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Is Britain still a major economic power?

21:51 UK time, Monday, 15 November 2010

David Cameron says that Britain is still a "great economic power" despite having to make major spending cuts in order to reduce the UK's budget deficit. Is Britain on the decline in its world role?

Mr Cameron said his foreign policy must become more commercially driven if Britain is to carry weight on the international stage.

Delivering his first set-piece Guildhall speech on foreign policy, the prime minister added that Britain would need to link its economy to the fastest growing parts of the world including emerging markets such as India, South Africa, Brazil and Russia.

Is a more commercial foreign policy the right approach? What type of relationship should Britain have with emerging markets? How do you view Britain's role on a world stage?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    No major economic power? My rear end.

  • Comment number 2.

    No.

  • Comment number 3.

    We do a good line in selling weapons, that destabilises the world because there will be no point selling weapons if we also do not stoke conflicts.

  • Comment number 4.

    No.

    Britains best cash creation industries been sold to overseas interests, the country has been overloaded with millions of immigrants which will eventually bring down the welfare state and the NHS, and the financial system has been bankrupted by the bankers.

    All that's left to pick over is the bones.
    Me old dad said that if he was a young man again he'd emigrate.

    I'm sticking around, fascinated to see how bad things have to get before people wake up.
    It took two world wars and the great depression the last time...so things will have to get "pretty bad" IMO.

  • Comment number 5.

    I presume "commercial foreign policy" means sucking up to countries like China and Saudi Arabia, ignore their corrupt regimes as long as we can make money. Yes, Britain is on the decline. It's just a haven for the world's garbage to get free housing.

  • Comment number 6.

    Britain has been on the decline for years.

  • Comment number 7.

    Compared to Malta yes, to China perhaps less so.


  • Comment number 8.

    Britain has been on the slippery slope of decline for the past 30 years!
    Wake up Mr Cameron and read the last 30 years of British history. Where have all the car makers gone? Coal miners? Steel producers?; The list grows on a yearly basis. The latest being the 'outsoursing'(a very neat way for the already rich to get even richer) that in turn adds to the already OTT imports and even less exports! Then there's the very high rate of imagration! NO jobs = No tax payments = No money to invest or to run the NHS, Education etc etc etc.!
    So NO Britain is NOT great in any way. The great should be removed from the GB and should be just Britain. Just as the words in that very old song should be changed .... Rule Britainia. Britania rules the waves! Yey! Right! LOL!
    Time to buck up or look up .... To China, India and South Korea! The next Super Powers just waiting in the wings!

  • Comment number 9.

    Is Britain still a major economic power?

    Hilarious question - I cannot stop laughing - I nominate the HYS question writer for an Honorary membership of the HYS Monty Python appreciation society


    Still laughing.......;-)

  • Comment number 10.

    The UK must import technology. Modern business relies on the tech sector for office and plant IT. The new Republican HOR in Washington DC promises free export of commodities.

  • Comment number 11.

    I disagree with alot of the 'no' remarks on here. I work in aerospace, and I am very proud of the sector I work in - we compete on a global level against some ferocious companies and before a cynic says "It's British engineering that causes Rolls-Royce engines to explode" think about the amount of success Rolls enjoys in the engine market place. Their diversification to other industries (marine, nuclear, wind power etc) is because of their good reputation and success in aerospace, driven by the skills of their engineers.

    Equally, the UK space industry (satellites & communications) have seen growth throughout the period of global recession, and this is another strong British industry which also must be cherished.

    In these industries which, granted, make up only a fraction of our GDP, we are world players, and we definitely have the right approach.

  • Comment number 12.

    "Can Britain improve it's economic and foreign policy"?

    Absolutely. However, this situation already exists. Biotech and green industries researched and invented in Britain are already victims of a 21st Century 'brain drain' to emerging markets.

    However, let's not be despondent while our NHS pays for medications that are imported and then immediately exported by major wholesalers in the UK and sold for a higher price outside the EU, thus creating NHS medication shortages for patients in the UK? It used to be called parallel importing? Oh, it still is, and still legally allowed.

