“Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role. The attempt to play a separate power role — that is, a role apart from Europe, a role based on a ‘special relationship’ with the United States, a role based on being head of a ‘commonwealth’ which has no political structure, or unity, or strength — this role is about played out. Great Britain, attempting to be a broker between the United States and Russia, has seemed to conduct policy as weak as its military power.” Dean Acheson
Dean Acheson said this 54 years ago – December 1962. Just note how many of the truisms are still in play today. Those who so carelessly pushed us towards the rapids of Brexit argue that the UK can play a “separate power role”. If we couldn’t in 1962 (we couldn’t) we certainly can’t in 2016! These folk also offer the Commonwealth as some sort of alternative to Europe. It had no “political structure or unity or strength” in 1962 and it has even less now. If we had no “role apart from Europe” in 1962 – before we were even in the Common Market – how much more is that true today!
The “Special Relationship” was “played out” in 1962 – 54 years on it is just a nostalgic memory of the wartime years when there was, for the last time and by necessity, something special between our Prime Minister and the President.
And the UK as an honest broker between Trump’s America and Putin’s Russia? In my view Europe can and should play such a role. And probably will. But the UK on its own? Preposterous.
It is not unpatriotic to point to the reality that whilst we were edging our way to a post-Imperial role as members of the European Union once these ties are broken there will be nothing left. Trump and Putin will take Angela Merkel’s calls. But “Theresa Who” will make no impact at all. At best the UK will be a theme park with some nice buildings and pleasant scenery. An Old People’s Home in which matron will occasionally clear up after we struggle with a meal. And a curiosity for sociologists as we increasingly resemble a Brazilian lost tribe.
What would I do if I was 25? Get the hell out as soon as possible.