“Global Britain” is a fine idea, but it requires hard choices and re-engagement with Europe.
The transition is over and Britain is fully out of the European Union . On December 24th the sides agreed on a trade deal. It spares them the even greater upheaval of no deal at all . It is minimal, though, along the lines first signalled months ago. It largely overlooks services and marks the start of endless haggling. And, on British insistence, foreign policy and defence are ignored. Looking across the seas with an estranged continent at its back, a lonesome Britain thus face a bracing question: what role should it now play in the world.
It is a question the country has grappled with off and on for centuries, and in recent decades British thinking has often been clouded by nostalgia for lost empire and great-power status. Membership of the European club provided an answer of sorts. Britain, as Tony Blair put it, could be a “bridge” between America and Europe, with influence in both Washington and Brussels. Now it must think afresh.
这个问题，已经断断续续伴随英国几百年了。近几十年来，英国还一直沉浸在其逝去的帝国和强国梦之中。欧盟的其它成员，给出了答案。正如 Tony Blair 所说，英国凭借其在美国和欧盟的影响力，本可以成为美国和欧盟之间沟通的桥梁。现在，它必须重新思考这个问题。
One possibility would be for Britons to accept their country’s diminished status and focus on things at home—becoming a big Denmark, a decent north European place without great-power pretensions. Sure enough, in September 38% of Britons told Ipsos-mori’s pollsters that Britain should “stop pretending it is an important power in the world”; only 28% disagreed. Yet Britons should not take the benefits of influence for granted. It is to their advantage to try to sway the world in ways that suit British interests, whether on trade, climate change or democracy .
一种可能是，英国人接受自己国力衰退的事实并且专心于国内事务——成为一个大号丹麦，一个没有野心的体面北欧国家。果然，在9月份，有 38%的英国人告诉 Ipsos-mori （一个调查机构）的调查员，他们认为英国需要“停止假装自己是世界上一个重要的大国”；只有28% 的人不同意这种看法。然而，英国不应当把影响力带来的好处，视为理所应当。尝试着以符合英国利益的方式去影响世界，这对他们是有益的，无论是通过贸易、气候变化还是民主方面。
The Conservative government talks of “Global Britain”, suggesting ambitions far beyond Europe. Yet more than four years after the referendum the idea is still little more than a slogan. Witness the lack of urgency over an “Integrated Review” of foreign policy, security, defence and development due to report in autumn 2020. It is now expected early in 2021.
That is a pity. As our Briefing explains, Global Britain has a lot going for it. Membership of nato, the g7, the g20, the Commonwealth, a permanent seat on the un Security Council—all bring influence. Britain has nuclear weapons and a capable army (after America, it expects to be the biggest defence spender in nato). It also has an abundance of soft power, for example through its hefty spending on foreign aid and through its able scientists, prominent in developing vaccines and identifying treatments for covid-19. In 2021 Britain is chairing the g7 and hosting the cop26 summit on climate change, both opportunities to shine.
A: Hi sir , my name is Peter and I’m the manager here. May I ask what seems to be the problem ?
B:Where do I begin? First of all , our food took forever.
A: Oh I’m terribly sorry to hear that. I’m afraid we’re a bit short-staffed today.
B: Well , that’s no excuse for the server’s bad behavior . She needs an attitude adjustment .
A: Okey , I’ll be sure to let her know . Is there anything else that is not meeting expectations?
B: Well , I specifically asked for no mayonnaise on my burger. Look at all this mayo!
A: My deepest apologies ,sir. They are really swamped in the kitchen tonight and must have forgotten.
B:Well, to make matters worse, look what we found swimming in my wife’s soup ! A hair !
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B: Well, they shouldn’t . I’m afraid that in the future we might have to take our business elsewhere!!
A: I completely understand. As an apology , tonight’s meal is on the house.
B: That’s it?
A:And we can give you a 20% off coupon for next time , should you decide to come back.
B: Hummph . Well, I suppose that’s fine , then .