    Whatever? As long as these companies are contributing to the economy?

  • Comment number 13.

    How can he have made the statement "we are undiminished as a military power" when he has signed off on One of the worst decisions ever mede in that sphere, the removal of our ability to operate fixed wing aircraft at sea for at least 10 years and probably forever.

  • Comment number 14.

    We are a third world country complete with corrupt and delusional leaders.

    Wake up dave

  • Comment number 15.

    Well, dear me! Who let loose all the angry old men? The world has changed. Get over it, Live with it, or Be miserable!

  • Comment number 16.

    The greedy moneymen of this country have NEVER imvested in the longterm like it's German conterpart. Everything is about a quick buck turnaround--sod the workers and longterm properity and continuity. Thats why all this countries genious for invention and dicovery was never properly developed and prolonged. Other less able contries seized on this talent and ended up making massive fortunes out of our ideas. There's a hell of a long history of it. We are run by spiv money grubbing asset strippers.

  • Comment number 17.

    What good is fighting for this if your country is not behind you.

  • Comment number 18.

    A major economic country would be able to look after their own people, so no Britain is way down the league. Only the rich are able to afford to have good food, to have a good education, a career, home and family with a right to real justice. The poor are heading for the 'poor houses' which would be re-introduced, if the Government could get away with it, as they are ripping up 'Our Human Rights' to be secure and not live a human existence of having the right to having a decent home and family.
    If the political parties had any decency they should all hold their head because they have sold our country off to the highest bidder for their own political survival.

    No our country has gone to the dogs, it is just a shame that I am not young enough to go and emergrate elsewhere.

  • Comment number 19.

    No mention of increasing manufacturing output. Just increased wealth via the Super Casino in the City of London.

  • Comment number 20.

    Only in the mind of Cameron and Clegg.

    We have little influence andn less importance.

  • Comment number 21.

    Yes, the UK is still a major economic power. But that power has declined considerably and is still fast slipping away. The reason is simple: the population has been conditioned to think it deserves more material wealth than it can actually earn, while at the same time the costs of doing anything have been driven up by trade union power, regulatory 'red tape' and taxation to support a bloated civil service.
    WE CAN REGAIN ECONOMIC POWER ONLY BY SACRIFICING OUR ARTIFICIALLY HIGH STANDARD OF LIVING AND CUTTING OUT UNPRODUCTIVE ACTIVITY.
    Successive weak governments (including the present one, in truth) have presided over this downward slide, led by career politicians who are afraid it seems to challenge the liberal-social democratic consensus.
    Unless a strong leader emerges who can get a proper grip, the UK seem doomed to slip into obscurity and within 30 years will have little or no influence in world affairs.

  • Comment number 22.

    Is Britain still a major economic power?

    Great Britain's worth is being measured by the amount in it's treasury and not the money in it's peoples pocket.

    I don't like the explanation being used stating a false reason for spending cuts in order to reduce the United Kingdom's budget deficit. The United States uses that line too with the posturing of saying one party or the other is to blame for resolutions paid for by the people never coming to pass.

    The problem is the governments concern, measuring it's wealth and not the wealth of it's people.

  • Comment number 23.

    Whilst establishment mouthpieces like Cameron blow hard about how important the UK is, we are supposed to be reassured that the cold, dead hand of said establishment is taking care of "our" business. There is nothing left for them to sell, except perhaps, us. If work in this country becomes even more rare than it is now, perhaps we are supposed to clear out of the place en-masse. Then the Camerons, Cleggs, and all the other toffs can spread out in their country estates, with only their servants- grateful to be serving them - and without the great unwashed to bother them.
    Think I'm joking? Its part of the tory dream!

  • Comment number 24.

    10. At 10:25pm on 15 Nov 2010, Dustin83v wrote:

    "The UK must import technology. Modern business relies on the tech sector for office and plant IT. The new Republican HOR in Washington DC promises free export of commodities. "

    How much more wrong can you get?

    The UK needs to invest in technology, and use it as an export, or a means to create exports... and get some money coming in to the country. Importing everything isn't the answer.

