What are Europeans Thinking about Britain?

  • 0
  • 14 December 2018

Something that the British deserve some credit for is their lack of care for how other countries perceive them. Rarely does it tickle our curiosity and we are unapologetic about it. If it did bother us, the tourist hotspots of Marbella, Benidorm, Zante, Napa and the like would be unrecognisable today. Historically speaking, few Britons also want reminding of slavery or atrocities in the colonies.

This is down to both an unabashed pride and some guilt. Much deeper than this, the Anglo-Saxon mentality still possesses the Protestant exceptionalism that led to the rise of our polite society and class structure. That is to say, Britons believe (whether they admit it or not) that they are morally superior to other nations. Do not be fooled, Brexit is as much an identity crisis as it is about trade, sovereignty or even freedom of movement.

I am a Briton who has lived in France, Spain and Russia. I have visited twenty-two European countries in total. My mother lives in Spain and my father lived and worked in Finland, Poland and Brussels – the heart of the European Union. I highlight these facts because this piece is a very personal view, though one which has been reinforced many times. Certainly, a flick through any French, Spanish, German or even Russian publication will echo the thoughts I am about to share.

Before Brexit, most Europeans had a benign view of Britons. They were stand-offish and reserved. Sensible, yet preoccupied with rather odd things – two separate taps and black pudding anyone? Europeans viewed the British as pragmatic and open to the world, yet sometimes a little frosty. Seemingly mild mannered and moderate, it created a sense that things at least ran smoothly on that little island.

Now, Europeans ask whether we are deranged. ‘What the hell is going on?’ and ‘what the hell where you thinking?’ are common questions. I am not misleading the Brexiteer reader when I say no European wants the EU to punish Britain. Instead, many are at a loss as to how we cannot see what is unfolding in front of our own eyes.

The situation is [rightly] perceived as chaotic. When Britain did not sign up to the Treaty of Rome 1957, one French diplomat remarked that Britain thought it ‘could stay the same without having to change’. With this in mind, I urge the reader to revisit Theresa May’s Florence and Lancaster House speeches. As The Economist recently remarked, our government once viewed as so professional by Europeans – many of whom lived under fascism and communism – is witnessing amateur hour. British politicians come across as weak, clueless and incompetent.

Brexit revealed long-standing problems within our politics and society. As cities became overpopulated with coffee shop workers trying to sell film scripts, a self-serving elite lacking expertise came to over represent the rest of Britain it had little interest in serving. As the rest of the continent has tried to move on, Britain remains headstrong.

Britons possess a misplaced pride over Europe. That as it became entrenched in revolution, nationalism, communism and fascism, we on our little island avoided that mess. Europe, on the other hand, remembers how we were constantly involved in all of those things. A good place to end, the answer is that Europeans think of Britons as Europeans. Few of them understand why we would turn our backs and ignore the reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Researchers from Six Countries Discussed the Challenges for International Psychological Security in the Context of the Use of Artificial Intelligence

  • 0
  • 23 November 2020

On 12 November 2020, a panel discussion "Artificial Intelligence and International Psychological Security: Theoretical and Practical Implications" was held at St. Petersburg State University as part of the international conference "Strategic Communications in Business and Politics" (STRATCOM-2020).

The discussion was moderated by Konstantin Pantserev – DSc in Political Sciences, Professor of the St. Petersburg State University,

citește mai mult


  • 0
  • 2 July 2020


This book  , edited by Evgeny Pashentsev, brings together a series of chapters written by Russian and non-Russian scholars

citește mai mult

The Past and Contemporary Russia

  • 0
  • 18 June 2020

The breakaway region of South Ossetia announced in May that its capital, Tskhinvali, would also be known as Stalinir.  Co-naming the capital after the former Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, its president – Anatolii Bibilov – stated in his decree that the move was to 'preserve historical memory in connection with the 75th anniversary of  Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945'  – until it had

citește mai mult

Azebaijan, cheia geostrategică a Asiei Centrale

  • 0
  • 13 February 2018

După destrămarea URSS, Azerbaijanul a fost statul ex-sovietic care alături de    republicile Baltice a avut o dezvoltare constantă și durabilă. Desigur, aici pot fi adresate unele critici regimului de la Baku cu privire la democrație, care în opinia multor analiști este doar mimată la Baku. Însă faptul adevărat este că acest stat a reușit să își gestioneze eficient resursele de care dispune pentru a deveni o societate prosperă. I se atribuie Azerbaijanului etichet

citește mai mult

What Can Democrats Learn From Alabama’s Doug Jones?

  • 0
  • 30 November 2017

In ordinary circumstances, Doug Jones would already be preparing to move to Washington DC. The former prosecutor famous for convicting KKK members for a church bombing is up against gay bashing, God and gun lovin’, twice kicked out of elected office, Judge Roy Moore. A man who has eight accusers of sexual assault, all of whom were underage at the time of the allegations.

Yet, if one looks at all the recent polls, they show a ti

citește mai mult

Azerbaidjanul, petrolul și românii

  • 0
  • 7 October 2016

Întotdeauna, statele sunt nevoite să își apere poziția pe marea tablă a geopoliticii, uitându-se cu grijă la vecini, dar și la puterile regionale. Această regulă presupune nu doar poziția ofensivă, ci și valorificare atuurilor, astfel încât să devină piese care contează pe „câmpul de analiză”, iar nu elemente neglijabile, care sunt măturate dintr-o dată de cei ce au suficientă putere să mânuiască piesele.

Caucazul, ca regiune geopolitică, nu face nici ea excepție

citește mai mult

Senate Races to Watch in the 2022 Midterms

  • 0
  • 30 July 2021

An oddity for the party of power, Democrats are favoured to keep the Senate in next year’s mid-terms.

With a 50-50 Senate the Democrats have a favourable map coupled with numerous Republican retirements (open seats are traditionally harder to defend). Recent analysis by Alan L. Abramowitz also showed that to stand a ‘good chance’ of keeping control of the Senate Democrats would only need to maintain single digit lead on the gene

citește mai mult

What Happened to the BRICS?

  • 0
  • 18 June 2021

It was 2012 and I remember what my supervisor told me well: BRICS are the future, and this is where the research (and) money will be going. In my American history class a few months earlier, the lecturer told us: BRICS will define the twenty-first century.

[B]razil, [R]ussia, [I]ndia, [C]hina and [S]outh Africa were the talk of Wall Street for a decade. Just days after 9/11, Goldman Sachs’ Jim O’Neil coined the term in a paper c

citește mai mult

British Labour’s Russia Problem

  • 0
  • 23 April 2021

The British Labour Party were never short of ‘Russia problems’ in the twentieth century. Its first government was brought down by the fraudulent Zinoviev telegram whereas its second, and most successful, helped start the Cold War. But in 2017, Jeremy Corbyn was accused of apologising for Vladimir Putin.

Following the Skripal poisoning, Corbyn called for ‘absolute evidence of guilt’ from the Russian state rather than an outright

citește mai mult