We seem to have The Muppets running the show in Britain at the moment. Boris Johnson and his shiny, new, yet equally incompetent, Cabinet are the “Muppets” in question. Many of us will have known this for some time, however, it has never appeared to seem so clear.
Whilst speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, Boris Johnson, our Prime Minister, our representative on the world stage, chose to quote not previous great leaders, not great scientists nor great philosophers.
In front of representatives from 193 countries at possibly the most prestigious gathering of world leaders we have, Mr. Johnson chose to quote Kermit the Frog. ‘It’s not easy being green’ was the phrase the prime minister chose to base his speech about climate change, one of the most important challenges we will face in this century, on.
When international leadership is needed most, and when Britain would have otherwise been at the forefront, our international stature and our ability to offer leadership is in tatters.
The ruination of Britain’s role in the world is a trend that has persistently developed under Boris Johnson and that is purely because of his, his government’s and his party’s actions regarding the UK’s foreign agenda.
Breaking international law, cutting aid & abandoning Afghan staff
On the 29 September 2020, a date which may well have been forgotten, the Conservatives passed the UK Internal Markets Act, a bill which was famed for having the ability to break international law. This is a crystal-clear example of the degradation of Britain’s role in the world, and it has only gone downhill from there.
This government has cut our international aid budget from 0.7% to a mere 0.5% of GDP. The 0.7% was in any case a small amount, whilst 0.5% must seem like an insult to all those nations that we, that the Tories, had previously promised to help.
When international leadership was needed regarding Afghanistan, the Tory foreign secretary was on holiday. Examples such as these, though not directly comparable, remain a demonstration of our international weakness caused by this government.
And as for trade …
We now hear that a free trade deal with the US, once our closest ally, is no longer imminent. When Johnson met the President, Biden said ‘we’re going to talk a little bit about trade today’ and that ‘we’re going to have to work that through’. Joe Biden also chose not to contradict Obama’s statement that the UK would be at ‘the back of the queue’ for a post-Brexit trade deal.
Once again, we are reminded that, as a result of Johnson and the Conservatives actions, Britain is no longer an important voice in the world and that with every day, week, month and year that he remains in office, our international power and prestige are declining.
Where will this end?
Our decline will have especially damaging implications for the future. The further Britain slides, the further future generations, my generation included, will have to pick Britain up. And our slide is showing no signs of letting up soon.
With the Tories still at roughly 40% in polls, it doesn’t appear that we in Britain will be facing a change of leadership any time soon, whilst in America, their potential next leader, Kamala Harris, is also reported to be anti-Boris and therefore, presumably, by extension, anti-Boris’ cronies in government.
Our relationship with Europe also appears to continue to degrade, both on a super-national, regarding the EU, and national basis, regarding France, following the announcement of the new AUKUS military pact. France’s foreign minister has already labelled this movement as being ‘a stab in the back’.
At every turn, Johnson and his government have failed on their promise of ‘Global Britain’. Britain’s place in the world is diminishing rapidly as a result of the Muppets we have in charge.
Opportunities to improve?
Things can be different, though, and our international prestige can be restored. We have a brilliant opportunity as chair of the G7 and as a member of the UN Security Council to re-build our reputation. Obviously, no longer being a member of the EU, and therefore a leader in Europe, is a blow to the progress that can be made, but we can make progress none the less.
We can use the positions we hold to make real, lasting progress on climate change, rather than quoting Kermit the Frog or describing climate activists as ‘bunny huggers’. We can make the major economies of the world more equal and prosperous, without having to resort to labelling this as approach as simply being ‘more feminine’.
We can lead and help those nations less fortunate than ourselves to develop into emerging powers, so long as we don’t make promises that we then disregard. ‘Global Britain’ can be a reality, rather than just a meaningless slogan.
We just need to get the Muppets out first.