    India (and others) seem to do very nicely by exporting low cost technology services to the UK.

    What the UK must do is export "up the food chain" to countries with more money than us - and there must be plenty of countries with more money than the UK, these days.

  • Comment number 25.

    No. We have nothing the world needs. We make next to nothing and have no natural resources to speak of to export. Our only remaining 'industry', banking, is sliding slowly away as investors and money move east. Due to our slavish servitude to the US we have no respect.

    We are a small, bankrupt, island with delusions of grandeur in a big world.

  • Comment number 26.

    It is rather laughable to suggest that Britain could possibly be a power! Our country is a laughing stock to the rest of the world, We are that soft on all sorts of topics no wonder every man and his dog want to live here, the more that come the deeper in the mire we seem to plunge.
    Compensation for prisoners, and give them a vote too! This country SHOUTS
    Pathetic across the world to me, and will never be a super power again until it grows a pair of b....

  • Comment number 27.

    In order to be a major economic power you have to spend lots of money in foreign countries, given the amount we import, we spend quite alot abroad relative to our size but that's not a good thing. Britain does punch above its weight internationally, whether its accurate to describe it as a great economic (Cameron said great not major) depends on how you define great but I wouldn't have thought many independant commentators would agree.
    Britains main claim to be a great economic power stems from the power of Londons economic markets, a status due more to American incompetance in the 70's/80s rather than any great strength on Britains part.

    Britains need to trade more with emerging economies has nothing to do with maintaining its status as a great economic power (if it indeed has that status). It's about making money, the conservatives have put out garbage that the private sector creates wealth and the public sector doesn't so if you move workers from the public to private sector you will automatically create wealth. The truth is that a nation generates wealth by selling goods and services abroad, not only that but if you want substained growth and wealth creation then you have to export more than you import and the conservatives know this. The developed economies are pretty stagnant at the moment and even if they weren't they wouldn't want to dramatically increase the amount they buy from us. The developing economies of the far East are still growing at a healthy rate and they are potentially interested in buying more goods from us. If we want our economy to experienced substained growth and create wealth then we need to put serious effort into selling more to them. The conservatives have, since they came to power, been doing just that though it hasn't always made the news while at home they tell fairy stories about how having road sweepers and the like employed by the private sector will magically create wealth and solve our economic problems.

  • Comment number 28.

    I wish Britain were as a put by Cameron "a great economic power". Sadly however we are not. We only need to see the mass of redudnancies happening across the country at present time to see that we are not in a fit economic state let alone some sort of financial superpower.

    My one great hope as deluded and as ridiculous as it seems is that one day, Britain will have a sound growing economy as well as having a Prime Minister, who instead of trying to paper over the cracks by making grand statements such as the one in the title of this blog, actually gets on with trying to find solutions that make us a great economic power instead of yapping on about how he is going to do it.

  • Comment number 29.

    Britain is heading for the toilet. We need jobs and so far our coalition clowns have done NOTHING to create jobs but everything to destroy them. The financial policies of this government are going to bring us to our knees and we have already had riots in the streets again like we did the last time the Tories were in power. I predict more riots.

    I just don't see how the government slashing hundreds of thousands of jobs is going to fix our economy. How can increasing unemployment ever be good for any economy ? Even a child knows better.

  • Comment number 30.

    Post #03 'ian cheese'. Again. Looking at your HYS post history - well, the mods don't need to protect me from my own comments about you. I have written none, and don't need to.

    Your own HYS post history speaks volumes about you.

  • Comment number 31.

    We ceased being that when we stopped making and selling goods.We are told that we are great because we provide financial services-hogwash!Look where that has got us in the lasr few years.We are a very small country in the middle of the ocean which has been bled dry by spivs,foriegners,starving Africans and greedy bankers.We could be great again but not with politicians who constantly paint us with their version of "how they see it" NOT how it should be.

  • Comment number 32.

