Once upon a time a plucky tiny island off the coast of Europe had the vision, courage and skills to rule the whole world! We showed our spirit! We showed what British people were made of! We can do that again! Remember Trafalgar! Remember Waterloo! Remember the spirit of Dunkirk and the Blitz! We can be great again!
The reality was quite different. A wealthy aristocratic elite in England (not Britain) were put through schooling that inculcated an inbuilt feeling of superiority and arrogance. The sons of Harrow and Eton were schooled to believe they had a right to wealth and power. (Wellington said that Waterloo was won on the sports fields of Eton and Harrow). They took their arrogance and sense of entitlement home and abroad. They assumed the right to live in luxury with servants and mansions and assumed that the rest of the population were not worthy. It was perfectly acceptable for the workers to live in slums and poverty to be exploited. They took their arrogance abroad and sold it to the soldiers under the racist label – you should know your place as cannon fodder but at least you are all better than these foreigners. So the wealth of Britain and the world was siphoned off into the coffers of the wealthy. The country became incredibly wealthy but the hoi polloi knew their place and lived in poverty. They did not benefit from that wealth.
Now, in this present day, we are a small island off the coast of Europe who have been sold a fairy tale fiction. We will never rule the world again. Times have changed. I doubt anybody will. It isn’t about nations any more. It is about trading blocs and international law.
Harking back to a golden age that never was is daft. Back in the 1940s and 1950s Britain was a nasty place. There was abject poverty, a hierarchical society of social class, endemic racism (no Irish no blacks) and ordinary people being exploited horribly. I certainly don’t feel nostalgic for the crap food, outside loos, slum houses, smog and pollution and snobby middle class!
Forward to the Future!! It’s Global!!! One Planet!! One People!!