PODCAST: The Geopolitics of Britain

When it was an Empire Britain ruled over 25% of the world. But since World War II its global position has declined. Today Britain is trying to forge a new position for herself itself in the world.
3rd August 202230 min

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[00:00:00] Yusuf: This week we want to continue with our geopolitical series looking at the world’s key nations. So recently we had the resignation of the prime minister of Britain, and we thought it would be a good time to talk about the geopolitical perspective of Britain. When it was an Empire Britain ruled over 25% of the world. But since World War II its position it’s slowly declining. And today Britain is trying to forge a new position for itself in the world. Now, to discuss this, we have Geopolity founder Adnan Khan, how are you keeping Adnan

[00:00:43] Adnan: I’m good Yusuf, how are you?

[00:00:44] Yusuf: I’m very well, thank you. so let’s start from the beginning. What are Britain’s geopolitical imperatives? What are their constraints?

[00:00:53] Adnan: So Britain has always been a small island on the edge of a large continent, the European continent. And this has really been a major factor, a major force on the British isles. So Britain really has generally had three imperatives. So imperatives are those things you need survival. So the first of these is maintaining unity on the British isles and this wasn’t met, really when we talk about the British isles, most of history, you’re talking about England and really from the 16th, 17th century onwards. When we talk about Britain, you’re talking about the whole of the British isles. So many people might take it for granted. When you talk about Britain, you know, you’re talking about Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England. Most of history Britain was not a unified island. So maintaining unity has always been a key imperative.

[00:01:54] The second key imperative is dealing with the European continent. Now this has always been Britain’s fundamental problem. And the reason why is Britain’s threats and most with invasions have always come from the European continent. So the Romans, they occupied Britain for about 400 years. The the Normans from France, they occupied Britain for about 60 years. Then in the 16th century, the Spanish then in the 19th century, the French and in the 20th century, the Germans, all of them try to invade and conquer Europe. So dealing with the European continent, staying aloof from European affairs and dealing with any potential invader. This has always been a key geopolitical imperative for the UK . And the third is maintaining overseas markets. Now, Britain is a small island it’s frozen for about seven months in a year. It had some resources, however it lacked many of the resources needed to survive. And that’s why it was always important for Britain to engage with the rest of the world. And as we know, and I’m sure we’ll discuss Britain built an empire, built a global empire . And it was the global superpower for a good, hundred years or so. So obviously the main constraint with all of this is having the economic capability to achieve this. So maintaining unity, feeding a population. Dealing with threats from the European continent. So maintaining a military and overseas markets having the economic capabilities to achieve that has always been the major constraint of Britain. So most of British history, it was a poor island. Then it became an empire and it was the became immensely rich, and then it declined and has had a big impact on its economy. That really in a nutshell is the Britain’s geopolitical imperatives and constraints.

[00:03:50] Yusuf: Now I think one question that I’ve always had is how does an island like Britain, a small island become a global empire as in, how does that happen?

[00:04:01] Adnan: So Yusuf, you’d be surprised it’s happened a few times in history, the Roman empire started of in a small city called Rome. The Portuguese, which I think is slightly smaller than the UK. They became a global empire. They were, they conquered Brazil and even the Netherlands became a global superpower as well. And in most of these cases, including the UK, it was achieved through violence, through murder, bribes and plunder. And in the case of Britain, the constant changing of alliances. Where they were able to outdo all their competitors. That’s how they’re able to achieve it. There was no unique or grand characteristics that allowed them to do it. The Spanish conquered the Americas, not through the strength of their language, not through their cultural or civilisation. It was through brute force. It was through organised violence. The Brits were the same aswell. So when the Spanish and the Portuguese were looting the gold and silver and the sugar and spices of the Americas British pirates, targeted their ships. Britain wasn’t involved in the first wave of colonisation of the world. It was really part of the second wave. And there’s a reason for this, Britain is a small island. It’s always had a small population and therefore it’s not able to field a large army. So in any war, Britain would always have a massive problem. It would always be outnumbered by the Spanish, by the Portuguese, by the Germans, by the Russians. So what Britain did and what really defines British power historically was they made sure that they controlled the oceans. They made sure they have the largest Navy. In fact, the British empire had a strategy of their Navy had to be the same size as the next two Navies. So, what that meant was if you wanted to fight Britain in any part of the world. You’d have to get your troops there and to get your troops there, you need a Navy and Britain had the largest Navy. That was how it maintained its position. So if you look in the Americas, if you look in Africa, if you look in India, if you look in the Far East, what Britain did is it maintained the worlds largest Navy for a good couple of hundred years. So people like Napoleon. They struggled to really get to other territories and take on the Brits. So that’s really how the Brits achieved it. So initially really British, they supported people like John Cabot, who were basically pirates. In the books they are treated as explorers as adventurers. You know, many films are made on these. These guys were basically pirates. They would intercept and steal the and gold the goods coming on Spanish and Portuguese ships. So the Spanish and the Portuguese were global empires, but their supply lines of getting these goods back to Europe were constantly attacked. So as a result, these countries opened up a large part of the world and because many of the routes and many of the lands became known, the Brits had a lot more certainty when they engaged in global affairs. The Spanish even when they discovered America, they were trying to find alternative route to China and India. So this is how a small island became a global power. It was through violence, murder, plunder and by setting up colonies and subjugating the people, turning these into trading outposts and forcing these colonies to buy British products, which guaranteed profit for British companies. In the case of India, they came to the largest economy in the world and eventually became the rulers there. So if you look at European history, a small island conquering large territory is quite common.

