The “global Britain” mantra was adopted by Theresa May at the 2016 Conservative party conference in an attempt to define the country’s post-Brexit relationship with the world. According to the Foreign Office, it means “investing in our relationships, championing the rules-based international order and demonstrating that the UK is open, outward-looking and confident on the world stage”.  

The fact that this is what postwar Britain has always done, or tried to do, has not deterred Boris Johnson from pretending it is a new idea. Yet his government has repeatedly failed to articulate coherent strategies for realising these laudable aims. At a time when key relationships with the US, Europe and China face enormous strain, this lack of vision and direction is very damaging...

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