Thursday, July 19, 2007

On "Open Britain"

A couple of key points (from memory)and thoughts of mine resulting from the speech the new British Foreign Minister gave at the Chatham House in July 2007:

International Relations are not conducted only by governments these days, but business and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) as well.

"Open Britain" is the goal. In the 21st century, countries with "open" social, political and other systemics (eg business and economic?) not only to organisations but people too, will do the best.

Thoughts: Open (or Global) Britain seems indeed a permanent strategy of the UK's political leaderships (it is the EU which is not). But are the citizens and the media "in agreement" (or on the same boat as the "globalists") with this strategy and ready to deal with its pros and cons? Plus is Britain "risk converse" or in other words, not afraid to undertake risks in the pursuit of "returns"?

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Some more thoughts of mine on the concept of "Open Britain" that the new Foreign Minister referred to in his speech at the Chatham House, July 19, 2007:

Britain is indeed an amalgam of "roots" (I do not wish to use other terminology).

For example, last year there was news reporting of a study of the DNA "mapping" of modern Britons that found an immense variety of DNA traces.

In spite of its island geography, compared to "continental Europe" (aka "the Continent"), Britain was a very popular "destination" of various invaders over the centuries. I personally find the history of Britain, from BC times to date, amazingly complicated and thus interesting!

From Boudicca, whose sculpture can be found on the banks of the Thames, to the legend of King Arthur to its colonial activity around the World (eg India), the impact of Winston Churchill's leadership on Britain (and the outcome of WWII), British history is very useful in understanding modern British and European as well global dynamics.

The migration of UK jobs (albeit exaggerated as a recent report finds, see relevant recent post in this blog) to native-level English speakers in India is one "small" example.

For food for thought for European Union policy makers:
Why do most intra-EU "migration"-mobility is towards Britain (I have called this dynamic "The EU "works" in Britain")?

Which football league is today more multinational (in global not just European nationalities) than the English Premier League?

Which other football (soccer) superpower has had a non-native National Coach?

Where did Eric Cantona's super talent find ground to flourish?

Britain may, indeed, often irritate EU systemics with the anti-Brussels rhetoric of many British media, political forces and citizen reactions, but that does not mean that Britain is closed to the world, on the contrary, to some extent, I think, Britain's "Euro-scepticism" is a reflection of its scepticism of some EU related "Euro-centrism".

In the past, the British stance on the EU/Europe issue has made me consider the possibility that Britain is not "open", that it has an "island mentality".

Maybe that holds for some Britons, but for most, in my view, Britain is neither better suited for a state a US of Europe (something that Sir Winston said in the aftermath of WWII, ie that Europe needs a "sort of" United State of Europe) or a potential 51st state of the USA (as some claim they would like) role.

Britain 2007+:

Modern Britain is made up of fascinating and complicated systemics and has a certain "global player" mentality, not in a traditional "colonial" type of mentality, but in a dynamic "converse to globalisation" one. A globalisation that covers much more than just economic or trade affairs.

The current Prime Minister, who appointed the new Foreign Minister to his cabinet, made a speech last year at some City related conference that has resided in my mind. He spoke of
a Britain who is not afraid to take risks.

I also still recall Tony Blair's speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg last July, at the beginning of the UK's Presidency of the EU.

Tony Blair's and Gordon Brown's political and personal profiles are not identical. Neither, I think, is their "mindset" re Britain's internal (socio-economic and general) "model" and strategic thinking re Britain's role in the world. But the latter have common foundations. I am not sure how representative they are of the grass roots of the Labour Party or exactly how the mindsets and models and strategies of the Tory leader David Cameron and the LibDems differ from the "Open Britain" model. Food for further thought.

Modern Britain is possibly already the most "open" country in the world (more than the US of decades past) and to the extent that the theory that "open countries" will lead the world arena in the next decades is accurate, Britain seems to be already leading the field.

Comparisons: Open US?

But the US, I think, has not said its final word. The post 2008 period in the US, whether led by a Democrat or a Republican, will have a bearing on the "Open USA" model and strategy selection.

In varying degrees and with emphasis on different aspects (economic, social, cultural, etc), John McCain, Rudolph Giuliani and Hillary Clinton are, according to my perception "open" to an "Open USA" model of thinking. We shall see.

We definitely live in interesting times.

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"England is England and we are strangers"
Anne of Cleves, the German 4th wife and then sister (!) of Henry the VIII.

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