Does travel broaden the mind? By and large foreign travel and better communication, with pictures beamed instantly across the globe have helped to break down prejudice and make us realise how much we have in common.
Take the financial crisis in Greece, which has been in the headlines repeatedly this year. Mainland Greece and, in particular, the Greek islands, have become favoured destinations for many thousands of British holidaymakers. We can well imagine the feelings of the crowds in Athens protesting against what they see as very severe austerity measures being imposed upon them. After all, most of them will be like us – wage-earners who have had little to do with creating the crisis.
Whatever the relationships of the states of Europe, the peoples of Europe have grown closer. And yet, within the United Kingdom, the relationship between Government and people is very similar to what it was in the 1950s. Only those of us over a certain age will remember the days of SuperMac when our Prime Minister was an old Etonian who relaxed on the grouse moors of his friends. Now, there is no longer any need to look back to the past for an example of rulers who can have little perception of the lives of ordinary people.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, talking of the global financial crisis said not so long ago that we are all in this together. That’s a phrase which sounds very hollow, when we look round and see friends and family, young and old, squeezed by rising prices, worried about job security and a Cabinet populated by millionaires whose inherited wealth cushions them from worries about paying bills and job security. All in this together indeed!