Trashing Your Reputation – 4 January 2024


Amidst the travails of a beleaguered Scottish Government, the United Kingdom’s weakness and dysfunctionality shouldn’t be forgotten. Britain’s gotten poorer, Scotland’s been forgotten, despite the Vow from 2014, and the UKs international reputation goes from bad to worse. Unionist boasts of “Britain; a force for good” echo pathetically as the country becomes not just more isolated but despised.

It wasn’t just arch Brexiteers intent on sailing off to a New Empire status far away from Old Europe. But more moderate and rational unionists who also argued that remaining in the Union would see Scotland prosper more than being isolated as an independent nation. More importantly, they vociferously proclaimed the UK could and would play a positive role in the modern world. Not the old empire but a New Golden Age of British Diplomacy was to dawn.

But how’s that working out? Most of them have been muted and no longer trumpet the rhetoric of even a force for good. But it’s the rest of us left to live with the consequences of British foreign policy.

Way beyond the economic self-harm of Brexit there’s the contempt Europe now the UK in. Leaving the EU was always going to create a fissure but the manner in which it has done has caused far wider and deeper damage. Germany and France were always going to be aggrieved but it’s the loss not just of leadership but warmth and respect in other lands that’s more damaging. Those nations used to look to the UK within the EU not simply as a bulwark against Franco-German hegemony but were enthralled by “Cool Britannia”. London was the unofficial capital of Europe and the place to be.

But no more. Trashing hard working folk, belittling their lands and unconstrained arrogance has seen all that lost. Now it’s a sullen contempt akin to how Brits see the USA. Don’t be fooled by a love for the English Premiership anymore than British admiration for Hollywood. Attitudes have changed for the worse.

But now it’s gone far beyond Europe. New trade deals have been achieved but rather than meeting welcoming arms the UK’s been scorned and skewered. Desperation for any deal no matter how bad seeing UK farmers sold out to the Antipodes. Other nations haven’t forgotten the sins of the old empire and the latent arrogance of the new. Whether Indian or Malaysia there’s been pleasure in turning the screw on the old colonial master and they have with glee. 

Bringing back David Cameron’s a sign of desperation. It’s the policies not the individual. Gaza has further exposed Britain’s growing isolation. Latching on to the US’s coattails, the big boy in the playgrounds best friend, even if it’s not reciprocated.

Europe’s contempt for New Britain’s now matched in developing countries. Strutting around the globe demanding support for Ukraine and condemning Russia. Back then these lands were querulous given Iraq. But it’s now been shown to be hypocrisy as the horrors of Bakhmut or Mariupol are surpassed by Israels actions. No wonder they see racism in the new empire, as in the old. If you’re not white or Christian, you’re of less importance.

It won’t change under Labour.  Oh, to have Irish economic links and the ability to call out atrocities by whoever. The SNP’s failing, but so’s the UK.