    Were we ever? We've lost many of the things that helped our economy - steel, cars, coal to name but 3. And surely a major economic power has the responsibility to look after its vulnerable people? Thinking about Remembrance Sunday yesterday I was reminded that as a small girl I would be in the town centre on a Saturday and see WW1 veterans selling shoelaces etc. to try and make some money. I can see those days coming again. Who once said we would have a land fit for heroes?

  • Comment number 33.

    Ha! No.

  • Comment number 34.

    21. At 10:49pm on 15 Nov 2010, Rabbitkiller wrote:
    Yes, the UK is still a major economic power. But that power has declined considerably and is still fast slipping away. The reason is simple: the population has been conditioned to think it deserves more material wealth than it can actually earn, while at the same time the costs of doing anything have been driven up by trade union power, regulatory 'red tape' and taxation to support a bloated civil service.
    WE CAN REGAIN ECONOMIC POWER ONLY BY SACRIFICING OUR ARTIFICIALLY HIGH STANDARD OF LIVING AND CUTTING OUT UNPRODUCTIVE ACTIVITY.
    Successive weak governments (including the present one, in truth) have presided over this downward slide, led by career politicians who are afraid it seems to challenge the liberal-social democratic consensus.
    Unless a strong leader emerges who can get a proper grip, the UK seem doomed to slip into obscurity and within 30 years will have little or no influence in world affairs.
    =====================================================================
    Yes bring back slavery.

  • Comment number 35.

    Britain remains one of the richest few nations in the world. The problem is 95% of UK wealth is in the hands of the richest 3% of the population. These people don't part with their money so it never gets distributed to the working people. It stays in their private bank accounts and so therefore is not used to help our economy.

  • Comment number 36.

    No, and nor has it since about 1913 been 'punching above its weight at the top table' (to combine the two most-used idiotic metaphors so beloved of politicians).
    We are a medium-sized reasonably advanced nation state just off the coast of Europe. No more and no less. We have the burden of living with an illustrious history of Empire which has been gone these 60 years. The illusions of being a well educated, high-tech, economy, with clean, highly profitable manufacturing, scientifically based farming and superior service industries finally vanished when the prospect of world importance through financial services was shown to be the mirage it always was.
    To use the well-worn phrase from WW1, for the last 60 years or so the British people have been lions led by donkeys.

  • Comment number 37.

    ==I disagree with alot of the 'no' remarks on here. I work in aerospace==

    Most of that work is military work, government paychecks stuff, and there aint much future in relying on THIS government.

    RR engines is our last private fingernail holding on, and if it has a rocky ride for only a few years it will be unsupported by our government and allowed to die, just like every other major British job and skills creating industry before it.

    It's incredible how much has been allowed to crash an burn in Britain.
    The French and the Germans still have a load of industries, cars and shipbuilding to name a couple, they still even make their own Jets in France.

    Now if you were an employee in a FRENCH aerospace company you might have a future.

    In Britain...well enjoy that job while it lasts buddy, because it won't last, this is Britain.
    All I can say after 50 years in the UK is:
    Make sure your pension crystallises when there's a takeover, don't sign nuffink except a resignation form dated on the Friday before the takeover date.
    If they really do love you they can rehire ya as a restart on Monday.

  • Comment number 38.

    Is Britain still a major economic power?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

    Yes and we're also really good at football & cricket too.

  • Comment number 39.

    The UK has declined to Third World status, with third world calibre leaders.

  • Comment number 40.

    Ha, ha, a major what?

  • Comment number 41.

    Our policy on giving aid should cut we currently give 3 Bn more than Japan which has the 3 largest economy and twice as many people as the UK

    We should also only allow foreign access to UK markets if foreign companies do the same. e.g. t You can only buy (or set up in the UK) if UK companies are allowed to do the same overseas. e.g. The power generation companies were prevented from buying each other by uk law (preventing them from getting to big thus stopping competition) but then bigger foreign companies bought them like EDF but using French law stopping the UK companies from buying EDF

    Some country markets are a closed shop but we still allow them access to the UK market that should end,

  • Comment number 42.

    Yes, Sure, who are we trying to kid...

  • Comment number 43.

