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Analysis: Boris Johnson’s boast of a ‘Global Britain’ is taking a pounding amid series of crises

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From images of burly police officers fighting women on the ground to claims from racism in the royal family, allegations of breaches of Brexit rules and even a variant of the coronavirus first detected in England and now spreading around the world, the UK appears tainted in the international court of opinion.

The latest crisis came this weekend, when images were broadcast of a crackdown on a peaceful London vigil for a murdered woman around the world.

Patsy Stevenson was photographed by two London Metropolitan police officers while attending a vigil for Sarah Everard, who was murdered earlier this month. The man accused of murdering Everard is an agent of the same police force.

Stevenson says he’s still struggling with what happened to him. “I’m quite small, and it was two very large male officers who pushed me back very quickly and I hit the ground,” he told ITV’s “Good Morning Britain.” Monday.

A viral photo of the woman prostrate on the ground, police officers on her back, is never a good look for any democracy, but this latest clash is just a growing accumulation of the UK’s own public relations goals. incorporating it into their own network. while the country is chasing global partners for post-Brexit trade.

Harry and Meghan’s recent allegations of racism about the royal family have also demonstrated the ease with which reputations, even those of a nation, can be tarnished.

The highly acclaimed young American poet Amanda Gorman, whose eloquent prose was chosen by President Joe Biden to help him begin power in his inauguration, saw what some Britons did not do.

“Meghan was the Crown’s greatest opportunity for change, regeneration and reconciliation in a new era,” Gorman tweeted. “Not only did they mistreat her, but they lost her.”

News of the royal rumor even reached the office of U.S. President Joe Biden, where press secretary Jen Psaki praised Harry and Meghan’s “courage” to talk about their struggles with health mental.

The Queen tried to remedy the tensions by a statement from Buckingham Palace promising a private family examination of the “benchmark” racist claims, which has raised uncomfortable questions to the nation’s extended family, the Commonwealth of Nations.

This group of 54 nations from most former British territories – many of them in Africa and the Caribbean – contains about 2.4 billion people, from a wide range of racial backgrounds. The royal family has long relied on the Commonwealth for international support and prestige.

Paraphrasing the Queen, looking back to 1992 when Windsor Castle caught fire and Princess Diana separated from Prince Charles, the UK has an “annus horribilis”.

Last year’s Covid-19 pandemic reveals a country struggling to reconcile the image of vigor that Prime Minister Boris Johnson values ​​for the nation. The brutal reality is that due to a multitude of government failures, the UK has among the countries higher mortality rates per capita worldwide and higher number of deaths than any other European nation.

Johnson finally received praise in the UK for the fastest vaccine launch in Europe: more than 35% of the nation has received a first shot compared to the EU average of 9%.

But in recent months, the most infectious strain of coronavirus B.1.17, first discovered in England, has consistently driven infection rates in many European nations to levels induced by the blockade. On Monday, the CDC chief warned that B.1.17 would become the dominant strain in the United States in a few weeks.

Closer to home, the Johnson administration has once again been accused of breaching the rules of its Brexit agreement with Brussels. On Monday, the EU launched legal action against the UK following Johnson’s unilateral attempt to extend a grace period on food imports to Northern Ireland. An earlier UK plan to violate international Brexit law received a quick rebuke from Biden.

For a nation reminiscent of times gone by, the words of such a hymn, “Rule Britannia, Britannia, government the ondes,” have less resonance in these days of riding a powerful wave and more of letting go. -to get involved in misfortune and bad judgment.

Not so long ago, under the charismatic Labor leader Tony Blair, the United Kingdom was nicknamed “Cool Britannia” with a confident braggart, seemingly enjoying the tide of global goodwill as it did in the 1960s when the Beatles took over. the world by storm.

It’s hard to tell when the UK brilliance started to lose luster. Blair courted the catastrophe when he backed the United States in the unpopular invasion of Iraq in 2003, but held power until 2007 and maintained the illusion of popularity for a few more years. But Blair never fully regained his much-appreciated international stature.

The UK’s current trajectory towards the current low-level international depression may have its roots in Brexit, which made little sense to many Europeans (and 48% of Britons). Perhaps now there is also the unfortunate alignment of political incompetence during the pandemic. It is also possible that the roots of reputational decline are much deeper and more typical of faded empires.

Of course, none of this explains older men in uniforms kneeling among women protesting violence against other women. The UK now has a wide variety of perception problems that it must possess and solve on its own.

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