[00:07:49] Yusuf:  Many of these former colonies that Britain had, they’re now independent nations and Britain’s military has really shrunk to a fraction of its size. How did Britain, when it was such a big empire, such a strong empire with a good strategy to protect itself. Now decline to this point?

[00:08:07] Adnan: So Yusuf, really the emergence of rival powers is really what kick started and then rapidly drove the decline of Britain at a global power. So specifically, we’re talking about the rise of the US and then on the continent, the rise of Germany. The rise of Germany forced Britain to enter into two ruinous wars, WW1 and WW2 and Britain never really recovered. In WW1 Britain virtually was bankrupted. Britain relied upon the entry of America with a million troops to stop German victory. And because America withdrew its troops after the victory and went back to America into isolation, it meant Britain could continue being the dominant power because it had dealt with Germany and America didn’t wanna take part in global issues at the time. WW2, obviously things changed Britain was in no position to defend against the Nazis and the entry of America made the difference. But on this occasion, America didn’t wanna share the world with Britain, as far as America was concerned, there the new superpower on the block. Now we’ve gotta keep in mind Yusuf here that maintaining an empire is a very costly endeavor. you think about it, you’ve got colonies all around the world. Those colonies need to be maintained. You need to have some sort of administration there. You need to control the oceans through your Navy. It’s very costly. As long as the profits from your colonies are more than your costs than your empire works. But what Britain found over time is as new technologies came, it became very costly to maintain empire. It should be kept in mind that most of Britain’s colonial endeavour was run by private individual and private companies. The queen, the monarchy and the government , in Britain, they supported these privateers with monopolies. They maintained an army a as much as they could, but most of the profit from the colonies were private profits. They would pay taxes to the British empire. But what you find is two world wars will very costly. To the point where the colonies were no longer profitable anymore, it was more of a cost to maintain them. The final thing that actually allowed Britain to maintain its empire was Britain defeated Napoleon in 1815. And then after that, they had the Congress of Vienna where they sorted out the post world war order. And from 1815 up until world war I 1914 to 1918. So a hundred years. There was actually no threat or war on continental Europe. The only war was the Crimea war where the French and the British supported the Ottomans against the Russians. Other than that, there was actually no war on the continent. So really it’s not a matter of how did Britain decline. It’s actually a question of how did Britain take so long to actually decline. And the reason is, is because from 1815 to WW1, 1914, there was no other power to challenge Britain. That challenge did eventually come in 1871 Germany became a nation, it rapidly developed and they challenged Britain in WW1. So really Britain’s decline that all empires was inevitable. And like all empires the cost of maintaining empire became prohibitively expensive and then rival powers emerged. If Britain is leaching of its colonies, other countries would also want to do that, as well. And we should keep in mind Britain’s development. Britain’s rise was largely funded by its raping of India. India, which was 25% the global economy. It was the land that financed Britains industrial Revolution. So if Britain can do that naturally, any other country would wanna do that as well and this to be honest with you is probably the history of global power. You know, you have a global power and you have nations or empires that want to compete with it and to maintain your position is, is costly it requires significant resources and in the case of Britain it wasn’t a departure from this.

