In the last few days I’ve been agettin’ to wonderin’ where old England will be in 100 years time. This was prompted by a comment I heard on the radio about British politicians being somewhat inflated in the apparent influence that Britain still has in the world, and, when faced with an opportunity to be realistic, don’t “fess-up” to the reality of the modern world.
Two hundred years ago Britain stood on the cusp of the industrial revolution in a feudal world. The power and influence that that opportunity wielded is catalogued in a myriad of history books written with a kaleidoscope of opinion and, sometimes, self-righteousness.
But times have changed, as they always will. We live in a world where technology generally, rules, and, as a consequence, the field is opened up. Yes, we drove steam, building, ore and riches. Played our part in a violent and divisive century. Thus, as Jeremy Paxman said, “ How did such a small island get such a big head ?”
It is time for a reality check on the self-importance of British politicians. Time to burst the pious bubble and indeed, call time on the pretence that the world gives a shit what Cameron, Blair, Brown et al, think.
Firstly, the “special relationship”. Who are you kidding, Mr. Politico? Answer: yourselves. The US can and does get along quite happily without the fawning arse-licking of British politicians, and the longer this self-delusion goes on, the more facile this trite expression becomes.
Secondly, Europe. We opted to sit on the sidelines and there is an endless debate about our role in Europe. Fact is, now, when the chips are down and we’re desperate to save our huge export market, our influence is next to negligible. Cameron meets Merkel – result; nothing happens. (Except, of course, for the veto incident. But what did that achieve to carry us forward?)
Thirdly, Syria. There has been nothing so dispiriting than to see and hear William Hague condemn and bluster with horror and call for this and that knowing that his influence is exactly zero. (The US are out of step too. They won’t play if Iran is involved. So, you don’t want to talk to the guys who are involved then, huh? Bright. )
So, in a hundred years time where do I see this faded kernel of a once influential empire with it’s chequered past wrapped up in it’s metaphorical knotted handkerchief hanging from a whittling stick?
- No UK union. If not now then later, Scotland will cede from the Union.
- England and Wales will be in a United Federation of European States with the same rankings as, say, Scandinavian countries. The UFES will have one currency.
- “Special Relationship” will refer to some once quasi-sexual liaison between the heads of Britain and the US. Historians will peer over records of secret liaisons in Oval Orifices.
What I really want for the UK is for our leaders to shake off the chains of some dreamy past when we believed that we ruled the world and to forge a new open society not based upon division. It can be acheived in a hundred years – 2 generations. One to start the ball rolling the second to keep it going. There are elements of some societies in the world that we admire and appreciate. We should emulate and develop – and ditch the dusty stuff that doesn’t hold back those societies that are leading the way. But that’s another post sometime….