A sombra de um Império
Chris Riddell, «The Observer»
O editor de política da The Economist para o Reino Unido, que escreve sob o nome de Bagehot, escreveu um artigo onde mostra porque o é. No seu artigo coloca todos os temas importantes, desde o Iraque ao papel da City (o centro financeiro de Londres), que o governo britânico enfrenta e mostra que estes são a parte obscura do legado de um Império há muito desaparecido mas que de certa forma continua a existir e a procurar o seu papel no mundo de hoje:
IN A London conference centre, spooks and diplomats unpick Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war. In Parliament, politicians argue about the right approach to home-grown Islamists. In the City, financiers worry about their exposure to a foreign-debt crisis. In the Caribbean, the queen and Gordon Brown glad-hand the Commonwealth’s presidents and prime ministers. What these disparate events have in common is that they are all, to some degree, part of the legacy of empire.
When Britons remember their dead empire, they tend to concentrate, with pride or shame, on its impact on the former colonies. The consequences for their own country are mostly thought of as so much pompous bric-a-brac and nostalgic trivia: honours and baubles with imperial names, archaic ceremonies, statues of forgotten heroes, a smattering of exotic vocabulary, curry and distressingly proficient rival cricket teams. This way of thinking about empire is mistaken. In important ways Britain is still—even, perhaps, increasingly—trapped by its imperial past.
[…] Beneath all this is the peculiar British combination of bragging and bewilderment, an air of expectations great but unmet and of unrealised specialness. It is hard to think of another country so keen to magnify its accomplishments (everything must be “the best in the world”), yet also to wallow in its failings; so deluded and yet so morbidly disappointed. Every recent prime minister has struggled to overcome this sense of thwartedness and decline, and to come up with a notion of Britishness to replace the defunct imperial version. Mr Blair tried “Cool Britannia”. It flopped. The gloom may be almost as acute now as it was in the late 1950s or 1970s. […]