Go with a smile!

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Some Thoughts on the Fall of Great Britain

Great Britain was like a startup. In the beginning, it did a few things right. After the renaissance, it was one of the few European powers who had superior organisation. Coupled with its geographical isolation, it meant that it wasn't easy for other countries (France, especially) to conquer it.

In the beginning they may or may not have had the most brilliant scientists, but they produced the industrial revolution.

They surpassed the Spanish and the Dutch and they built a great empire by being the least asshole of the asshole colonial powers. They were lucky in the way former colonies and dominions (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia) also rose up in the world and became useful allies.

They lost their way after the end of empire. In WW2 they defeated the Nazis but were themselves defeated by the Japanese. There are plenty of great achievements post war. The welfare state, which helped for a while to restore the UK to the first world. Alan Turing. Tim Berners Lee. Everest expedition, a prototype for a new multicultural Europe, the Beatles, Aardman Animations, the great British contributions to popular music, even a World Cup. But it is never a good sign that much of your achievement either rests on a great imperial past or is abetted largely by it.

Brexit is a symptom and maybe not the main problem. The main problem is that it somehow transformed itself from one of the best run welfare states to one of the worst run, then into an outright plutocracy. In many respects, Thatcher, then Blair was the beginning of the end.


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