    ==I disagree with alot of the 'no' remarks on here. I work in aerospace, and I am very proud of the sector I work in==

    This is what was canned in the 1957 tory review.
    The hawker p.1121
    http://prototypes.free.fr/p1127/image/p1121_01.jpg

    The p.1127 did survive, it became the Harrier.
    It doesn't matter how good or amazing you are, in Britain you eventually wind up as toast.

  • Comment number 44.

    Britain is ranked 6th in terms of GDP, only 7 times & 4 times smaller than the US & China, respectively. This is out of roughly 195 countries. So we are still a major economic power &, yes, our Tridents alone make us a major military power because we can still obliterate many cities with just one of them!

  • Comment number 45.

    errrr not really. Our domestic GDP comprises a very top-heavy service sector that is to say the least "fragile" and with the ascent of the dragon we have little potential of punching above our weight unless we work closely with the haymaker and Simon Cowell. talking of which we are a powerhose in global media and integrated culture and the UK is punching its weight with offerings such as: everybody single person in the world has got talent, the apparatus, Y factor, so you think you can prance, how much is my old teapot worth, a place in the radiation, I'm a reality TV star get me out of KFC, Jeremy Pile, big bruvver and the weakest blink. Interestingly commentators are suggesting that globalisation is also adding much value to the economy particularly in banking and the insurance where guranteed bailouts mean that the Ruperts get to slide up the greasy pole with no fear of downward force.

  • Comment number 46.

    Post #08 @ 10:23pm on 15 Nov - 'kevthebrit'

    All posts on the BBC HYS international site are really welcome. However, please don't pretend to be British or any other nationality. Be your own nationality and be honest. Thank you.

  • Comment number 47.

    "
    39. At 11:15pm on 15 Nov 2010, OwainGlyndwr wrote:

    The UK has declined to Third World status, with third world calibre leaders.
    "

    That's to make the people arriving into the country feel at home.

  • Comment number 48.

    9. At 10:24pm on 15 Nov 2010, The Ghosts of John Galt wrote:
    Is Britain still a major economic power?

    Hilarious question - I cannot stop laughing - I nominate the HYS question writer for an Honorary membership of the HYS Monty Python appreciation society


    Still laughing.......;-)
    ------------

    You may laugh but please see my previous post.

  • Comment number 49.

    This is cuckoo speech land Cameron`s making and living in, the illusionists view at worst. astonishing claims pitted against the reality of a wilted economical, industrial and finacially melted and broken Britain, is this guy serious. This country is in debt of well over a Trillion, this does`nt take into account the daily payable interest on the debt. As the Republic of Ireland`s financial demise is laid shamingly bare, we should take no comfort in that we are not in the corrupt toytown and euro club, making us seem as though we are better off. It`s just a question of time, that some institution like the rotten Bank of England murmmers out, "well actually as a nation, we are bankrupt". Maybe an attack of open honesty would be well in order, how about someone saying, "actually it is illegal for the government to keep on spending money we no longer possess and that it "is our money". The government does`nt have money, it never ever had. It spends ours, and per "every" head of population to clear the debt we owe, 10`s of thousands of pounds will be needed from each individual, I don`t think our great grandchildren are going to be pleased about that-paying of our debt. So if that is`nt bankruptcy, what is. We are no longer a great economic power our industrial base is gone, we can`t export our service industry. We lost our influence backing these wretched wars. Scrapping the most versatile proven plane, the Harrier is so stupid it is beyond belief, and who ever heard of a navy without planeless carriers. As for Britain on the world stage. This once great has become a sad joke. Humpty Dumpty says it all.

  • Comment number 50.

    Rowntree Mackintosh was taken over by Nestle.

    Swiss law bans any foreign company from taking over Nestle but we just let them take over our company.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rowntree's

  • Comment number 51.

    Cameron is not living in the real world as he is determined to destroy what is left of Britain and it's fragile economy.


    HYS you are seriously having a laugh!!

  • Comment number 52.

    My own theory is our politicians wish to become part of a new European super-elite, just like all those European monarchies before World War One, and they will happily sell this country and its people down the river to become fully paid up members of the "House of Europe".

