Are politicians nothing more than grown up children?
Did you catch the BBC Four series, Vienna: Empire, Dynasty and Dream, Presented by Simon Sebag-Montefiore? Having visited Vienna I was struck by the enduring sense of history in Austria’s capital – no Shard or Gherkin to draw your eye away from St Paul’s or The Tower of London. Vienna is all palaces, magnificent buildings and The Opera House. The presence of Strauss, Mozart and Klimt is all surrounding. Every building and statue and faiker reminds you that this city was once the centre of Europe.
In the series, Sebag relates the importance of Vienna and the Habsburg dynasty that ruled much of Europe for nearly a thousand years.
In order to maintain their control over The Holy Roman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, The Habsburgs made alliances with France one minute and chasing Napoleon around the next minute. They asked Russia to help them defeat the Ottomans one day and then resented Russia’s hold over them the next. Running Europe resembled the school playground with the ever changing fallouts and makeups. However it did make for fascinating and enlightening television and well worth seeing on Catch Up.
I was struck at the end of the series how Brexit, for all its column inches and prime time coverage, is nothing new. Most European nations cannot remember who their allies and friends are from one century to another.
How many times would you protect Pierre in the playground if the next day he is calling you names behind your back? Isn’t it better to find out who your true friends are and then stick with them through thick and thin?
A dynasty, a playground, a marriage – can you, can we, be relied upon – for better or worse, for richer for poorer …………