You do have to wonder what liberal America must think of Britain. It is a nation of, according to its paper of record, swamp-dwelling, boiled mutton munching, insular little Englanders. Indeed, the New York Times’s latest profile of Covid Britain only serves to compound this mythical vision of a floundering, backwards country.
The report in question presents a country unable to conform to even basic COVID measures — Brits refusing to mask up in crowded grocers and crammed onto public transport. Via an awkward segue, with an apparent lack of irony, the author invokes the London of the Blitz (they’re the ones obsessed with World War Two, huh?) before asking: ‘How did that society turn into this one?’
The answer is, of course, Brexit. The United Kingdom is now a nation in decay:
‘When my family moved to London from New York in 2016, we were immediately struck by how tightly regulated everything seemed to be.
‘In place of the crumbling New York subway, we encountered well-functioning facilities overseen by uniformed people who were pleasantly available for counsel. The post office was not an ordeal. Heathrow Airport was a marvel of efficiency. Competent people appeared to be in charge.
‘The first alteration to this impression came courtesy of Brexit, Britain’s bewildering, torturous (and continuing!) abandonment of the European Union.’
Cockburn should have guessed. The UK’s woes are down to Brexit. What else could it be when it’s the New York Times writing the story?
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.