After the First World War the simmering European nationalist movements, some of whom were part of the causes of that catastrophic conflict, finally began to break up the mammoth continental empires. The shock of the Second World War and the interests of both sides during the Cold War ensured nationalism was made subservient to the interests of the superpowers. But after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the joining of the two Germany's, nationalism has begun to spread once more throughout Europe and touching places it had long been dormant. Belgium has been in the grip of one such surge of nationalism and the subsequent bitterness for many months. Just read this article for a profile on the Flanders region to see what I mean.
The same bitter recriminations reverberate around our great country right now as the English, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and every other "nation" who calls our islands home begin a slow descent towards separation.
In some of their eagerness to spread their negative politics some of nationalism's favourite politicians are starting to make some decisions which go against the best interests of those they claim to represent.
Alex Salmond has, for the last two years, been building ties to some rather dodgy Islamic groups and starting the introduction of state funded religious schools up there in Britain's northern reaches. Read this rather excellent blog post for more. Needless to say this is a bad idea both for Muslims in general, who should not be expected to simply support the organisations Alex Salmond deems to represent them, and for the need to try to avoid creating ever more sectarian divides by labeling everyone by the religion of their parents.
When will people wake up that nationalism is the politics of the past, a symptom of the dark side of the human mind which likes to judge people not for their own individual qualities but simply for the place of their birth or even who they were born to.
This country needs a unifying leader, someone who can offer hope and show the benefits of our Union. We need some one with vision, who can bring about real advancements in our society rather than just keeping the status quo ticking over.
Fingers crossed we last until such a leader appears.