“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” – Matthew 24:6
Relax! I haven’t ‘got religion’. The Biblical quote is nothing more than a crude attempt to make this article appear scholarly.
Having said that, even those of us who are most averse to the superstitious prating of religionists might well be forgiven should we resort to prayer in the face of unfolding events. These may not be the ‘end times’, but, what with one thing and another, it begins to look like a full dress rehearsal. I mean, it’s not every day the British state considers it necessary to make a public statement assuring the world that it has no intention of going to war with Spain.
Peter Felstead, editor of Jane’s Defence Weekly, has described Michael Howard’s suggestion that Britain might go to war over Gibraltar as “hilarious”. Theresa May was quick to join in the mockery – throwing in a, possibly ill-advised, allusion to Churchill as she did so. And Howard’s rattling of rusty sabres certainly tickled the Twittersphere. But you might just detect a certain hollowness in all that laughter.
Talk of war is absurd because war itself is absurd. It is never more absurd than while the carnage is actually happening. There is an essential ridiculousness in people who bear each other not the slightest ill-will being sent to mercilessly murder one another in the name of the very elites which mercilessly exploit them. If absurdity was an adequate reason to discount the possibility of war then the history of Europe would surely be considerably less bloody.
Politicians should be particularly cautious about talk of war. As Tony Benn said: ”War is the ultimate failure of diplomacy”. War is the failure of all the arcane arts which politicians claim as their preserve. It follows that no politician would talk lightly of war. For them to do so suggests a context within which the rhetoric of armed conflict is, at least to some extent, normalised.
While we may be cautiously confident that Theresa May is not about to send in the gunboats, we certainly should be concerned that her government has so destabilised relations with our European neighbours that even rumours of war can so readily become part of our political discourse.Views: 1997
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