[00:12:19] Yusuf: Now, this decline that you are talking about, ultimately this decline, it doesn’t seem to have stopped, and it seems like Britain will continue to decline in the foreseeable future. Why is Britain struggle to stop this? Why is Britain struggle to remain relevant in the world? Not being able to revive its power and get back to the position. It was once in as a global superpower?

[00:12:45] Adnan: Yusuf, simply put, Britain, it lacks the economic and military capability to be an influential power in the world. Britain has been on a decline since WW2. It is lost a lot of its colonies. It’s been replaced in the world by Russia, by America uh, mainly, and British economy, its colonies and its large military was what gave it power in the world, if you look at the British economy, they were virtually bankrupt after world war II, as a result, they also lost their colonies as well. America, and the Soviet Union pushed through the UN that the European powers have to give up their colonies countries have to become independent. So they couldn’t leach off these colonies anymore. British industry, which had been about 50% of their economy through empire. These industries were old. They were outdated. They were taken over by Germany, by America and other countries. And we know in the sixties and the seventies British industry was in severe decline. The unions were very powerful. And despite central government wanting to change these industries, they were unable to, when Margeret Thatcher came along, she was the final straw for British industry. She completely restructured the British economy away from industry towards Services. So today I think 80% of the British economy is service based and the biggest sector in Services is finance. Now that’s not exactly gonna make you a superpower. So in 1900, the top five industries in the UK were coal, steel, textiles, steam engines and ships, all key to being a global power. Fast forward to today. Britain’s top five industry in order are food and drink cars, gas turbines, aircraft parts and metals. Metals is I think about 11% of Britain’s total industry, at the high of British empire, I think it was the half of the British economy. Now you’re not gonna become a global super power. When your top manufacturing industry is food and drink. And manufacturing has gone from 50% in the economy down to 10% today. So Britain just doesn’t have the economy that supports being a global power. America has 800 bases around the world that requires you to have the same industry to achieve that. Britain just doesn’t have that. On the flip side, if you look at Britain’s military, the Royal Navy, that was such an important part of the British global supremacy. Just to give you some numbers, in 1990, Britain had nearly a hundred ships. Today, Just for my research, I can only find about 26 platforms that you can consider are of offensive nature. So, Iran’s revolutionary guards who are not even their proper army. The revolutionary guards are larger in size than Britain’s first army. And the fundamental problem here is, is the British economy cannot support a large military. So the reason why Britain has declined and is struggling because it just doesn’t have the economic or military capabilities to achieve it. And that’s why you’ll hear many people say Britain punches above his weight. Britain gets involved in global issues. Britain is at the negotiating table when it actually lacked the military and the economic capabilities to enforce whatever is agreed, and that’s Britain punching well above its weight.

[00:16:09] Yusuf: There’s been a lot of talk about a new Britain. So Boris Johnson, he called it a global Britain. And idea is about , centering Britain’s power around the Commonwealth nations. Is this how Britain is trying to get back into a position of power? Is this how Britain is trying to get back to the good old days?

[00:16:30] Adnan: Yeah. Yusuf so on paper. This all sounds great. I mean, just think about this for a second. You colonised a chunk of the world and that was a good thing because you were on a civilising mission. What you’re trying to do today is after plundering, these nations is to say that we can have stable, good economic relations. So this sort of stuff, it resonates with a certain element of the British public, because they believe Britain is a force of good in the world. But you are trying to develop economic relations with countries who you plundered. I mean, you know, the Indians aren’t calling for the British to come back. Yeah. You plundered these particular areas. So there’s been various. Plans Britain’s come up with, I mean, some of them are not very serious. They’re just on paper. They are more for domestic political consumption. But in the case of Boris Johnson, uh, global Britain was the tagline they used to say this will be what we will be doing in the Post- Brexit world. We’re gonna leave the European Union. Things are gonna be great. The shackles have come off and Britain can engage globally. Britain’s been engaging globally, even when it was with the EU, the problem Britain has is, it just doesn’t have the power, the influence to shape the world because it doesn’t have the military or economic capability, but even the Commonwealth, most of the Commonwealth today, consist of countries in the Caribbean, the small islands. Okay. Includes Australia includes Canada, but these aren’t exactly influential countries in the world. if global Britain means we’re gonna work with our former colonies, most of the British colonies were very small. They’re small islands, they’re small countries. Minus South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada. But these aren’t countries that are exactly gonna allow you to be taken seriously around the world. So a lot of the talk about British influence in the world it really is just that it’s just talk.

