“Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know what worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.”
So wrote Baz Luhrman in his famous single “Wear Sunscreen” based on an earlier article.
People in Northern Ireland need to listen to him!
Channel 4’s Paul Mason explains why. What has blindsided us, in fact on an idle Saturday, is the incursion of Russian troops into the Crimea.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry said that, in the 21st century, you don’t just walk into other countries on the basis of phoney trumped up pretexts. The problem is, his country did exactly that just 11 years ago. This has cost the United States any moral authority, any internal popular support, and thus its place as the global policeman. Without it fulfilling that role, the world order changes and becomes more uncertain – and so do all our economic fortunes.
In other words, a movement of troops thousands of miles to the east has a direct impact on our daily lives. Our energy supply, the supply of cheap products (smartphones and so on), and the supply even of cheap food are endangered. Not only is the supply line beyond our control, but it is beyond the power of reasonable prediction – held, as it is, in unreasonable hands.
And you think your biggest problem is a flag on a building? You think your biggest problem is a local government boundary? Actually, you think your biggest problem is a comparatively minor change to your pension, or being in negative equity?
No chance. It may not be quite so apocalyptic as Mr Mason suggests as there is good economic reason to suggest China will in fact side with the West, but the world is an uncertain place. Our politicians argue over irrelevance because we argue over irrelevance. It’s time to get relevant.