How Europe’s crisis resolves itself as yet remains unknown.
But with Sunday’s returns from France and Greece, the mega-trends on the Old Continent are unmistakable. And for the European Union, they are ominous.
Nationalism – be it economic nationalism or ethnic nationalism – is ascendant. Transnationalism and multiculturalism are in headlong if not irreversible retreat. The European project is itself imperiled.
To be sure, no one should underestimate the commitment of Europe’s elites to the vision of One Europe as challenger to the United States. In the capitals and corporate headquarters of the continent, these elites are, almost to a man and woman, devout Europeans.
Yet their ability to keep Europe on course until its peoples have yielded up their sovereignty and agreed to submerge themselves in a single entity is now in question. From Paris to Athens, the radical left and the nationalist right are resurgent. Marxists and patriots dream different dreams than the disciples of Jean Monnet.
Consider what the French electorate just said.
In the first round of voting, communists and radicals took 11 percent. Their leader, Jean-Luc Melenchon, endorsed the socialist Francois Hollande, who went on to win Sunday.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, who ran second in the first round with only 27 percent, raised his total Sunday to 48 percent. Though Marine Le Pen of the National Front had refused to endorse him, Sarkozy openly courted her voters.
As Marine put it, they call us racists, protectionists and xenophobes. Then they come asking for our endorsement, echo our words and seek our votes.
The near 30 percent the National Front and far left combined pulled in the first round is unprecedented in the annals of the Fifth Republic.
In Greece, the returns were equally dramatic.
PASOK, the governing center-left party, ran third with 13 percent of the vote. New Democracy, the center-right party that is in coalition with PASOK, ran first but won only 19 percent.
These two parties saw their combined support sliced in half since the last election and may be unable to form a government that can continue to impose the austerity the German-led eurozone is demanding as the price of Greece’s bailout.
The parties that gained most were the communists with 7 percent, Syriza, a radical-left party, with 17 percent, and Golden Dawn, a far-right party that has called for land mines on the border, with 7 percent. All three will bedevil any coalition that accedes to German demands.
What is causing the collapse of the center in Europe?
The austerity being imposed by Germany and her hard-money allies in the north of Europe on the indebted nations of the south of Europe.
Across the continent, voices are rising to demand that a growth package be attached to Angela Merkel’s fiscal pact.
But a growth package means tax cuts and spending increases. How do Europe’s nations provide these without adding to deficits and national debts, which mean new borrowing and the higher interest rates that are a primary cause of the present crisis?
The debtor nations seem to be saying this:
“Yes, we have been addicted to the narcotic of deficit spending. But we cannot survive going cold turkey. If you force us into it, our people will rebel and throw us out. Before we can give up the drugs, we need a new fix.”
From inception, the European project was built on a Faustian bargain.
If the nations of Europe would surrender their sovereignty, let their identities be diluted through immigration and open borders, and submerge themselves in a larger and more inclusive Europe, their peoples would be rewarded with an unparalleled prosperity.
Surrender your souls, and we will make you rich, secure and happy, said the eurocrats to the peoples of Europe.
After two terrible wars, Europe’s peoples took the bribe.
Free-riding off America’s defense, enjoying a prosperity produced by internal free trade and the explosive growth of their welfare states, financed at low interest rates once the euro was accepted as the common currency, they came to relish the good times.
Now the bill has come due. Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain must sacrifice and suffer to pay for these good times. Their public sectors must be pared back, pensions reduced, retirement age advanced. They must work harder and longer for all the years it takes to put their fiscal houses in order and pay back what they owe.
The left is saying is: We want our pensions restored, our public employees rehired. If our leaders need more money, take it from the rich, take it from the banks, take it from the big corporations.
The right is saying: We want our countries and culture back. We want our borders closed. We want no more immigration from the rest or Europe or the rest of the world.
Let France be France again. Let Greece be Greece again.
Tribalism, radicalism and socialism are the growth stocks of the new Europe.
SWAPLOCK >> a gender swapped au starring: rebecca hall as sherlock holmes, rosamund pike as joanna watson, ben whishaw as ollie hooper, anna chancellor as morag holmes, dan stevens as martin morstan, matt bomer as ian adler, nicola walker as greta lestrade, judi dench as camilla magnussen, richard ayoade as sam donovan, darren criss as jason hawkins and lana parilla as jane moriarty.
