Opening the papers this morning I was assailed by a whole catalogue of gloom and even horror. Ranging from yet more mass killings in the US, the Catalan riots, the Marseille jihadist attack, suspected terrorists in Canada, North Korean paranoia, Monarch Airlines folding, more kneeling NFL players, political civil wars and, to cap it all, Philip Hammond declaring on the Today programme that the 2 year Brexit transition period is entirely flexible and could well be significantly longer !
Where can I begin ?
Today, it's probably better just to reflect on our world a little rather than delving into specific stories.
Does it not strike you that we are actually entering a new phase in our evolution - certainly in the West - as our political and social structures become ever more challenged and even rebelled against ? I'm not against the principle of change, and sometimes necessary change can only be brought about by robust actions. But robust action doesn't translate into murder, mayhem and mindless, ideological slaughter - the seemingly favoured tool of the radical and revolutionary mindset that has become embedded around our societies. That there is little organised governmental response to this other than raising the security profile and having more armed responders patrolling around is possibly a sign that we have reached a point of change that few are understanding or even able to grapple with. And this is not just a phenomena of terrorism. It is also a phenomena of our cultural changes and our societal viewpoints of traditional authority and leadership. Around the Western world, all of these elements are under scrutiny and challenge by the mass populations of countless nations - we might say that the orthodoxy of government and rule is being openly challenged with the attendant drive for reform.
We've seen it before, certainly throughout Britain's history - but with news, communication and opinion making media being so instant nowadays there is something of a gallop to rebel, to defy the status quo, to dispute the authority of previously respected institutions and so on and on. And who do we believe ? The proliferation of media information makes it difficult to judge what actually is or may be happening. And who creates this media flood ? Who is accountable for information and data that is pushed at all our populations in terms of the influence it might have on them ? And who orchestrates or manages any of this ? That's a whole bunch of don't knows to many of us but it opens up yet another challenge about the actual behaviour and attitudes of many of these 'institutions' that have previously been regarded as inviolate and even respected. And there is the crunch. Our respect, faith, belief and trust in both governmental and corporate institutions is rapidly waning. We just don't believe what many of them say any more and because we can now tap into a knowledge base that exposes much of their innermost strategies and workings we are rebelling - the peasants are revolting you might say.
Is this the natural outcome of globalisation ? International expansion and a loss of identity and purpose ? And is it co-joined with governance that just cannot yet handle this concept of hugeness, of anonymity, of opaque legal status, of absent accountability, of disinterest in the microcosm that actually is their lifeblood (that's voters and customers !) ? I somehow doubt nobody really knows the full answers to these questions - in which case, for today, I might conclude that we are entering a new Dark Age....