Reading the Daily Telegraph last weekend, I was not in the least surprised to read its reporting that Donald Trump’s administration is warning Britain, its closest ally, that it will not get a free trade deal unless a new tax affecting US tech giants is dropped. US officials are demanding that the so-called Digital Services tax, affecting the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook and Twitter, is ditched before it becomes law in the autumn. The threat has been communicated to the UK Government at ‘multiple levels’, and has emerged as one of the most significant hurdles to Boris Johnson’s hopes of a speedy agreement. In my previous blogs, I was adamant in my views that the so-called special relationship with the United Sates has always been a myth, and worse still with the present administration of Trump, whose motives are often subject to whims and political expedience, as he sees them with the passage of time.
The new UK administration, as Johnson takes over, is now beginning to lose its shine, not only with the British public but also with its allies in Europe. Again referring to the Daily Telegraph, which throughout the Brexit hysteria has invariably been on the side of those hard-core Brexiteers whose motives are often inexplicable, now reports that the confidence of the German public in Britain as a reliable ally has collapsed in the face of the current Brexit stand-off: a poll has found only a third of Germans still believe the UK can be trusted, according to the findings – a drop of 17% since Johnson became Prime Minister.
It is the lowest figure ever recorded in the UK by the Deutschland Trend Survey for ARD Television, which has been tracking German public opinion of key allies since 2007. And in further evidence, Germans the man known in their popular press as ‘Brexit Boris’, more than two-thirds of those polled, said they believe relations between Britain and the EU will deteriorate under his premiership.
‘Boris Johnson has been leading the British government since last week, and his accession to office had affected the image of the UK in Germany,’ Infratest Dimap, the German polling company behind the survey, said in its report: ‘Hardly anyone believes that relations between the EU and UK can get closer under the new prime minister.’
Britain has long been one of Germany’s most trusted allies, according to the findings of the poll, regularly coming second only to France. German public trust in the UK dropped from a 2008 high of 85% in the wake of the 2016 referendum, but remained above 50% throughout Theresa May’s premiership. As recently as February – the most recent figures available – as it became clear Mrs May did not have the necessary support in Parliament for her withdrawal agreement, 54% of Germans still believed Britain was a reliable partner. But that figure has now dropped to 37% in the face of Mr Johnson’s hard-line approach.
It is very disturbing, but I remain convinced that to put our faith in Donald Trump and alienate the rest of the world is sheer madness. It can only harm our own reputation in the world and seriously affect our economy for years to come. The division in our nation will remain catastrophic unless we think carefully ahead without the bias that could eventually do us no end of harm. Although I wasn’t born in Britain, I love the country of my adoption and choose to live nowhere else. I’ll hold my ground, however, and fight for its return to glory.