UK Has Art, Literature and, er, One Direction - Cameron

Article excerpt

Byline: Political Editor

DAVID Cameron has hit back at Russia's attack on Britain as a 'small island no one listens to' by reeling off an extravagant list of the UK's strengths and successes.

The Prime Minister, speaking at the G20 in St Petersburg, said Britain had saved Europe from fascism, been responsible for inventing 'most of the things worth inventing', the greatest art, music and literature and had the world's sixth largest economy.

He even cited pop band One Direction as an example of British dominance.

The summit descended into acrimony as Russia was accused of mocking the UK's size and influence, and boasted that Soviet oligarchs had 'bought Chelsea'. The remarks were attributed to Vladimir Putin's official spokesman.

As Downing Street called on the Russians to 'reflect' on what had been said, the Kremlin attempted to deny any such remarks had ever been uttered.

But that apparently failed to satisfy Mr Cameron, who said Britain could stand taller in the world than the former Soviet Union.

'Britain may be a small island, but I would challenge anyone to find a country with a prouder history, a bigger heart or greater resilience,' he said.

'Britain is an island that has helped to clear the European continent of fascism - and was resolute in doing that throughout World War II.

'Britain is an island that helped to abolish slavery, that has invented most of the things worth inventing, including every sport played around the world, that still today is responsible for art, literature and music that delights the entire world.

'We are very proud of everything we do as a small island - a small island that has the sixth-largest economy, the fourth best-funded military, some of the most effective diplomats, the proudest history, one of the best records for art and literature and contribution to philosophy and world civilisation.'

Warming to his theme, the Prime Minister added: 'I'm thinking of setting this to music.' He was not the only one to have the idea. His stirring defence of Britain was soon posted on Twitter set to Land Of Hope And Glory.

Mr Cameron continued: 'For the people who live in Northern Ireland, I should say we are not just an island, we are a collection of islands. I don't want anyone in Shetland or Orkney to feel left out by this.

'Something I believe very deeply is that yes, we are a small island, in fact a small group of islands - but I would challenge anyone to come up with a country with a prouder history, with a bigger heart, a greater resilience. …