Monday, 31 March 2014

Being Hard on Britain's "Soft Power".

Here we go again. More on how Britain must advance its 'soft power' role. Indra Adnan writes this in the Guardian today( Soft power: Britain is losing its grip on this key asset ? )
Britain is weakening rather than bolstering its soft power institutions. Twenty-five countries have launched English-speaking world-affairs news outlets: we have cut funding to the BBC World Service, closing 22 bureaus (including the Ukraine) since 2011.Instead of harnessing institutions such as these, which reliably attract goodwill and trust, David Cameron has placed a commerce-oriented advertising campaign proclaiming "Britain is great" at the heart of its operations at No 10

Perhaps, it might be better to get a grasp on reality and realise that Britain isn't actually at all that great. It is valued by immigrants only as a fast track cash machine as opposed to some wonderful land of opportunity as it was re-presented under the Blair regime with "Cool Britannia" and all that mind numbing upbeat boosterism.

Reality is more important than mere image and enough people know enough now to know Britain is actually increasingly a worse place to live in relative to other nations than at any time in modern history. Outside London's globalised super economy there is nothing much to impress any more.

Town centres are either full of tawdry clone stores of half the shops boarded up.There is no sense of living in a community and hence the repeated incantation of the word "community" as a buzzword and copious drivel about a 'society fundamentally at ease with itself'.

London itself is only a city that attracts either the super rich, oil sheihks and kleptocrats or else the huddled masses from poorer nations to work in its low wage service sector jobs. The reality is one of cut throat competition and fear between groups of immigrants who economically undercut one another.

The reality is is a fragmented United Kingdom on the cusp of disintegration. Britain's foreign policy is a disgrace, an entirely self serving one of grovelling to states such as Qatar so that we can get its gas and its petrodollars can be invested in British made military hardware and London's property market.

The property market alone seems to drive the economy .Belief and trust in decayed institutions has waned and dwindled as the sovereign consumer works harder and harder to merit the right to own a banal legostyle brick box and spend on goods that help stave off despair and loneliness.

People living in Britain are increasingly miserable, liable to divorce, binge drinking and drug taking because they have no other form of overcoming their atomised status. This is known by those in Britain and those who come to witness the place from outside and are shocked to see whole swathes of British cities where few even speak English

It is just as well money is not being spent on 'soft power' because it is the hard realities that are those that now have meaning within and beyond Britain's shores. As it has become a global entrepot, it has also become a centre for global terror plots and plans so that foreign and domestic policies merge.

The consequence is an increasingly authoritarian security state monitoring its citizens because of the brutal power games the British government is playing in regions where there is oil and gas at stake. Naturally, these realities are seldom explicitly mentioned but outsiders realise Britain's essentially cynical global role.

No amount of investment in spin and soft corporate propaganda is going to be able to acheive anything other than create a hallucinatory view of Britain as an kleptocrat investor's paradise of prestige property and sports amenities, one that's a vision of a future dystopian hell for those who view and see the reality from below.

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