As I type this, we are around one month away from the UK exiting the European Union (EU) - either with a deal to be brought back to the UK in mid-October 2019 or with no deal on 31 October 2019. In truth, we may never reach any break with Europe - negotiated or otherwise - or the date of leaving may be postponed again due to any number of possibilities, including a General Election.
I've kept a less-than-close eye on the shenanigans that have been progressing since the UK Government of the day cited Article 50, mainly because, every time I've switched on the news, a little voice has kept repeating in my head 'Oh grief! Here we go again!' and I've been far from enthusiastic in what I'm hearing.
However, I need to write down a warning here and then move on.
First, I need to point out that it does not matter whether you (as an individual) or me - or anyone else for that matter - voted to leave the EU or to remain. It's the same with our General Elections when the country goes to the Polling Stations and elects a local representative to appear for them in Parliament - it doesn't matter who you voted for, at the end of the day.
All that matters is the outcome of the vote of the people who are eligible to vote at the time of the Election. If you voted Conservative, you don't have a right to say that you demand a Conservative representative if a Labour one gets in - simply because we live in a limited Democracy and the majority of people in any given vote are what matters to decide on an issue.
The same is true of the Brexit vote. If I voted to leave then I can't expect to do so if the majority have voted to remain - if I voted remain, I can't be aggrieved if the majority have voted to leave and the decision has been made.
I might complain that I think the wrong decision has been made but the majority vote counts and I have to get on with it - the same as I'm forced to deal with my local representative where I live should I have an issue that I need dealing with, even if I didn't vote for them and, even, if I can't stand the person.
The people decided who must represent me, the people have decided what the nation is to do with regard to the EU.
So, having laid that down, let me move on to something that would appear - at first glance - to be totally unrelated.
After very many years of wanting to travel to Berlin and to see the Ishtar Gate in the Pergamon Museum, my wife and I finally managed to organise a trip there.
We visited the exhibit on our first full day in the capital (after two days of travelling by train) and spent the rest of the time looking at other 'places of interest' that saw us behave like normal tourists, devoid of any real understanding of what makes German Society tick.
However, on the Sunday and Monday, we had two days that became the most important of them all. On the first we visited Brandenburger Tor, one of the places where German residents congregated when the Berlin Wall was breached on 8 November 1989 amid amazing scenes of celebrations.
That afternoon, we had been granted a free tour of the Reichstag - the German Parliament - and were extremely privileged to be taken round and shown how it's been restored, while it was explained to us the history of the place and the current set up of their meetings.
On the Monday, the wife decided that we should visit the Deutsches Historisches (German History) Museum and we wandered round exhibits explaining about the time from about 1000AD when the 'First Reich' existed and was then considered to be the Holy Roman Empire of the Germans right through to unification by way of the 'Second Reich', the Weimar Republic, Nazism, the two World Wars and the re-emergence of Germany as a united nation.
It seemed to me that I still didn't have a clue about the forces that had driven the nation into the acceptance of a regime that has come to be regarded as probably the worst of modern times (although whether it was or not, would take a lot of research and cross-comparisons with other nations in the past two hundred years).
I read a small book ('Nazi Germany - A Very Short Introduction' by Jane Caplan) that I picked up at the Deutsches Historisches Museum on the way home on the train (although the wife kept reminding me that the emblazoned title on the front cover was probably best covered up until we arrived across the border in Belgium!) and was thoroughly engrossed in the progression of what had taken place.
Although the book was magnificently detailed for something so short, it left me with the feeling that I'd missed something along the way - that there was a fundamental principal at work that either the author had dealt with too subtly or else I'd completely missed.
For this reason, when I got home I researched into a getting a book that might be detailed enough to deal with the national progression of why Nazism came to prominence but which was simple enough for me to understand.
I finally settled on 'The Coming Of The Third Reich' by Richard J Evans.
The author starts way back in the mid-1850s and deals with concise subjects in short chapters to show how the Society was thinking and moving towards the establishing of the Nazi Regime in 1933. Perhaps the book isn't for you but, if you do decide you want to read such a history, then this book is very, very good.
What the author brings together in successive chapters is very readable - and yet also disturbing. It's so easy to read the pages and be taken through the progression without stopping to ask yourself 'why?' because, although where the nation arrived was by no means inevitable, there are facts, situations and incidents that come thick and fast that cause the reader to think that these are the reasons why it all happened.
But they're not.
As far as I could see, time and time again, the reason why the nation progressed from one bad position to another was that they refused to accept responsibility for their own actions.
As a 'christian' nation this is all the more surprising seeing as the 'church goers' should have been made to account for personal responsibility in their own lives - but it appears the entire nation was on holiday when that message was being preached from the pulpit.
