With a land area of less than 250,000 square kilometres, we frequently hear that Britain is a very small country, nothing more than a rainy little island located off the coast of north-western Europe. As Simon Kuper writes for The Financial Times: “Britain today is like a cute little bonobo ape that thinks it’s a gorilla.” In this way, the country’s small geographic size is being ‘hijacked’ to fuel a new narrative, as an array of journalists and commentators – supportive of remaining inside the European Union – assert that Britain is in terminal decline.
The United Kingdom, we are told, is about to commit national suicide, or at least chop off its arms and legs. Britain, we are told, will be ‘humiliated’; will suffer ‘serious consequences’; or will ‘grovel’ for readmission to the European Union at some unspecified date. From this standpoint, the United Kingdom is constructed as a helpless object to a referential subject – the European Union – which is led by unflappably wise men in Brussels. The government in London, meanwhile, is depicted as weak, divided and stupid.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
Read more in Brexit Central.