ConservativeHome, June 20 2022, Professor Robert Tombs
Throughout the United Kingdom’s existence, its rulers – and many foreign friends and enemies – have been convinced it was on a downward spiral.
The ‘memorable era of England’s glory is past’, thought William Pitt in the 1780s, and the Emperor of Austria agreed: Britain had ‘fallen utterly and forever, all influence and force lost … a second class power.’
We were ‘a weary Titan’, lamented Jospeh Chamberlain in 1902. Dean Acheson, the former US Secretary of State declared in 1962 that Britain had ‘lost an empire and not yet found a role.’
This litany of pessimism (and there is much more in the same vein) is always at least in the background, and indeed it often dominates discussion.
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