I learned something today. I woke up with the phrase, “Perfidious Albion” , ringing around my head.
It’s a very old-fashioned term. It’s a term of disparagement used in the past by those irritating, continental Jonnies and the ungrateful empire. I’ve never really understood what it meant nor bothered to find out…
Until I woke up this morning with the phrase, “Perfidious Albion” , ringing around my head.
An anglophobic pejorative phrase used within the context of international relations and diplomacy to refer to alleged acts of diplomatic sleights, duplicity, treachery and hence infidelity (with respect to perceived promises made to or alliances formed with other nation states) by monarchs or governments of the UK (or England prior to 1707) in their pursuit of self-interest.
Perfidious signifies one who does not keep his faith or word (from the Latin word perfidia), while Albion is an ancient and now poetic name for Great Britain.
It all comes down to our system of government. Each election creates a new government that is not beholden to previous laws or treaties. I can renege on previous agreements at will, without cause for feeling guilt or need for reparation. That is our system of democracy. That is our DNA. We are perfidious!
That’s who we are and how we are seen by the rest of the world and, in Brexit, we are reverting to the old ways, sticking two fingers up to the world and telling them to lump it.
But the world has changed. We are a very clever and resourceful island, but the rest of the world has caught up – the rest of the world is very clever and resourceful too – and more numerous.
Brexit will leave us with no friends and a confused world wondering if there is any point in making new trade deals with us, if we are only going to tear them up and ignore them in a few year’s time.
In the EC, we were beginning to grow up as a nation, learning to co-operate, not to go barging in with guns blazing and holding interminable royal inquiries afterwards. Yes, Europe has many flaws and is hideously undemocratic, but that was meant to be our role, to bring honesty and democracy to the EC. We blew that, had a referendum and decided to throw the toys out of the pram for any reason other than the ones that actually matter.
We now, as a country, look like that old man in a baseball cap, who was filmed in a pub, during the referendum, with tears in his eyes and very few teeth, whining, “I want my country back!” He looked stupid and irrelevant then as we are being to look stupid and irrelevant now.
And we are being led by a a “Stupid Woman”. One who sets red lines before negotiations, One who continues not to govern the country, allowing it to fall to pieces in favour of a pipe dream of her Brexit.
A leader who continues to make promises and statements only to break them and renege on them months later – it is her way. Perhaps she is the perfect, perfidious leader for Perfidious Albion, as we untie ourselves from reality and go floating of into a dream of Victorian Empire and Devil take care.
I didn’t vote for this – and I don’t think anyone else did either.