Will a continent turn its back on democracy (December 21 2012) Will a continent turn its back on democracy (December 21 2012)

Antony James Beevor the 65 year old British historian and author has published an article in The Prospect titled ‘Will a continent turn its back on democracy?’ Beevor states”…We again face the danger of a world depression and we are beginning to see mass unemployment in some countries, especially in southern Europe. Last year, Giles Paxman, the British ambassador in Madrid, pointed out how remarkable it was that despite the terrifying levels of youth unemployment in Spain, there had been an astonishingly low level of social disorder. The demonstrations of the “Indignados,” the young Spaniards who have taken to the streets to protest against austerity measures and unemployment, have been passionate but not violent. His theory is that the memory of the horrors of the Spanish civil war is acting like a nuclear threat in the background. He may well be right. Greece also suffered from a civil war, and although there have been a considerable amount of violent protests in Athens, folk memory is likely to hold the country back from outright conflict. …What are the dangers and threats to parliamentary democracy in Europe? Can the fundamental contradictions in the euro project be overcome? The dynamic of the moment seems to be that political integration must be drastically accelerated to make up for the flagrant paradoxes that existed from the euro’s very foundation and were scandalously ignored. The same foreign minister argued to me last autumn that the economic situation was so grave that Europe must adopt a presidential system with direct elections. That idea is now becoming general currency in top European circles. Economic and political control would be drastically centralised with virtually no accountability. This would be nothing less than an elective dictatorship bringing with it the threat of nationalism, the very thing the European project intended to avoid.”


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