Monday, 12 October 2015
Ms Williams should be cautious of the "Star Trek state"
Y'know it's actually quite a while since I indulged in any Grauniad bashing. As much as it is now self-parodying, and probably deliberately so, it is now so completely irrelevant to serious political discourse, one forgets it even exists. I've not gone soft on it, it just doesn't register in my world, and if it did I would hold it in no more contempt than any other newspaper.
Since I've specialised somewhat on this blog the opportunities to ridicule the Guardian have been few, but here we have Zoe Williams making the case that the Remain campaign should present the EU as some kind of Roddenberryesque utopia.
It is never wise for commentators to invoke Star Trek unless they are a mega fan. We have already seen how this can land you in trouble. Fans of the franchise will be aware that Deep Space Nine scratches the veneer of the Trek universe to reveal that not only does the Federation routinely breach its own treaties and meddles in the affairs of the Romulan Empire, it also has its own secret police under the guise of Section 31.
Also, in true Kirk form, there are several diplomatic and time travel protocols broken over a span of many years for which nobody is ever punished. Indeed, toward the end, the Romulans were brought into the Dominion war on a false premise manufactured by Captain Sisko with the approval of Starfleet Command, involving the murder of a high ranking Romulan senator and a pretty criminal they use in the process.
We also see how Section 31, in collusion with Starfleet medical is part of a broader conspiracy to commit genocide of the Changeling species by deliberately infecting Odo with a lethal virus. We also see in the feature film, Insurrection, the Federation is willing to forge some highly questionable alliances in exchange for certain resources - culminating in the admiralty conspiring in a forced relocation programme.
In that regard, the EU is already much like the Federation, presenting itself as a benevolent, peaceful entity, when in reality it has an expansionist agenda of its own and is willing to break all its own rules in order to do it - at one point even pillaging sacred relics from Bajor without the consent of the provisional government.
For all the vague promises made to Bajor in the seven years of Starfleet military oversight, we still saw Bajorans squabbling over the use of industrial replicators at a time preceding the Dominion war, which suggests the Federation was not forthcoming with the necessary technology and aid to help Bajor rebuild from the Cardassian occupation. We could stretch the point point further and examine the many breaches of protocol in The Next Generation, but we'll be here all night.
In all of these respects there are a great many parallels with the EU. A technologically advanced, first world empire making huge promises, failing to deliver and being massively hypocritical in the process - forging trade deals in secret, destabilising neighbouring political settlements and persecuting refugee settlements. (The Maquis)
Come to think of it, unless there is something we've not been told about the EU, the Federation is far worse than the EU if you count the attempted mass genocide. Is that what Ms Williams is saying here? That the EU should model itself after the Federation? If so, it's more than halfway there already.