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Proud to be British

Posted by Caribbean World Magazine on 2 March 2021 | 0 Comments

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2 March 2021

As the envy of the world, due to its slick and efficient Covid 19 vaccine roll out, Britain is in a patriotic mood. Sarah Woods reflects on the nation that brought us modern parliamentary democracy, the Industrial Revolution, a world-leading national health system and the English language and which continues to pepper the globe with its far-reaching, pioneering cultural influences.

While two world wars and the end of empire may have diminished many other nation’s appetite for colossal change in the 21stcentury, Britain’s national vote to leave the European Union proved that it is as fearless as it has ever been. Whatever side of the BREXIT fence you lean on, we are all now seeing Britain in bullish mood as a single entity in a global role. Misplaced confidence? Only time will tell, but early signs are buoyant and free thus far from the doom foretold.

For Britain, despite the orchestrated attempts to diminish its weighty achievements continues to thrive. It remains an economic and military power with an army, navy and RAF that the world respects with forces training that is emulated in every corner of the globe. Britain’s Universities and academic institutions boast unrivalled world-wide status. Indeed, more world leaders have been educated in Britain than any other nation - with Oxford and Cambridge considered the cream of the crop.

The British nation also boasts a long history of major contributions to the arts and sciences. William Shakespeare is regarded as one of the greatest writers in the history of English literature. British scientists discovered gravity, hydrogen and penicillin and developed theories in aerodynamics and natural evolution - and the nation continues to be at the  scientific and technological fore. Stephen Hawking produced groundbreaking work in cosmology while at Imperial College London, a trail-blazing team worked 24/7 to alter the course of the Covid 19 pandemic through development of a vaccine. Electronic labs continue to play major roles in global communications and trade across every continent. Britain’s global network of high-tech subaride telecommunications cables, link Europe to the USA. And let us not forget that it was British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web - an awe-inspiring technological revelation that changed shared knowledge, social communication and connectivity for ever.

There is considerable national pride in Britain’s efficient, impartial Civil Service, Police Force and Regulatory Boards and the extraordinary history of creativity that has spawned world-leading artists, musicians, writers and poets who have inspired and thrilled audiences and readers all over the Earth. Television is a leading British creative export, worth billions of pounds each year with the British fashion industry and its films industry both enjoying an enviable reputation for quality and innovation - and winning international accolades galore. Britain’s values, it’s free speech, tolerance and it’s bountiful number of great thinkers have a long and enviable place in history.  The British language, still the choice of international business all over the world, is another ofBritain’s global legacies, now spoken by more than two-billion people, outside England, making English the largest single language by number of speakers, and the third largest language by native speakers (after Spanish and Mandarin).

Museums and libraries in Britain have paved the way for famous collections world -widewhile British architecture - past and present - continues to inspire, wow and engage. From the days when the British Empire covered almost one-third of the Earth’s land surface, Britain remains highly supportive of all former colonial outposts enjoying close-knit ties with independent countries from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Pacific though the Commonwealth. Britain also retains strong political, economic and cultural influence through organisations such as The UN, The UN Secretary General, The G8, The World Trade Organization, the World Bank and NATO. It remains highly regarded for its democratic values, legal system, rich cultural heritage, values and fairness and continues to enjoy trade links with the EU, USA, India and China.

Our national government, divided between executive, legislative and judicial branches, sits in capital city, London: not just a major international financial centrebut also one of the most visited cities in the world. Millions of International tourists regular rank London as the “Best European City” for its fine landmark buildings, storied history and rich ethnic cultural mix that brings food markets, cafes and music from South Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and all over Central and Eastern Europe.

Britain excels in a wide range of sporting disciplines, holding an extraordinary number of Olympic medals for a country of its size.Entires in the Guinness World Records confirm our success in an extremely diverse number of incredible feats of adventure, discovery and endeavours, from Round-World Treks to Mountain Climbs. Exploration has seen Britain study the furthest reaches of the Arctic, sail the world’s oceans and advance the task of chronicling the immense natural botanical treasures of our Planet. Britain’sbanks have been at the tiller of global finance for centuries while its national psyche is much admired around-the-world: a mix of humour, stoicism, quiet reserve and unflappable calm mixed with practical resourcefulness and ingenuity and a willingness to always back the underdog. A centuries-old reputation for generous welfare, charitable funds and sizeable amounts of foreign aid remains an integral part of Modern Britain - and honourably so.

Still guiding the nation admirably - with loyalty, poise and dignity - is the Head of British royal family, and Britain’s trusted monarch for almost 70 years, HRH Elizabeth II. The nation’s much beloved Queen is the longest-reigning monarch in British history, and has been married to her husband, Prince Phillip, for 74 years. Her achievements range from enlisting in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service from During World War II and standing in for her father, the King, in 1944 in Italy at aged 18. Queen Elizabeth’s reign has included 12 British prime ministers, seven archbishops of Canterbury and seven popes. The first prime minister she worked with was Winston Churchill. Yet Queen Elizabeth is much praised as a moderniser and her reign has involved many firsts for the British monarchy: her coronation was the first to be broadcast from Westminster Abbey, the monarchy began its own website and Twitter account (@BritishMonarchy), and the queen’s traditional Christmas message is broadcast on YouTube. The Queen has also joined the public to cheer on the NHS, which is currently getting coronavirus jabs into people’s arms faster than any other country in Europe - 15 million have received a vaccine in the UK, compared to just 2.9 million in Italy, the next in line. So, as the world grapples with Covid 19 and the well-being of its people, Britain can proudly re-emphasise its name in the 21st Century - and be certain it is still Great Britain.