Parked here for later use (I have to write and record a half-hour radio programme on children’s happiness by Wednesday afternoon; it will be Thursday evening’s “Analysis”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/analysis/default.stm for anyone who is interested.)
There are two huge problems facing Europe, and the West generally. One is the threat of “Islam” — not, that is to say, the religion so much as the appearance of an unemployed, unemployable, underclass, racially or socially distinct from the rest of us, and hostile. The other is climate change.
The third problem is that the cure for each threatens to make the other worse.
The only way to absorb and integrate all these people is through economic growth. Useful, productive employment is the motor from which all else is driven. But it is precisely this growth which makes worse the problem of global warming, something which will in the end make economic contraction inevitable. I suspect that a sustainable society will have a lot less paid employment — or a very much smaller population. We know that our present model of exploiting the earth is unsustainable.
I suspect that the answer will involve the rediscovery of nation states, and a fresh interest in war as a means of policy.