    They've even got the French running our military now.

  • Comment number 53.

    Any chance of my gas boiler, providing basic hot water and heating, getting fixed without getting ripped off by the 'B'i-g 'G'-ys?

    So many energy companies increasingly employ, and rely on, franchised and self-employed gas engineers who drive around in vans with major energy company logos.

    The most difficult aspect is that many 'gas' engineers are not qualified to deal with electrical problems connected with most boiler problems.

  • Comment number 54.

    So, David Cameron says that Britain is:-
    a – “Still a "great economic power"
    b – “Have to make major spending cuts in order to reduce the UK's budget deficit”
    Now that's what I call superlative Orwellian doublethink.

  • Comment number 55.

    Sorry about my last post - got confused with Britain, power and economics?

    Naturally, I wouldn't dream of suggesting that as heat and light is SO expensive in the UK, that any famous company would fail their customers in fairly charging and competently fixing their gas boilers!

  • Comment number 56.

    ==No mention of increasing manufacturing output. Just increased wealth via the Super Casino in the City of London.==

    Absolutely spot on.

    For Britain, everything now hinges on The City of London Supercasino because there's nothing left that makes big wodges of cash.

  • Comment number 57.

    This blog gives a very deep insight into British island psyche. From time to time PM's go and tell people what they desperately want to hear. That what looks like an ordinary mid-sized island nation from outside is in fact a glorious, globally admired superpower.

  • Comment number 58.

    As producers and exporters we rank well below many countries. We're on a brink of bankruptcy and yet we're still ploughing ahead with our commitments regardless of whether they can be paid for or not.

  • Comment number 59.

    Sorry, my personal rant is over. Am serious now - unlike post #56 @ 11:52 on 15 Nov - 'ady'.

    Did you proof read your post 'ady' - oh, yes, of course you did - and we'll remember that because - irony is one thing - but insults are rarely forgotten, judging by this and your previous posts.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    Potless Britain, a country that makes nothing and has no cash or assets left, is a major world economic power?

    I should believe that because ...?

  • Comment number 62.

    ==No mention of increasing manufacturing output. Just increased wealth via the Super Casino in the City of London.==

    We've had a bit of bad luck on the City of London Supercasino front recently...a-bit-of-a-bad-run.

    Bank Bailout To Add up to £1.5 trillion to Public Debt
    http://www.money.co.uk/article/1002877-bank-bailout-to-add-up-to-1-5-trillion-to-public-debt.htm

    But don't worry guys.
    Like millions of unsuccessful gamblers before them, the British Government is now "doubling-up" to recoup our losses.

    Riches lie just around the corner...just one more bet...I can feel it in my bones...this one is a dead cert...

  • Comment number 63.

    No, we are not a major economic power and our politicians should stop strutting around the world stage pretending that we are.

    There used to be a saying back in the 50s/60s that I vaguely remember hearing as a child, which referred to someone who made extravagant attempts to appear well-to-do and wealthy in public, yet in private was really struggling to make ends meet. Britain can now definitely be described as being "all fur coat and no knickers".

  • Comment number 64.

    It depends what you mean by "economic decline". Long term, our share of the world economy has been falling since 1900, largely because once you have reached the top, the only way forward is down - ask the Americans - it's happening to them now. However, there is no need to get depressed. Ten years ago, the UK was the third biggest economy in the world - under the much maligned Blair/Brown combo. Cameron is right, largely because its obvious, in saying that our future lies in emerging markets. Fortunately, many of us realised this years ago and developed trade on world markets rather than within the protectionism of the EU. Source of manufacture no longer means anything, it's transport and buying and selling that makes money and creates jobs. But, it will only work if we lower taxes, invest more, stop fighting stupid wars, and leave the EU to rot in its corrupt, undemocratic, bureaucratic jungle.

  • Comment number 65.

    Post #62.

    Ah, lovely 'ady' your humour can be mildly entertaining - yet, increasingly fading and mildy disappointing and invariably less than that?

  • Comment number 66.

