something that did not show very clearly in the aftermath.
What kind of new culture is forming under Germany on the Continent then? It is different both in its economy and in its general culture. Germany is well founded in philosophy, literature and music but it is not clear exactly where they stand politically, except that they have a right of center and a left of center party with a strong former communist block as of recently. Catholicism will be a strong factor in its development. They even have a German-born and raised Pope. That is a factor that ameliorates the fusion with Poland but not with Sweden. Britain is a more secular and religiously open-minded country which fits better with the liberal immigration politics of Sweden. The Orthodox Greeks are culturally and economically way out as I pointed out before. How does Catholicism influence people then compared to a more secular religiously open-minded setting. It could have an effect on the degree of privacy due to the culture of the Confession. Personally I believe strongly that maintaining privacy is a survival factor for future civilizations.
What does Britain have to offer the Swedes then? Its culture multiplies the knowledge-factor via the second language with a factor of at least ten times. We can directly access the Anglo-American literature and all its text books for academia. Unless Sweden would go back to German as a second language they will always have problems on the Continent. The problem there for the Germans is clear. Their language does not sound that attractive so it does not work as efficiently to foster a culture as English. Therefore there is a risk that there will be harder power than what would be needed in the English case. In an era where teaming up to survive is becoming more and more necessary to challenge the gargantuan Chinese state it is important to realized that Sweden is a small country which has to form ties with for them the right partners. The time has come again for a decision. Last time around Sweden made a U-turn after the war. Will they make a U-turn post battle this time when the smoke clears?