Thursday, July 21, 2005

A tribute to the Mother Country

Britain didn’t just give the world industrialisation, but the belief in economic and political liberty, in free markets and democracy, leading to the modern world’s unprecedented affluence and freedom. Adam Smith, John Locke and John Stuart Mill won the arguments, and Britain’s global influence spread them. Britain didn’t invent democracy, but matured it over centuries and ensured that it became dominant.

Britain’s greatest creations are the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, all stable, affluent, successful liberal democracies which have for more than a century been a magnet to the rest of the world. No other European country ever managed such an achievement. All stayed free of the tyrannies of fascism, communism and military dictatorship that benighted almost everywhere else. In the dark days of the second world war, Britain and its former colonies were just about the only democracies in existence; now democracy embraces much of humanity. Of the G8 countries, all but Russia (and arguably even she) owe their current status as free-market democracies to Britain and its former colonies. The English-speaking economies amount to more thBan a third of world GDP.

With just 1 per cent of the world’s population, Britain has united the world with a truly global language, allowing people to speak unto people for the first time in history (French was little more than a language for elites). These islands make up less than a fifth of 1 per cent of the world’s land area, and yet their capital dictates to the rest of the world its time zones and degrees of east and west.

I don't have an ounce of British blood in me, yet when I was in England, it felt like my own country (with worse food, however), and I claim its history as my own.
English history is part of my heritage as a citizen of a democracy. Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Hampton Court, the Tower of London--they belong to me.

I love France and Italy, but they are foreign. Britain is mine. Truly the Mother Country.

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