Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Scientists have discovered a new galaxy in the universe, it is called NP (the galaxy of the national-populists). When Jean Claude Juncker told Angela Merkel that Theresa May was living in another galaxy, he was partially disclosing this so far well preserved scientific discovery. The British Prime Minister is trying to sell to the British public that it is possible to keep all the things that are popular about an integrated economy, and eliminate quickly all those that are unpopular. She is just not saying that cutting the ties with Europe and running away is not only impossible and bad for the Brits, but also just illegal, for example, and that there is nowhere to run away to (except NP Galaxy). Yesterday Marine Le Pen in her debate with Emmanuel Macron showed a similar reluctance to face reality. She lives in a parallel world (NP Galaxy) where the relevant words are liberty, independence and sovereignty (familiar words in Catalonia, Scotland or Northern Italy), as if you could be free in the world of 2017 by invoking cutting your ties with the rest of the world, starting with your immediate neighbours, clients, partners, friends and relatives. Someone has said that yesterday's was the typical debate of a referendum about globalization. It was not: it was a debate on two visions about how to face globalization. One vision (Le Pen's) is just to turn your back on it (and go to NP Galaxy). The other vision is to accept that it is a fact of reality that must be governed (Macron's) and embraced, and that offers lots of opportunities for everybody (starting with the French) if it is managed wisely, democratically and fairly. As Simon Kuper has argued in the Financial Times, national-populists promise detail-free revolutions (that is the freedom that characterizes NP Galaxy: the freedom from inconvenient details): they may live in another galaxy, but they should be stopped if they want the rest of us to "leap into the dark without maps or parachutes."