brexit

The U.K.'s enormous soft power, painstakingly built in the post-imperial era, looks weakened following Brexit. In fact, negotiating acceptable divorce terms or preventing an economic decline may prove much easier than restoring British influence.  Some early indications of how Brexit has damaged the U.K.'s international perception can be found in a recent Ipsos poll conducted in 16 countries.

The 2012 image of Britain’s new Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, waving the Union Jack while haplessly snagged on a zipline above London, seems an apt image for the situation he has inherited, and indeed played a major part in creating. [...] this piece is limited to considering the implications of “Boris Diplomacy” for British public diplomacy and soft power.

Boris Johnson

On Boris Johnson and Britain's post-Brexit soft power.

On his last day in Downing Street, David Cameron said one of his proudest achievements was to honour the commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on international aid. It was partly an attempt to stake out his legacy and partly a pitch to his successor, Theresa May, to stick to, what remains, a Conservative manifesto pledge.

There were controversies in terms of migration created by individuals outside of the official “Vote Leave” campaign. Yet, contrary to a widely held belief, migration was never the primary issue: the economy was a greater concern. The aforementioned ORB poll showed that 52% of respondents believed the economy to be more important than immigration.

Young remain voters reduced to tears by Brexit result

An analysis of the Brexit vote, Part 2. 

By installing Johnson at the Foreign Office, May has brought in her own little Nixon – ready for the day she needs to go to China. The problem with all this political logic is that it’s for domestic use only. It’s not what the rest of the world sees. And, remember, that’s what this job is for: to be our nation’s chief diplomat, our face to the nations of the earth. It’s not just another piece on the Westminster chessboard.

The “soft power” of shows such as Downton Abbey and Sherlock can help the UK bounce back globally from the shock of Brexit and help Britain remain a cultural international powerhouse, according to a former ambassador and foreign policy adviser to David Cameron. [...] he is “pretty confident” that “there will be a group set up specifically” to promote Britain and its creative industries around the world.

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