[00:18:19] Yusuf: One thing that doesn’t really quite make sense to me is why did Britain leave the EU? I mean, it was one of the dominant players in the EU. It seems like it’s a self-inflicted wound.

[00:18:33] Adnan: So that’s a very good question. In, summary, leaving the EU will driven by a very small segment of the population. It will driven by some of the billion millionaires. Some of the people from big industry who were unhappy with the rules and regulation of the EU and the encroachment of regulation. It was also driven by a handful of people in the Conservative Party. Now Britain’s European Union membership has always divided the Conservative party. It’s always been a major point of contention. Margaret Thatcher was effectively removed from the party in the end, due to her anti-EU position actually actually took. So this has actually been growing in the Tory party for a long time and the members of the Tory party that were anti EU, they have received significant support from big business who were also anti EU as well. I would actually argue the vast majority of the UK public actually had no problem being part of the European union. However, prejudices were used. Many, many lies were concucted by those who believed Britain should leave the EU. Arguments such as we’re paying too much into the EU. We’re losing control to the EU. Most of these arguments don’t stack up, but they won a lot of credibility amongst elements of the public who could see problems in the UK. So what you find a very tiny element in the, and even in the end, the reason why we even had to vote was because these people who were anti-EU in the Tory party, they were undermining successive prime ministers, conservative prime minister. David Cameron he gave in, in the end and said that if the Tory party were to win a majority in parliament, then we would have a, referendum on the EU. And he did that based on the fact that it was unlikely, the conservative party would win a majority. There were at the time in a coalition government with the Lib Dems and unfortunately, he probably didn’t analyze this well, they did win a majority and he was forced to give a referendum and the anti EU element in the country and those in the government they led a very successful campaign, based on a lot of propaganda to make sure Britain left the EU in the end. And I can tell you from now the utopia, the Brexiteers promised has not been delivered, not even remotely closely. So yeah this is the history of Britain. You’ve always had a very small segment in the population. Who dominate the country. You had the Nobles in the past, you had the aristocracy, you’ve had big business. The, the 1% in the UK, they dominate Britain and the Conservative party has always represented the 1% in this country. And that’s why public opinion can be completely on one side. But the 1% due to their dominating position in the country, they hold a lot of the wealth. They dominate the media. They’re able to achieve some of their goals, because of their dominant, position. And that’s how Britain today now stands outside the EU, but it was driven by a very small segment of the population who used propaganda and prejudice to get a large segment on the public on this side.

[00:21:38] Yusuf: So let me get this straight Adnan are you saying that this small segment. That’s pushed the anti EU sentiment. Have they benefited from Brexit and has Britain lost out or have both lost out?

[00:21:54] Adnan: So no, this small segment who are people from big business, they’re from the financial industry, they will win out. Britain is looking as though it’s gonna become a tax haven on the edge of Europe. It’s where all, I mean already the dirty money of the Russian oligos, Greek shipping magnets, the Middle East is ending up in the UK. So these people will benefit because they were against EU oversight on these issues. So literally Brexit was done by a handful of people in this country and they stand to benefit at the expense of the rest. Now that might sound a bit conspiratol but that’s actually been the history of the UK. You go back a thousand years. Most of the wars in Britain and civil wars have been over one class dominating over the majority class. And they’ve gone to all of each other. In fact, that’s the history of Europe really.

[00:22:42] Yusuf: Now let’s talk about America. So British politicians they always say that they have a special relationship with the US. What’s the current status of Anglo-American relations.