    The UK followed the American coporate example that you can export your manufacturing sector abroad to cheaper labor while still maintaining economic stability and standard of living at home even as you import unskilled foreign labor into your country to fill up the low paying jobs while squeezing your own people between the two strategies into a 'post-industrial' work force that produces nothing tangible to sell except e-servicing meaning electronic business chatter while the brick and mortar aspects are taken care of in some third world backwater at low wages and dubious workers rights. The new economic order congers up the image of a huge glass enclosed multistoried building filled with tens of thousands of identical cubicles manned by zombie-like workers viewing glowing screens and all saying "Please hold". Meanwhile the exploited outremer countries cease to be the exploited and make so much money off of this exported scheme in maufacturing by desperate companies that they, like China today, begin to buy the bonds, debt, and financial products of their business partner countries, like the US, to the point that the first world economies become hostage to the good will of the emerging nations. This turns into a vicious cycle since to cut off the simbiotic relationship means economic collapse for the first order countries. Thus countries like the US and UK become 'junkies' on the influx of foreign capital to sustain and keep afloat an economy that is constantly hemorrhaging to maintain a standard of living that is delusional in its false sense of security. When the natives become restless that something is amiss because their currency is crashing 'austerity measures' are implemented to keep the foreign investors interested and their money coming. As for the simple Joe in the street all this flies over his head and he is swept hither and dither along with the current clinging to the little he has lest that too be taken away from him. Changing of the guard in government usually means nothing since the cancer is terminal and no bleating politician is capable of exorcising the disease only applying paliative balms by unpopular austerity measures once again as in France while Sarkozy gambits about the world showing off his new ultraexpensive 'Sarko One' presidential airplane because national pride can often conceal the shabbiness of a state. Yes the Emperor does have clothes but at whose expense? Usually at the expense of the peasants. You call yourself a power if the least of your citizens is humanely cared for. Anything else is braggadocio.

  • Comment number 67.

    Britain still is a major economic force. Only a nosedive economy, but with a mightly currency

  • Comment number 68.

    Yes?
    According to nationmaster.com we are in position 6 for Highest GDP and position 13 for highest GDP per capita, so why are respondents here so miserable? (well .. apart from the fact that the city in London has recently raped us, and will continue to so until we are among the also rans of global economic powers)

  • Comment number 69.

    Britain still is a major force in world's economy. Only a nosedived economy, but with a mightly currency.

  • Comment number 70.

    Is a more commercial foreign policy the right approach? What type of relationship should Britain have with emerging markets?
    Yes, without a shadow of doubt. Britain is still a major force to reckon with in the world's economy. Plus, the pound is still very strong and going no where soon! Absolutely, commerce, our values and the relationships build over the years and based on solid foundations all over the world should be driving our foreign policy and nothing else. We should be at the fore-front of the emerging markets driving and supporting them as well as benefitting from the trade potential that exists between us but I would add with ethical considerations at all times. Never give up values/trade values for unethical practices. That's how to be a credible leader that everyone looks up to and citizens are proud of.

  • Comment number 71.

    No all the manufacturing jobs have gone to china; the technology and products invented here are sold or sent to china, manufactured with cheap slave labour and sold back to us at a high price. The country can’t survive with a just a banking service sector, even if it wasn’t a corrupt, disgustingly elitist right arm of the ruling class. If Cameron wants us to be an economic and world power, without being a fascist dictatorship, stop punishing one half of society for the very large failings of the other half, start bringing the jobs back from china and India and promote local businesses at the expense of large multinational corporations. This man seems to good handle on reality http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_LeKDM6C3g&feature=player_embedded

  • Comment number 72.

    The UK is in financial decline.

    The reasons; social standards have been replaced by pandering to political correctness, uncontrolled immigration, rampant social spending (highest claims in Europe for benefits), 13-yrs of Labour government, persecution of the working middle class (over taxed and over worked), two unwinnable wars, foreign aid handed out to countries that squander their resources and their people, corruption within the UK governments, needless payouts to irregular soldiers (AKA terrorists) caught in war zones, financial drain of the Commonwealth, wasted north sea resources, etc. The list goes on….

