23.09.2018 Author: Grete Mautner

How Exceptional Today’s Britain Really is?


“British exceptionalism” that is one of those terms that we start to hear when the situation inside Britain and around its foreign policy comes under harsh criticism of the international community. In simple terms, it means that London tries to argue that everybody’s else standards cannot be applied to the UK, since it’s one of the better countries in the history of mankind, and therefore it somehow possess the right of “exceptional” treatment.

On the one hand, this is nothing but a nationalism in its most primitive form. Sure, there is nothing wrong with thinking that you’re living in a best country in the entire world, but sometimes the sentiments behind those believes hide a much more sinister agenda, like racism or complete disregard to the international law and the policies of other states.

It is under the pretext of “British exceptionalism” that Theresa May tries to actively use as a bargaining chip in the course of the ongoing Brexit negotiations. It’s curious that the sitting British chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond has warned his superiors that should London abandon the union without any form of agreement on further cooperation with Brussels, the United Kingdom is going to lose some 80 billion pounds over the next decade.

However, in recent months there’s been more mockery when political figures would choose to speak about “British exceptionalism” than anything else, largely due to the policies pursued by the government led by Theresa May.

The Independent would note that:

During rush hour on one of London’s most affluent streets, amid the bustle of the Strand, an orderly queue is forming. Dozens of people stand patiently, and hungrily, waiting for their dinner. It’s a disgrace!

Rents outstrip wages by so much these days and people are losing their jobs all the time. Some people need a bit of help.

In addition to the rapidly spreading poverty that is registered all across the UK, there’s yet another feature that has become a sort of a trademark of the “British exceptionalism” – that is chronic alcohol abuse. According to the France Inter, this is one of the most common death causes among the adult population of the UK. Nevertheless, a mighty lobby of alcohol producers prevent the authorities from addressing this problem in any serious fashion. Should the UK population turn its back on the excessive alcohol consumption, it would cost the British alcohol industry 13 billion annually pounds a year, the publication explains, citing the results of a joint study of the University of Sheffield. According to one of the authors of the study, some 24,000 people die from alcohol abuse each year in England, and more than a million end up in hospital, forcing the National Health Service to take a hit of some 3.5 billion pounds a year.

To keep their massive incomes intact, local alcoholic beverages companies have established a number of non-profit organizations promoting moderate alcohol consumption. It came to the point when British authorities urged their citizens to focus on having two alcohol-free days a week, notes The Times.

According to a recent study, British women are among the heaviest female drinkers in the world, which some people may also consider to be a trademark of “British exceptionalism.” This was established after a comprehensive analysis of the data from 694 studies on 195 countries.

Maybe it was a heavy alcoholic haze that forced individual British politicians and the media into launching a massive hysteria about Russia’s alleged wrongdoings in Salisbury or in Syria. Excessive alcohol use may also serve as an excuse for Brits demanding exceptional concessions in the course of their negotiations with the EU. This can also may be the reason behind Jeremy Hunt’s mistake that he made during his maiden visit to China in the capacity of foreign secretary. To everybody’s amazement the head of British diplomacy referred to his Chinese wife Luci as Japanese.

Because of the exceptional addiction of British tourists to alcohol and they generally unacceptable behavior among British tourists, the government of the Balearic Islands and a number of tourist destinations want to force hotels to charge a separate fee for alcohol, abolishing the infamous all-inclusive system.

The instances of British citizens getting lost abroad have become somewhat commonplace these days, with British officials and family members being forced to search for them. A similar case occurred last July, when Douglas Moreton, a UK football fan from attending the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, went missing. Both his relatives and friends couldn’t come in contact with him, but later he was found in a hotel in Moscow drunk senselessly.

A string of investigations in child rape cases against members of the UK political elites can also serve as an illustration of “British exceptionalism.” Among such investigations, there’s one against the former prime minister of the kingdom Edward Richard George Heath, who is accused of raping children before dumping their bodies to sea.

No less “exceptional” was the former British UNICEF consultant Peter Newell, who routinely raped little boys while being a leading figure in the process of establishment of international standards in the field of childhood protection.

However, one should not be surprised if he learns that along with alcohol abuse, senseless devotion to pornography is yet another feature of “exceptional” British politicians. This was established last January, where local IT specialists were recording a total of 160 attempts to access porn sites a day.

However, instead of addressing a long list of real problems within the British society, London has been exceptionally vocal in promoting the notion of the “Russian threat”, spending huge resources on propaganda at the expense of the social vulnerable British citizens. An example of this is the active participation of London in the aggravation of the Ukrainian conflict, including, in particular, a transfer of 415 thousand pounds sterling on the housing modernization program for Ukrainian soldiers, that has recently been announced by a British PM, Harriet Baldwin.

However, all the attempts to drag “British exceptionalism” into the Brexit negotiations have brought no results so far. This was confirmed by the disappointing results of the meeting of European leaders in Salzburg, which, according to The Sunday Times, forced Theresa May into devising a secret plan that would be put in action should the negotiations between London and Brussels come to a close without producing any results. The sitting British prime minister is mindful of the fact that this development would lead far-reaching consequences, as we’re approaching parliamentary elections. Moreover, a number of Tory PMs have already promise to start a vote of no confidence should the negotiations be brought to a standstill.

Maybe, all the above mentioned facts are the legacy of “British exceptionalism” that local elite wants to leave their ancestors with. Why else would the Boundary Commissions of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland reduce the number of MPs in the British parliament by 50 to 600, which may have a massive impact on the outcome of the 2020 elections. Which means that those regions supporting the current leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbin, the former head of the British foreign ministry Boris Johnson, and the former Minister for Brexit David Davis will have no say in the final alignment of forces in the House of Representatives. The above mentioned figures are the main opponents of the sitting British prime minister Teresa May that is clinging to power, while trying to prove how “exceptional” her government really is.

Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.