Secession Seshmession. You´ve got to Serve Somebody.

Adrian V. Cole
7 min readNov 22, 2018
Jason Leung

Bob Dylan was almost certainly thinking of the future of the European Union when he penned his gospel song Gotta Serve Somebody. Doubtless he was describing Europe’s rich panoply of characters when he sung:

“Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk,
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk,
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread,
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed.”

Europe’s secessionist movements, comprising as they do high-born and low-born, all seem to be expressing a desire to escape their fealty to a particular Noble Liege. But as Dylan goes on to say, “you gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed…Well it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord but you gonna have to serve somebody.” The question for all of them, however, is who, in fact, is the Lord, and who the Devil? Or, as they say in Catalan: Qui es el Senyor?

In the old, old days, say before the EU, us Europeans used to send our tribute to the Big Man. This is the origin of taxation. And of rackets like the Mafia (the main difference being the violence used to extort — and the fact that you don’t get public education from the Mafia). If the biggest “Man” around these days has been in Brussels (or has been Brussels), it now seems like Europeans, or many of them, either want a smaller “man,” or think the big man has moved into their nieghborhood.

In Europe today multiple sub-nationalisms are energetically attempting to re-direct their funds and their loyalties from a distant to a more proximate Lord, or Devil, who the latter actually is will ultimately be discovered in the details, as the Brexiteers are learning. Or the Welsh, for example, who voted overwhelmingly “Leave.” Although the Welsh have their own secessionist movement from the UK, opting out of Europe means they throw their lot back in with London. And if most economists and political pundits are to be believed, they have suffered a shot in the foot in the process — among the many things Wales can chalk up to European membership are clean beaches, international investment, affordable mobile phone service, and perhaps most of all a massive agricultural export market.

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Adrian V. Cole

Writer of fiction & non fiction. Author of “Thinking Past: Questions and Problems in World History to 1750.” Politics Reporter at the American Independent