[00:22:53] Adnan: So after world war II, Britain ceased to be the global superpower and Britain had to make a decision. What is your relationship gonna be with the new global superpower the USA. Do you confront it? Do you compete with it or do you not do that anymore? And what Britain realised it was bankrupt. It was in debt. It was in no position to take on the US. However, the British politicians and the elites in the UK, they didn’t wanna give up Britain’s global position. So they concluded in the end. The best way for them to stay in the game is to be a partner with America. Then they term this, the special relationship. And what this will do is it will give Britain a front seat in everything America does. And by getting a front seat, Britain can then complicate America’s agenda when it goes against Britain and where it doesn’t go against British interest, Britain will then support America as well. I would say if we were to sum up the Anglo-American relationship it’s somewhere in between you get a front seat with America. And on the other side, you in effect become a vassel state for America where you achieve American interest. That’s where Britain really is at the moment. Now this special relationship largely is mentioned by British officials. You don’t really hear this from American officials. You may hear it from time to time, but as far as America’s concerned, Britain is just one nation amongst many in the world. America has a close relationship with Germany. It has a close relationship with Japan. It has a closed relationship with Israel. You could argue, it’s got a more special relationship with Israel than it has with Britain. So this special relationship is more for British political purposes. it’s to show that Britain has a unique place in the heart of the global superpower. But the Neocons when they were in power under George W. Bush, they’re quite open what they think on Britain. They see Britain as just a small irritant. They actually believe Britain doesn’t even deserve to be at the table. It’s just a small country. And they were quite critical of Britain. Now because Britain created the Middle East. It created the monarchies, the Saudi monarchy, the Gulf monarchies, the Hashimite monarchy and Jordan Britain created these countries. So Britain still has some influence in these countries. So Britain could sometime use its relationship with some of these rulers to achieve its interests . But even these countries, you know, a lot of them are dominated by the security relationship that they have with America. so for Britain the special relationship is just a way to maintain a relationship with America, Britain views America as a nation. That’s not as sophisticated as the Brits are. When it comes to foreign policy and global affairs. So this special relationship is largely on paper. As far as America’s concerned, it is just a footnote somewhere. America’s a global, power’s got more important issues to deal with and yeah, it comes across Britain on many of these global issues.

[00:25:46] Yusuf: If we go back to the start, the first question you mentioned that one of the key things that Britain has to maintain is the British Isles and we already see some sentiments, especially from Scotland that they would like to separate. So Scotland is pushing for another referendum in order to leave the UK. What are the prospects for this? And on top of that could you also delve into the Northern Ireland issue as I’ve never been able to quite understand that.

[00:26:16] Adnan: Okay Yusuf so, just quick history, the British. Isles largely was England. When we talk about Britain historically, we’re talking about England. Over time, the Welsh, the Scots and the Irish, they became part of what’s called United Kingdom. So still today, the Scottish, the Irish, the Welsh well they’re culturally different. Their evolution’s been different. Their history’s been different, but because they geographically live on the same Isles and England became a global superpower. It made sense that they actually joined them. So there’s always been separatist tendencies and the fact that we are different from the English, that that’s always actually been there. So in the case of Scotland, they joined England when Britain was an empire. So they thought they could benefit from the empire. But over the years and decades what’s happened is the UK economy is becoming more and more London and the area around it. So their feeling is, is the Westminster parliament just cannot take care of the needs of the Scots . So opinions been building for a couple of decades now that maybe the Scotts need to go it alone. So they had a referendum in 2016 due to the SNP, the Scottish National Party constantly being voted in. And their one point agenda is we need to have a referendum and become separate. So the Scottish people voted just about to stay within the union. But what they’re arguing now is the material facts have changed. Now that you’ve left the EU and the Scots want to stay within the EU. They needs to be a number referendum. When the last referendum happened, the agreement was you’re not having another referendum until 2050 . So my personal opinion is Yusuf, in the long run the British isles will split. There’s no way England can keep Ireland and Scotland united. Now it’s inevitable, I think in the medium to long term its going to happen. The challenge that Scots have got currently is how do you do this? Because their whole argument is we wanted to remain part of the EU and now you’ve left. So they want to leave the United Kingdom and rejoin the EU. Now this is a big problem for the EU because there’s many rebel territories and separatist territories in the European union. Would you just give them a free ride and let them into the European Union. So if we take the example of Catalonia in Spain, they held an informal referendum and as a result, central government arrested all the leaders in Catalonia. Because of the instability many of the large companies then left this area. So the challenge for the Scots is you need to do this legally. What you don’t wanna do is leave the union and nobody wants to even come and do business with you. Now, the problem is Westminster has to agree to a referendum. And what they’re saying is forget a referendum. We will devolve more powers to you. Don’t leave the United Kingdom but we’ll give you more and more powers where effectively you become autonomous province of the United Kingdom. So this is the challenges the Scots have got, but I think going forward in the long run, I don’t think there’s much Westminster can do. It’s inevitable and what doesn’t help now is a situation in Northern island.

