Nicholas Leonard: Broke Britain clinging to role as global power
'WE were on the brink of bankruptcy," said the UK chancellor George Osborne yesterday as he tried to defend his draconian package of spending cuts and tax rises which will be revealed in detail on Wednesday.
But, like the impoverished inheritor of a crumbling stately home, the prime minister, David Cameron, is finding it hard to abandon the imperial ambitions of his predecessors.
The former US secretary of state, Dean Acheson, famously remarked back in 1962 that "Britain has lost an empire but has not yet found a role". Cameron was not born until four years after that speech but the strategic dilemma posed by Acheson has, if anything, intensified in the decades since then.