In fact, as David Pawson once said, the main culpability of the German Nation towards the world was, in his opinion, its Liberal Theology which began in the early 19th Century. It would, perhaps, be too easy to lay blame at that particular door but it's something that would need a lot of study to see how these beliefs began to incorporate themselves into German Society as Liberalism was being brought together.
Perhaps, even, Liberal Theology only came about as a result of the mindset of that Society?
Whatever actually happened, time and again the slide into dictatorial control could have been prevented had the nation stood up and declared that they were responsible for their actions and that what they were experiencing was the result of the choices they'd made and not the fault of anyone else.
Let me give you one example.
When Germany went to war in 1914, the nation largely approved of it. It served the national ideal and vision of a supremacist nation. Their large-scale plans for the nations that were soon to come under their control and dominance were horrific - and, yet, when the Treaty Of Versailles was imposed upon them as a result of their surrender, the conditions were much more lenient than those they had planned for the subjects of their conquest - even if they were burdensome, they weren't as harsh as what they had planned for the nations they were trying to subdue.
Yet, were the Germans penitent over their actions? No, not one bit of it. They blamed being 'betrayed' for their defeat, that they would have won had not their enemies conspired against them to undermine their inevitable victory in Europe.
Not once did the leadership following 1918 sit down and try to bring the nation to their senses that what they were experiencing was only what they'd brought upon themselves. Of course, I'm relying on Richard J Evans' extensive research for my statements here and other scholars may be able to cite examples where this did take place. But, from the evidence presented, such an action would have had the promoter killed.
Instead, they looked for a scapegoat and found many different groups and subjects in their nation that were responsible. One of them, of course, was their accusation that the Jewish people had betrayed them (but note here that Hitler's/the Nazi's/the Nazi Party's/the German Nation's persecution fell on far more than just the Jews) but, in truth, a failure to accept personal responsibility went back into the nineteenth century.
Even the intermittent denunciation of the Jews took place years prior to the outset of the First World War. What Nazism is seen as 'bringing in' was a more extreme version of what was prevalent and believed in many areas of the Society.
It was this foundational flaw of a refusal to accept personal and national responsibility that caused just about everything that was to happen in the twentieth century.
Yes, they had hyper-inflation, they had poverty - in fact they had so many successive problems that living there seems like it was a continual hell. But, instead of saying that their actions in making others poor in the War had to be restituted and so be penitent about it, they turned their attentions to attack anyone they could accuse with responsibility.
This looks to me to be the real problem in Germany of the time. I must note here that, from what I've read of the post-WW2 years, Germany never appears to have fully repented of its responsibility for the Nazi Regime or of WW2. But, whatever the precise position of that nation today is not the reason for this short article. It's been written only to highlight what I see as the underlying problem in the UK as we approach a possible Brexit.
We in the West have such a terrible blame culture that we don't like taking personal responsibility for our own actions. We hear so many people announce that 'Johnny made me do it' or 'I had to steal because I had no choice'.
Frighteningly, we are far too quick at trying to throw responsibility on others rather than to assess a situation accurately and take personal responsibility for our actions. As Germany was to find out as Nazism rose up, a failure to accept the consequences of one's actions can be exploited by leaders for their own ends and you have a soil rich in which to grow persecution, whether on a localised or individual level or nationally.
When the Brexit Referendum was going ahead, I warned the people I knew - those who were wanting to talk about the vote - that leaving the EU would mean the UK would inevitably be faced with short-term financial problems but that the long-term future was undecided and could go either way.
I said the same thing about staying with the EU except that it seemed obvious that short-term prosperity was assured - just that where it went in the long-term was unknown.
I never tried to persuade people to vote one way or the other - I just tried to make them realise that there were consequences for their actions and that they had to make their own personal decision as to which option they would vote for.
If the UK does eventually leave the EU, then, I'm pretty sure that there will be short-term financial problems - whether it's in the supply of medicines or foods, inflation rising higher than desirable or other such occurrences.
Faced with financial difficulty - just like Germany was - the danger for this great nation is to turn round and blame any section of Society as being the people responsible for the downturn in the nation's fortunes.
Nazism (as did many in the German nation years before they came to power) blamed the Jews, the gypsies, the 'non-Germans' (the immigrants, non-German speakers and so on), the non-workers and even the infirm for the consequences of the nation's actions and as needing to be removed in order that the nation might have a better future.
But any nation is one people, it isn't fragmented. One nation elects a Parliament, one nation elects a President of the United States and that same nation is responsible collectively for the democratic decisions made by that nation.
If we do enter a time of financial downturn, as a nation the UK must take responsibility for its Democratic decision to leave and not start to look round for scapegoats and others that they wish to deem responsible.
As one nation, we must decide that we take the responsibility upon ourselves for the way we voted and get on with the consequences of where we find ourselves.
If we try to apportion any blame - both as a once off and as a continuance - we will simply slide into a state that will ultimately destroy ourselves over successive years and with each passing decision that we make.