scotlands-rorschachThere are moments in history, two now, in my lifetime when everything falls apart and, conversely, everything seems to fall into place.

100 years ago this, at the battle of the Somme, the international system that had lasted since Waterloo, more or less, came to symbolic and actual bloody and catastrophic grief. Those years of war, at which, for the British, the Somme sits as a particular trauma of local remembrance as well as global import, remade the world…initiated what Eric Hobsbawm called the “short Twentieth Century” – years of crisis and conflict that ended, he felt…and we all felt, I think, came to an end when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and European Communism, which had seemed like a permanent factor in our lives while I was growing up, collapsed like a house made of dried cowpats in less than two years thereafter.

Thus was born the global world. It was the End of History. The rule of the universal market, with universal democracy, withy enshrined universal equality, policed by the forces that no longer needed to hold the red beast at bay, would settle upon us like a blanket of security and conspicuous consumption. Why, we might even be able to address climate change…

So here we are now in our own wee corner of Globalization and its Discontents. And if Boris Johnson (now exited stage left, pursued by a Gove) was the flag waving buffoon at the centre of the UK comedy Stage of the last few months, Gordon Brown has been the hero of his own tragedy on another part of the stage. He wrote last week in the Guardian, trying to put all this chaos in the context of the New Global Order…and suddenly, all that seems like so very long ago

Brown it was, along with Tony Blair, who in 1994 became the Globalisation Project leaders of the UK Labour Party, who would steer us into the brave new world where there were no countries any more – just a single market inhabited by identical consuming ants whose only collective identity was as individual players in the global game of buying and selling whatever we could lay our hands on, our industry, our labour, each other, our kidneys, our blood. Owing no loyalty except to themselves…oh, and the maintenance of the necessary “stability” of course, a stability that, it soon became apparent, could tolerate no other self-identification that its functional insects might be tempted to come up with or cling to.

Globalisation had its good points, don’t get me wrong. It was predicated on human equality, universal assumptions about legality, property…oh yes, and “freedom of worship” if you were still interested in that kind of thing. Now that the communists (at least the Russian ones) were out of the way of a universal ideology of the individual and the global market, in the early 1990s, we were setting sail into a peaceful, uniform sea where there would be no more storms, where calm…or “stability” as the “markets” like to call it…was hard wired into the ocean.

Of course, it was never quite like that. For one thing, the economic and manufacturing dynamo of the whole system was Communist China. But back then, John Major’s Euro-hating “Bastards” were a Thatcherite nostalgia cult at the edge of the Tory party, as apparently marginal to the future as the UKIP nutters who got themselves going back then, or indeed the SNP -irrelevant throwbacks to old political conflicts from the seventies, and even more buried tribalisms – no more to be considered as players in the new world than…say…Islamic fundamentalists.

Look where we are now.

Well, what do we know, what remains to be found out? Let`s start in the middle of the scale and work our way up and down.

Theresa May, who kept herself wisely off the radar and off the telly during the referendum campaign, is going to be the leader of the Tory Party who, quite happily I expect, but with a concerned looking face on, will steer the UK into mid-Atlantic where it will presumably be sunk with a flag on top as a warning to shipping. Barring of course, some unforeseen series of accidents which will land us all in the shaking hands of Dr Liam Fox.

The Labour party, whose devotion to the values of fellowship and solidarity have been on such prominent display in the last week, will run the leadership contest they have been so desperately trying to avoid. If Corbyn wins, the Labour party will plit in two…leaving 30 odd socialist saints on the one side, and The Gang of Two Hundred zombie SDP on the other.

What both of these leviathans of the world`s leading democracy will try to avoid like the plague, of course, is the people…who have just proved they cannot be trusted. There will be no snap election if anyone can help it. Though it will be tempting for the Tories to grind their heels into the faces of the Labour party or what remains of it, wiser heads know that an election right now, with UKIP hoovering up votes from Labour like demented hausfraus, isn`t worth the risk. After all, getting rid of UKIP wqas the whole point wasn`t it?

Last week seems long ago and far away.

As for the wider context of Europe, the threat to the EU is on the one hand, existential, but on the other hand, hard to measure. After all, without the Brits there to be annoying and tell everybody else in Europe what they`re doing wrong all the time, the prospects for a revived and redesigned EU are possibly brighter than they were last week in the lost epoch of one rule to rule them all. It may well be that a multi-tiered Europe emerges from all this. Or the whole thing will fall apart and France and Germany and the Benelux countries will start again from scratch.

Crystal ball gazing has never been such a murky activity as it is now.

I think it is safe to say, however, that if the twentieth century of hot and cold war was short, the twenty-first, that of Globalisation and the Series Box Set, is already definitely at the end of season one even if it hasn`t quite been cancelled yet. Can we be saved in any form of civilisation before the climate gets us? Ask the Chinese…I`ve got no idea. This is the century of newly invented nationalisms…and as we know, and as the UK establishment has just found out, nationalisms come in many guises. And English nationalism has just declared its independence day as June 23rd 2016. Who knew it was that easy?

One thing I do know, though. That amid this chaos, Scotland needs its own voice, its own place, its own presence. We need to be a distinct, visible factor in whatever comes next.

One thing I do know, though. That amid this chaos, Scotland needs its own voice, its own place, its own presence. We need to be a distinct, visible factor in whatever comes next.

And that we are, that Nicola Sturgeon is now getting profiles written in newspapers all over the world, just like she did in the UK press last year is yes, a tribute to her.

But it is mainly a tribute to “yes”, to the campaign of 2014, without which nothing, and of which this presence in the world`s consciousness , is a tangible result.