The UK – an island off Europe: pain and politics

Storms threaten

Storms threaten

The United Kingdom is on its way … but where to?  The future looks complicated, and the present is far more serious than we would like it to be.

London, England

London, England

It is also filled with pain.  The deliberate targeting of innocence hurts. Two great cities have been struck – Manchester and London, and both have responded to the assaults.

Manchester, led by the beautiful, brave Ariana Grande, threw a party; and London, on behalf of us all, still studies its wounds as it plots a way forward.

Everyone is busy, especially the police in their hunt for suspects and the unsuspected, and the politicians who scramble for votes as the general election rushes towards us.

A bearded surprise

A bearded surprise

A few days ago it felt more benign, a political pantomime – starring a bearded surprise, and a stork in charge of the Brexit baby – but now, with terrorism in our midst, it has turned into a full-blooded Shakespearian drama.

A long-legged stork in charge of the future

A long-legged stork in charge of the future

On Thursday the 8th of June all of us in the audience will be asked to make a decision, to choose a leader … someone to carry our colours into the Battle of Brexit and beyond.

It is not easy to decide. We love Europe in a divided way: most of us want to stay friends but not be bossed around too much; some want to trade, to work and to stay; and others don’t want to get too cosy at all … or too squashed over here.

There is a good deal to be done.

Houses of Parliament, London

Houses of Parliament, London

Then we have our own problems to ponder.

What guidance do we have for these stormy times?  Shakespeare knew a thing or two about high drama.

In his play Julius Caesar (4.3.215), with the Empire in turmoil and Caesar slainShakespeare gives these words to Brutus as he fights to steady the future:

“The enemy increaseth every day;
We, at the height, are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.”

"On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures." Shakespeare, Julius Caesar 4.3.222-24

“On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.” Shakespeare, Julius Caesar 4.3.222-24

It did not go well for Brutus, but the Roman Empire was saved.  In the end it was a question of leadership.  May we choose wisely … and may the winds be fair.

Shakespeare - " the prince of dramatic writers"

Shakespeare – ” the prince of dramatic writers” Encyclopedia Britannica 1797

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2017

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