Letter: 'Great' Britain Is Political Rhetoric

The Birmingham Post (England), February 27, 2002 | Go to article overview

Letter: 'Great' Britain Is Political Rhetoric


Byline: WILLIAM G HAYMES

Sir, - In his classic A History of Europe, J M Roberts writes of a political illusion in Britain, spanning the 1960s, of our 'success' in economics and foreign policy. It was an illusion spread especially by politicians themselves.

Has anything really changed? Further decline in manufacture and the accompanying collapse of care jobs replaced in the statistics by part-time and homeworking, loss of world market share, low levels of investment and ever-widening divisions of income make the boast that we are a 'major, economic power' idle, macho nonsense.

Rather, such rhetoric polishes an illusion - one fed and nourished by a vast coterie of spin doctors and gurus - which seeks to boost and deceive through a 'feel-good' factor aspects of a British success story which people know in their hearts are false but are largely denied by weak opposition from understanding why. Mr Blair's recent tour of Africa, which looks to most African leaders like a grandiloquent renewal of colonialism, is again Britain's new presidency deceiving itself that we remain a major world player when we are, in fact, a minor one the USA befriends when it is timely. …

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