[00:29:22] Northern Ireland is the Palestine effectively of the British isles. I’m sure you’re aware the British supported the migration of Jews from Europe to Palestine. And then they effectively created a settler colonial nation, who now dominate over Palestine and believe they have the right to be there and they treat everyone else, indigenous people, a second class citizens. When England and Scotland unified Britain was worried that what if foreign power was to land on Ireland and it could become a threat for Britain. They needed to get control of Ireland. And the Irish were separate people, separate culture. So what they did is they got settlers from Scotland to go and settle in Northern Ireland. So Ireland is generally a Catholic, territory. They got Protestants to go and settle there. So as a result, there was a lot of tension between the indigenous Catholic people and the Protestants that were there. So many, many wars happened between Britain and the Irish Britain then sent his military there to protect the Protestant settlers. And then in the end of, in the early 1900s, an agreement was made that Northern Ireland would become a separate territory to the Republic of Ireland because the Protestant people there had to be protected. So these areas today in northern ireland they still remain loyal to England. They wanna be part of the union, the democratic union party in Ireland they support this and parties like Sinn Féin, they are against Britain and they want Northern island to reunify with the rest of Ireland. Now Sinn Féin have actually just come into power now and their agenda has always been Irish reunification. So you’ve got Ireland who does want to be part of the British Isles. Now you’ve got Scotland, and if Scotland leaves, which I think it will in the long run it’s really gonna be the end of geographical United Kingdom as we know it

[00:31:22] Yusuf: In June, it was Queen Elizabeth II her platinum Jubilee. Now she’s been on the throne for 75 years. That’s a long time. What is the role of the Royal family? Is the Royal family even relevant? Is it a good thing? A lot of people in the UK actually aren’t fond of the Royal family. What’s your views on this?

[00:31:43] Adnan: So, Britain has a long history of monarchy. However, over the last few hundred years the role and the influence the monarchy has reduced. So you’ve always had a large aristocracy noble class in the UK, and they’ve always looked to reduce the powers of the monarchy. So really I will say for the last hundred years or so, the British monarchy really is part of Britain soft power. It’s a symbol. It’s good for tourism in the UK. The monarchy was used as a unifying factor in all its colonies. The Kings and Queens were rulers of the Commonwealth of all the realms of the British empire. However, their role is very different today, today parliament runs the country. You’ve got a small elite that is the dominant , faction in the country amongst them. It’s just the Royal family. They’re just one of many, but in terms of day to day, say in the country, the Royal family plays very little role. The only role they play now is more of symbols and symbols are important. So the elderly in the UK, they believe the Royal family is a good thing for the UK. They believe they need the Royal family. I mean, you’ve gotta keep in mind. The monarchy historically is an archaic institution. There’s no elections, it’s a family and if you’re born to that family, you are just in a prestigious position that you live like Royals. You know, a lot of people don’t believe in these sort of ideas anymore. So you could argue from an economic perspective, they bring a bit of money in you know, for tourism and things like that. But in the UK, what you’d find is there is still support for the monarchy, but the support against the monarchy is growing. So about 75% people believe monarchy is good. 25% mainly among the youth believe it doesn’t and it should go. However, after Queen Elizabeth II, who’s now in a nineties I think the position, the Royal family will completely change. Really a lot of the loyalty to the Royal family today is because of Queen Elizabeth. I think once she’s gone, that’s really gonna be the end of the Royal family. What the Royal family didn’t do. They didn’t adapt. If they had let the younger children become Queen King, people could relate to them and that might work. But Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t really want to give up her position. So really it’s more symbols, it’s more soft power, the Royal family’s role today. They don’t really have any political influence as such.

[00:34:10] Yusuf: Currently, we’ve got a leadership contest within the Tory party. What can you see happening here? Who do you think will be in the lead? Who do you think will be in place by September?

