Global Britain is brilliantly placed to seize the opportunities of Brexit

Global Britain is brilliantly placed to seize the opportunities of Brexit

After the referendum on 23rd June 2016, opinion seemed to divide. One the one hand, some people – generally those supportive of “Remain” – felt that the sky was falling in. They argued that the United Kingdom was making a profound strategic mistake and that it would suffer – economically, above all else – for doing so. On the other side were those who felt that their country had laid down a marker, that it was time to break with the past and seek a new destiny.

It may not have been entirely clear what that destiny entailed, but a majority of British people wanted to take back control: of their laws, their money and their lives. It is also fair to say that they anticipated that the government would lead in providing a bold new vision for Britain in the wider world. As the former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, recently argued in the Daily Telegraph, the opportunity still exists for

taking the referendum and using it as an opportunity to rediscover some of the dynamism of the… bearded Victorians; not to build a new empire, heaven forfend, but to use every ounce of Britain’s power, hard and soft, to go back out into the world in a way that we had perhaps forgotten over the past 45 years: to find friends, to open markets, to promote our culture and our values.

Over the past year, the Global Britain Programme at the Henry Jackson Society has tried to reveal what makes the United Kingdom a great nation and a global power. Over the past few months we have put together a series of videos looking at the possibilities that could be realised if the nation came together to seize the opportunities of the twenty-first century.

Our first video reveals that Britain is richly endowed with national capabilities, that – if harnessed – would provide the means for the creation and realisation of a powerful new vision of the country’s place in the world.

With clearer vision as to where the country should be heading, the gloomy years following the financial crisis of the late 2000s could give way to a new and bold Britain, which is more open, outward looking and confident.

In our second video, we show why “Global Britain” – as a label for a new future – could, if properly articulated, provide a new organising principle for the country as we move into the 21st century. It would allow us to recapture our innovative character and dynamism, and escape the problematic project to integrate Europe under a common political order.

Building on this vision of “Global Britain”, in the third video, we explain the geography of British power and the country’s strategic reach into the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, regions that will define the twenty-first century. With its overseas territories, Britain is uniquely placed to be active in every one.

And finally, we explain the reasons why the United Kingdom will never leave Europe, even as it withdraws from the European Union. The reason for this is simple: Britain plays a decisive role in the defence of Europe, a position the government should be prepared to assert more vigorously in the years ahead, not least in the face of Russia’s aggressive revisionism in Eastern Europe.

So Britain is not the weak and failing nation its detractors like to depict it to be. It is one of the wealthiest and most dynamic countries in the world. It clearly does not have the means of the US – or, potentially, in the future, China – but it does have the capability to stake out a bold and independent destiny of its own. What, then, is holding us back? The time has come for “Global Britain” to surge.