Little Britain (The state of mind not the ghastly television programme).



At cultural diplomatic events and alike I increasingly have to explain to often astonished and dismayed dignitaries that many of the most politically vocal elements in British, middle class society wish us to withdraw from frontline internationalism. This I tell them is legitimised as the natural progression of a nation in decline from Empire.

From political circles one often hears the term ‘punching above our weight’ to describe the nature of the UK’s ability or desire to influence abroad. In my experience this is both preposterous and utterly unexpected and confusing for the vast majority of foreigners with whom I speak.

My experience is in E. Europe, and C. Asia. Most people with whom I have spoken regard us as one of the world's most powerful, wealthy and civilised nations. No a superpower but a first team player and often the most effective in the pack. We are the best regarded and best candidate to emulate. Be under no illusion, many of these often rather young nations are looking to the UK for leadership in the world and are aghast to hear of the increasing ‘Little Britain’ mentality given voice by among others the BBC.

My question to ARRSErs is to what does this mentality owe? Is it a symptom of cultural exhaustion? Is it the result of post-colonial guilt or cultural relativism and to what extent is there a generational aspect? Are the pampered and cosseted children of the 1950/60/70s, shielded from the realities of life by centralised government and the welfare state selfishly trying to absolve the UK from responsibility for emancipatory international progress even though we might be the best placed to facilitate it?
It's democracy, innit? The national character has always been rather insular and 'island ape-ish', except in previous times nobody who mattered gave a **** what the common man thought so the common man could happily go about lynching monkeys and muttering suspiciously at anything from more than 3 miles away without impeding the progress of the nation.

Unfortunately, nowadays he gets to set national policy through the process of General Elections. Well done, him.


Ahh but back then at least one could always rely upon a healthy dose of xenophobia in justification for British geostrategic primacy.

Similar threads

Latest Threads