[00:34:22] Adnan: So like all elections who the actual leader is, doesn’t actually really matter, especially in the conservative party, because what you find is the overall direction in the UK. They don’t really have much say in that, that’s really to do with the elites of the country. That machines getting in one direction, all you can do is decide the amount of petrol you’re gonna put in the machine. So whether it’s Rishi Sunak or whether it’s Liz Truss, the general direction, the challenges they’re gonna have to deal with, they actually remain the same. What’s actually interesting is the Tory party will have had four different leaders, Prime Ministers in Six years. And that shows you the problem at the heart of British politics. The fact that they keep having leaders, the leaders don’t succeed and public opinion goes against them and they have to actually change them. So at the moment they’re trying to fight on issues, which aren’t that relevant to the public. You’ve got a cost of living crisis going on in the UK. You’ve got major divisions in the Tory party itself. So whoever become the leader, they’re gonna have significant issues that they’re gonna actually have to deal with. I mean, the interesting thing is you’ve obviously got an Asian candidate, Rishi Sunak, so that would be interesting, but this is not a public vote. The public are not voting for the Tory leader. It’s around 180,000 people who are members of the Tory party and the Tory party membership generally consists of Middle aged white men who are usually on the right of the party. So that’s gonna have an impact, but Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss were at the heart of the previous government. They supported all the tax increases against the people. They supported Brexit. Although Liz Truss didn’t support Brexit initially, then eventually she did. But in the end whoever becomes the leader, it doesn’t really matter because , both of these individuals were at the heart of the previous government that lost a lot of credibility. So Britain has significant challanges, it’s gonna have to deal with going forward. And the conservative party doesn’t have a good track record of dealing with strategic issues. Just look at the UK since 2016, they’ve actually constantly change their leaders because they promise the world, but they’ve been unable to deliver.

[00:36:28] Yusuf: Just one final question Adnan. What’s the future of the UK? What are the key trends and challenges she faces going farward?

[00:36:36] Adnan: So there’s a few Yusuf. I think firstly, there’s significant domestic issues the UK has going forward. About 70% of the wealth in Britain is in the hands of, I think 10% of the population. This is why you’ve got major problem in the UK. You’ve got a chunk of the population that are just about making ends meet. They are consuming more and more of the government budget, which is running on debt. And this isn’t gonna change. So this is what causes many of the issues you’ve got in the country. This is then led to democracy and opinion and confidence in democracy is rock bottom. It’s rock bottom because successive leaders have really taken care of the 1% at the expense of the people. And that’s why Britain has become a very divided nation. One way they try to deal with this is they blamed it all on the EU that the EU is a problem. If we leave the EU, it will be a new dawn and here we are a year or two after Brexit and the problems are actually getting even worse. So national unity is the second problem. As I mentioned, I think in the medium to long term, the British isles will split. Scotland will go seperate. When Scotland goes separate I think it’s inevitable Ireland will go separate and then all you’re left with the England and Wales. And I don’t see how they’re gonna reverse that. I really can’t see how they can. They have left the EU. The economic situation is bad. Wealth distribution is already really, really bad. So I can’t see how national unity is really gonna remain going forward. Then you’ve got Britain’s relationship with the rest of the world. So Britain already has a contentious relationship with Europe. Britain left the EU, but then it turned its back on the agreement treaty it had about Ireland, the Irish protocol. So it’s gonna have a very tense relationship with the EU and beyond that there are new powers emerging. India this year, we’ll have a larger economy than the UK. Now that’s a very significant position we’re in the country that was a colony that funded your empire, it now will be a larger economy in the world than Britain. Why should India, for example, not be, not have a seat at the UN, why is Britain got at the UN, why should India not replace Britain on all international issues when it’s got larger economy and it’s developing country, these are sort of issues you’re gonna. You’ve got Turkey, for example, who in many ways is more influential in some areas around the world. You’ve got Russia, for example who is is a power in the world and you’ve even got Latin American countries emerging in the medium to long term. So I think in the long run, Britain’s decline really will speed up because you’ve got other emerging powers who will believe that they should have a bigger say going forward. So in a nutshell, despite the geopolitics of Britain in the long run, Britain position in the world really is one of leaving the premier league of nations because new nations will emerge and take up those positions.

[00:39:37] Yusuf: Thanks for your time today Adnan, definitely given a lot to think about a lot of things to watch out for. If you want to learn more about the issues raised today, then please check out our website www.thegeopolicy.com. You can also learn more about other issues by accessing our website where you’ll find comprehensive insights, analysis, articles and deep dives.

[00:39:56] Thank you for listening.



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