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Mihir Sharma

Boris Johnson Is Undermining Britain’s One Superpower

The Tory government has diminished the country’s soft-power appeal with pointless cultural attacks, most recently on European-inspired human-rights legislation. 

At the Queen’s Speech. 

At the Queen’s Speech. 

Photographer: Hannah McKay - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants “Global Britain” to be seen as a superpower once again. While his Conservative government doesn’t seem quite certain how to manage this, it argued in a landmark policy paper last year that, in one area at least, the goal had already been achieved: The United Kingdom was a “soft-power superpower.”

According to the government, this strength is “rooted in who we are as a country: our values and way of life, and the vibrancy and diversity of our Union.” It's odd, then, that Johnson and his ministers are at the same time assiduously working to diminish Britain’s soft power along almost every dimension.