Britain’s Renewal After Trump and Brexit
US President Donald Trump's long-postponed state visit to the United Kingdom has now come and gone. He leaves in his wake a Britain that is consumed not only by a stalled Brexit and the unending debate about it, but also by a far more profound crisis of identity that Brexit has exposed and aggravated.
LONDON – After three days of pomp and ceremony that presented an image of a seemingly unchanging Britain, US President Donald Trump has now departed London. But beneath the veneer of pageantry, Britain is consumed not only by a stalled Brexit and the unending debate about it, but also by a far more profound crisis of identity: a struggle to rediscover what it is to be British.
There is a grim irony that this week also marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, which began the liberation of Europe from fascism. The current governing Conservative Party now seems hell-bent on forswearing any agreement with the European Union, declaring a no-deal Brexit, and crashing out of the EU on October 31 – an outcome that would amount to a declaration of economic war on Britain’s continental neighbors.
The Britain that long prided itself on being pragmatic, tolerant, and fair-minded is now at risk of incubating an inward-looking, intolerant, and adversarial brand of nativism.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one to read two commentaries for free? Log in