“I’ve hurt myself and tried to call a friend but dialed a wrong number can you help me out anyway” AU
“We’ve both been sent to a reformative summer camp but it turns out it’s actually a front for organised vampirism on gay teens that their parents want to subdue” AU
“You’re going out with my sibling/friend/relative but i’m convinced you’re gay (and shit you’re hot), what better way to prove it than seduce you in front of them” AU
Lord of the Flies AU
Bugsy Malone AU
Some Like It Hot AU
“You’re a species a lot like a vampire and I’m a species a lot like a werewolf but we always get mistaken for the better known species and I know we’re supposed to be arch enemies but we bond over others’ ignorance” AU
Star Trek: Voyager (lost in space) AU
“I’m a pirate(/space pirate) who invaded your town(/spaceship/planet) and cold-cocked you because you were in my way but you’re weirdly attractive when you’re unconscious so I brought you back to my ship” AU
“I was trying to roofie someone else but the waiter mixed up the drinks so I accidentally roofied you” AU
“We’re dating and you organised a threesome but the third person you found is actually my sibling” AU
“You’re lactose intolerant and you’re allergic to gluten but we got the wrong orders so now we’re sharing an ambulance” AU
“We both fainted at the concert” AU
KickThePJ’s Forever Train AU
Literally any of the stories from Love Actually AU
“We’ve both been captured by a ‘superior race’ and are now being sold as a joint lot in a sex slave auction” AU
“I’m a government spy and you stumbled in on me killing someone and even though you’re drunk as Hell I’m afraid you’re going to have to come with me” AU
“We’re two different countries’ Eurovision acts” AU
featuring Melinda May as the leader of the Resistance, Bobbi Morse as an X-Wing pilot, Skye/Daisy Johnson as the scavenger, Jemma Simmons as an engineer for the Resistance, Raina as Captain Phasma, and Kara Palamas as a bounty hunter.
summary: The Ark knows that people have survived on the ground, but they don’t know anything about them. Now, with time and oxygen running out, information on these people will be what saves their lives.
For the spotlight this month our readers elected “Stars In The Water, Blood On Our Hands” by grumpybell, on AO3. With only one chapter left, it’s close to completion, and at 50K+ words it makes for a great read if you want to kill a couple hours and enjoy some pure escapist Bellarke storytime.
For the plot, it begins similar to the show, but with the change that Bellamy and Octavia are warriors for the Wolf Clan, part of the Valley people, and never lived on the Ark. Up in space, air is still running out, but instead of the delinquents, Clarke is sent down to the surface alone to spy for the Ark, with the threat that if the locals are inhospitable, the Ark may strike preemptively to ‘clear’ the area for their inevitable descent. Bellamy finds Clarke and instead of killing her, he is charmed by her, and brings her back to live with his village, putting his whole reputation in the community on the line for her. This has some well-played out ramifications later in the fic that I enjoyed. In addition to Clarke and Bellamy, we also get time with Octavia, Lincoln, and Nyko, as well as visits from other notable characters in the show.
Clarke spends time in the village, and we get a love story that’s a bit like the film Avatar, with Clarke in the place of Jake. While Clarke gets to know the people of Bellamy’s clan, she’s plagued by guilt as she makes reports to the Ark and lives the double life of a spy. The spying aspect gives what would have otherwise been a typical AU a different spin, and the author really builds up tension as Clarke and Bellamy’s relationship escalates. I admit, there was a point where I was a little afraid to keep reading because I knew all the truth would come out, and we might get 8 chapters of misunderstanding as the characters never talked to each other about their problems… but I was relieved that the opposite happened. Not to get too much into spoilers, but what does happen in the final third of the fic nicely balances the level of drama from the spy plot, and also pays due diligence to the romantic relationship at the story’s core.
The prose in this fic is entertaining and smooth throughout, very easy to read. There’s a good deal of effort given to describing Grounder culture, various clans, and what affect the clan identity has on Bellamy and Octavia. I liked the tattoos being done in the end, and all that symbolism. There were also some nice parallels–I particularly liked how seeing Clarke in quarantine is compared to Bellamy finding her in the pod in the water, which I’d forgotten, but made for a provocative image. Other scenes nicely evoked certain moments in the show’s canon, like Bellamy approaching the downed Ark for the first time:
He approaches, finally, hands up, and gets yelled at the moment he’s spotted. Men swarm out of the gates, guns up and pointed at him. He keeps his chin up, hands raised to show he carries no weapons, not that he’s going to let them in on the knife in his boot or under his coat. He’s not going into sky people territory entirely unarmed. It doesn’t take long for them to circle around him.
“I’m unarmed,” he says loudly, hands up. He’s surrounded now, but the men around him look unsure. They aren’t the hardened warriors of his people. They’re just scared, desperate people, but that makes them trigger happy and dangerous.
“I’ve come to see Clarke,” he announces to no one in particular. He notices these words cause the men around him to exchange glances, but no one really seems to know what to do. But then a woman, the one he’s pretty sure is Clarke’s mother, is pushing her way into the circle of men.
The character’s motivations are consistent for the course of the story, and I particularly liked that no one was really evil. Although there are certainly characters who do antagonistic plot things, especially the Skaikru, the author doesn’t shortshift the intentions of those characters. This world is gentler than The 100 is in canon, but I’m not sorry for it, because there’s still plenty of drama to work through. Bellamy and Clarke’s relationship by the end feels very well handled with its approach to forgiveness and mistakes.
If you like Grounder AUs, or just canonverse AUs, this is definitely a story to put on your list!
so… australia…. *snickers*… whatst….. haha oh this is so good…. whats.. oh no i can’t do it… i can’t keep a straight face…. haha whwahwhhwhahahahaahah ….. so…. heheheheheehe…… Whats the………oh man this is a classic….. whats the ……. holy shit i can’t bretah…. I’m literally crying…… so….. austar……….oh god……… australei…………ahhaahahjahh aha holhys hti……….WAHTS NEXT YEAR LIKE!??!!!! hahahHAHAHAhahahHAh this is such a good joke oh man how has no one made this before