The UK’s imperial delusions will not go down so well in a White House led by people with roots in Ireland, India and Jamaica
And then there is race. In Britain we have had to endure an equalities minister who suggests anti-racism reading materials are illegal in school, a foreign minister who derided Black Lives Matter as a Game of Thrones spoof, and Boris Johnson himself, as ready to insult black children in Africa as he was the black president in the White House. Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris is said to “hate” Johnson for claiming Obama held a grudge against Britain because of his “part-Kenyan” heritage. The prime minister’s comments have not aged well.
The Kenya reference was not accidental. Much of Johnson’s political strategy rests on foundations of imperial pride and colonial nostalgia. That was compatible with the “special relationship” when the American president was, like him, similarly smitten by an imagined great white past. Lamenting the decline of this relationship has become a national pastime in Britain – traditionally at just such moments as this, when a change of guard in the White House threatens the status quo. What is clear is that, insofar as the special relationship does exist, it’s rooted in “shared cultural values”. This phrase, whenever deployed by Britain, is almost always code for: “We colonised you once, and how well you’ve done from it.”
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