It is difficult to take seriously the criteria set for ‘being a failed state’ by the Non-profit Think Tank ‘Fund for Peace’ when it manages to place Iceland as one of the countries least likely to be a failed state, presumably their placement was fixed before their little local banking difficulty.
The 12 point criteria still provides a useful reference point to evaluate the United Kingdom’s present position.
- Mounting demographic pressures.
- An ageing population with decimated savings, welfare state providing for unknown numbers of non producers…….tick this box
2. Massive movement of Refugees creating complex humanitarian emergencies.
- Take your pick from crime figures, decline of education, unfair burden on health service….tick.
3.Legacy of vengeance seeking group grievance – or group paranoia.
- It’s not paranoia when they are ripping you off……we do want vengeance…..tick.
4. Chronic and sustained Human Flight.
- Five million Britons now living overseas. Many more would join them if they could. Tick.
5. Uneven economic development along group lines.
- The rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer……..tick.
6. Sharp and/or severe Economic Decline.
- Even our grandchildren are in debt……several trillion pounds worth….tick.
7. Criminalisation and/or Delegitimisation of the State.
- See Daily Telegraph for further details………tick.
8. Progressive Deterioration of the Public Services.
- No argument with me ticking this one? Good. Tick.
9. Suspension or Arbitrary Application of the Rule of Law and Widespread Violation of Human Rights.
- Does the Rule of Law apply to everyone? Blears? Smith? Chief Constables supporting due process? Hmmn……Tick.
10. Security Apparatus operates as a State Within a State.
- Who knows – we’re not allowed to know………Tick.
11. Rise of Factionalised Elites.
- We call them MPs, but the theory is sound….Tick.
12. Intervention of Other States or External Political Actors.
- Not yet, but we live in hope……….
Tongue in cheek maybe, but perhaps we should stop thinking that a failed state can only mean dust swirling round tea towel enfolded heads.
Gordon Brown in Prime Minister’s Question Time this morning was asked why he would not call an election, he replied to the effect that the Conservatives would not be able to run the country. A tacit admission that he is clinging onto power because he fears losing it, not for any altruistic reason – he simply doesn’t trust the voters to put him back in power.
We, in turn, don’t trust him.
I used to think that I was a temporary ex-patriot, today I have decided that I am a refugee from a failed state.