On the occasion of Remembrance Sunday, it’s a sad irony that talking down this great country has become a national pastime, says Mark Dolan
Britain is now an independent sovereign nation with a smart, coherent and dedicated new prime minister, who will deliver some tough love on the economy and fix the roof for the stormy weather ahead
On the occasion of Remembrance Sunday, it’s a sad irony that talking down this great country has become a national pastime, perpetuated by a media that seems keen only to peddle negative stories about Britain. Take a look at this front page from the Economist magazine, with an image of our then Prime Minister Liz Truss and her Chancellor in a sinking boat, signifying the UK.
This is the same self-loathing British media that labelled Britain plague island in the early stages of the pandemic, when we suffered the Kent variant, until the virus travelled to the continent, but the image stuck. Britain has been characterised as having had a bad pandemic, even though the per capita death rate is compatible with all of our European neighbours. And now they're trying to characterise Britain as an economic basket case, the sick man of Europe, except that inflation is higher across much of the Eurozone, the national debt is higher in countries like Italy and France, and Germany looks set to have one of the deepest recession is in the world next year, with Deutsche bank predicting a contraction of 3 or 4%. How ironic therefore that the Germans should decide to indulge in a bit of Britain bashing themselves, with this front-page story in the bestselling German magazine der Speigel.
“How Britain became the laughing stock of Europe”.
Is this the same Germany that famously lost control of the pandemic at the end of 2020, as admitted by the then Chancellor Angela Merkel, the most overrated politician of the last few decades? Is this the same Germany that had much stricter mask mandates with superior quality masks – FFPE and N95, which didn’t make a blind bit of difference to the spread of the virus? Is this the same Germany that has failed to modernise its economy and is now over reliant on heavy industry which, given how cheaply things on are produced in the Far East is a shrinking business model. Is this the same Germany with more unemployment and homelessness than the UK? And we are the basket case are we? And that's before you get to energy. Having spent upwards of €200 billion on flaky renewables over a decade, Germany faces a winter fuel crisis and are continuing to enrich Vladimir Putin with their purchase of Russian oil and gas. Germany has been Russia's biggest customer for years, and have therefore bankrolled his deadly war machine. But we are the ones that should feel bad, are we? Because we were so naughty leaving the European Union and decided to be sovereign. Germany is a beautiful and mightily impressive country. The people are brilliant and what about that beer. I have much-loved relatives there and it is an economic and industrial powerhouse, but it is in decline, partly because of the mediocre political efforts of Angela Merkel and partly because of the grip of the green lobby on German politics, which saw the disastrous and bizarre decision to cancel all nuclear projects in 2011. Angela Merkel, reliant on support from the Green party proudly announced they were ditching nuclear and the rest is history. Not that they weren't warned about this. The then President Donald Trump warned a German delegation that they were over reliant on Russian gas, proving himself to be something of a political Nostradamus. Their reaction? They just laughed.
I've heard lots of commentators in the last few months say Britain is a laughing stock, but having led Europe out of Covid restrictions and delivered a world-class vaccine rollout, and with the nimble footed economic independence that comes with Brexit, I'm certain we will prove the doubters wrong. Britain is now an independent sovereign nation with a smart, coherent and dedicated new prime minister, who will deliver some tough love on the economy and fix the roof for the stormy weather ahead. Inflation has likely peaked, energy crisis prices are tumbling and that mini budget on the 17th of November ought to reassure the Bank of England they don't need to crank up interest rates by much more than they already have. Rudyard Kipling famously said if you can keep your head while those around you are losing theirs. I believe the fundamentals of the British economy are such, that we will not just survive this coming storm but that we will prevail over it. We are a diverse, creative, dynamic and talented workforce. We don't have any dogma about how things are done here, compared to the stultifying bureaucracy of France, Italy or Germany. We have a free-spirited free market economy, which is entrepreneurial and risk taking, with particular expertise in the creative industries, financial services and manufacturing. We make loads here, including all of the Nissans from the Sunderland factory, which is the most productive car plant in Europe. So the desire to label this country as a once global force in decline is strong both at home and overseas, but I'm not having it. My parents are Irish and came over in the 1960s, so perhaps I have the patriotic zeal of an immigrant. But I believe in this country and it’s my view its best days lie ahead. Those here and abroad so keen to see us fail, fuelled by a frankly irrational hatred of Brexit, claim to be laughing at us now. But we will wipe the smile off their face. We don't need to make Britain great again, it already is. Anyone brave enough to write us off, is bananas.