Royal Yacht 'Britannia' could be the final sinking ship of the UK

Foreign Affairs & Security
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Charlotte Chase


Read the original article at Generation Conservative

I am all for the notion of cementing a sense of national pride in this country. In fact, I think under the present circumstances we are in great need of such a remedy.

Unlike the US, there is somewhat of a shamefulness in promoting any sense of nationalism. Recent calls by a member of the Students Union of King's College London to remove the national anthem from their graduation ceremony, only supplement the ‘dirty’ rhetoric surrounding national pride in the UK.

Unfortunately, recently we have been inclined to link this to groups such as the British National Party, or other far right groups. It has left the majority of this country feeling ashamed to promote their Britishness for fear of assimilation.

However, after the societal divisions created by Brexit, a dose of national pride is exactly what this country needs. Both Remainers and Brexiteers can unite around the one common and universal cause - that our country is a great nation; it is a desirable trading partner of diverse and prosperous composition.

This would do a considerable amount to heal the wounds of a divisive referendum campaign and resulting disappointment in government rhetoric.

Our success at the Rio Olympics was just the start. As a country we rallied around the success Women’s Hockey team, the camaraderie of the Brownlee brothers and the jubilation of Charlotte du Jardin. We embraced sports not usually shown on our screens and rallied behind the Union Jack, as a symbol for the greatness of our nation. It is this spirit that we should seek to nourish in this country, rather than demonise.

Though, what I do now take issue with is the abuse of new found outlets of national pride, in order to re-live the British Empire.

Originally, I wrote Boris Johnson's call for the revival of the Royal Yacht ‘Britannia’ as another Etonian idea of foreign policy strategy. Ideas of a Titanic type vessel adorned with gilded staircases, extravagant dining rooms and cigar-smoke filled negotiations immediately spring to mind. This, unlike Theresa May's first speech outside Downing Street as Prime Minister, does not seem to be an effort to improve the lives of the hardest working families in the UK, rather the creation of a lavish floating office for the political elite.

As the traction of the idea grows, it is increasingly concerning that both Johnson and a number of other Conservative MPs believe this to be the solution to our trade negotiations post-Brexit. Some have tempered it with the condition that the expense should be spread across various government departments, others that it should be privately funded; however, this is no consolation for the loss of real negotiation time.

With the timeline for the triggering of Article 50 now outlined, as a member of the electorate, one would assume that such represented officials would be using their time to begin initial talks on our Brexit deal. This will aid the transition of sovereignty over the next two years and ease any shocks to the economy.

Instead, I believe we are witnessing a gross misuse of taxpayer funded time.

Whilst national pride must indeed be at the core of Britain's reclamation of sovereignty, improved trade deals and more independent economy, it must be done so in the modern sense of the term. Attempting to cement a future for this national cannot, and should not, be achieved by harping back to notions of Empire. We must move forward in our concept of development, rely on the innovative minds of our citizens and prove we are a nation to be reckoned with as we forge a new path for ourselves with our global allies.

Predictability in our methods of negotiation is hardly set to inspire any new found relationships or set this country on a path to even greater success.

Charlotte Chase is Co-Founder of Generation Conservative