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No, Brexit Britain doesn’t want its empire back

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Britain is moving towards an exit from the European Union on March 29, possibly with no agreement, and thus courting – according to the Bank of England – an 8 percent drop in GDP and a 7.5 percent rise in unemployment. A drear prospect, attended by matching drear commentaries on the stupidity of the 52 percent of the British electorate who voted for Brexit in 2016.

Some observers have seen the vote as evidence that imperial urges still dominate. In March 2017 Washington Post foreign affairs reporter Ishaan Tharoor wrote of Brits “harboring delusions of empire (while)…the fantasy of Britain’s past collides almost farcically against Britain’s present.” As this year began, he returned to the imperial theme, solemnly warning that, for Brits “the old colonial hubris” is omnipresent, but“along with imperial nostalgia comes a fair amount of delusion.”

It’s one of the most common fantasies presently peddled about the mindset of the UK – that it is mired, hopelessly, in a mourning of greatness gone, and a dream to regain it. The British journalist Paul Mason writes of “the self-deluded narrative that has guided the whole Brexit strategy: the idea that ‘our’ former colonies will want to form a new, white, English-speaking trading area – nicknamed Empire 2.0 – to replace the EU.” The Irish writer Fintan O’Toole, believes that the English think that if “England is not an imperial power, it must be the only other thing it can be: a colony,” seeing himself, with nostalgic shivers,........

© Japan Today