    Sadly, the UK population will pay the price.

    Successive governments have allowed UK jobs to be exported to the emerging economies. In one breath our leaders speak of human rights and in another they cut a shady deal. It’s a disgrace. PEOPLE OF THE UK WAKE UP, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE….

  • Comment number 73.

    Noted a typo which should have read 'built' and not 'build'. Apologies!

  • Comment number 74.

    Our country has been in decline since 1979 when the enemy within was elected and since then every government has done their best to destroy our industry and culture. We have been forced into an unplayable debt so there is little hope of us investing in new industries plus the free market and our Banker rulers don’t allow state intervention. So we are now oppressed financially and industrially. Forced into a hole we cannot get out of by greed.

    Our Party system has been corrupted to a point were we have no choice,. They are all the same Corporate, Capitalist Gang members who preach democracy and practice dictatorship. Hypocrites of the highest order and criminals of the worst kind. They robbed us in plain sight then talk of justice. Sell our industries then call us lazy. Who are these people? I do not see a patriot among them and we know if they were asked to pay their dues to save our nation, they would flee offshore in avoidance.

    I still believe that Britain is the greatest country in the world and we are a good people But we are always blamed for what our Upper-class and Governments have done. I know that whilst we are being oppressed the world will be a worse place for it. We should be moving forward yet we are being forced back to an impoverished existence for the sake of a few greedy pigs. What we need is a vision to work towards and that vision should be a future for all by all but at the moment we are blinded by selfishness and greed but I know once this blindfold has been lifted from our eyes we will create a world healthy once more for all Gods peoples.

  • Comment number 75.

    This country has not been an economic power since before the great depression.

  • Comment number 76.

    Not after you pay those Guantanamo Terrorists millions of pounds you won't be, I think Liberalism has turned your brains to mush, your toast.

  • Comment number 77.

    Cameron's definition of a major economic power is one where a lot of money comes into the country. I'm sure it does. The problem is, most of it goes into the pockets of a very small minority (Cameron's friends), and the rest goes straight out again.

    For the rest of us, with no industries to work in beyond call-centres that are being outsourced abroad, no pensions left, no houses to buy, no money to buy them even if there were any, and those that have them forced to sell them for their care in old age, and then all of us being taxed to the hilt... and then taxed again... there's little hope left.

    As for being "on the world stage"... sadly, Britain exited stage left quite some time ago. The curtain has already come down, and someone (probably a foreigner) is quietly sweeping up in an empty theatre...

  • Comment number 78.

    "Payout for ex-Guantanamo inmates." Britain is a world FARCE!

  • Comment number 79.

    The decline in British exports increase under New Labour .

    New Labour allowed not only the exportation of British Goods But also allowed the export of WHOLE British Industries and Manufacturing Jobs...

    What did Blair and Brown says about the minimum wage? Something like It would not effect jobs!! It effected the whole of British Industry not just the jobs ,, New Labour could not have done much to damage Manufacturing and unions...
    Then Ne Labour marched on to saturate the public sector with countless unsustainable public sector jobs , That Basically was to cover up the employment lost in British Manufacturing ..
    Those jobs now have to be shed along with other many other to rebalance public and private sector employment ratio's


    Many Public sector services will suffer until British industries start to supply both the home and export market again ,

    It is doubtful that the UK will every attain the level of export surpluses it once enjoyed .
    Having said that ,there is no reason why the UK can not Hold
    it place with in the G8... ONCE the damage done by day dreaming political theorists is reversed and repaired

    There again who cares

  • Comment number 80.


    This HYS question is for entertainment value only.

    HOwever the same question was being asked in the 60's 70's 80's. We've been written of more times than I've had hot dinners.
    Watch the Keiser report on Russia today, the UK and US are likely to be starving to death very shortly simply to repay our debts.

    Well don't forget the supposed new superpowers China/India can't survive without Western buyers for their cheap crappy products, and that's what they're really very worried about.
    The US can print more and more money for years to come they have over 8000 tonnes of gold stashed away in Fort Knox to back it up. As paper money and economies fold Gold prices will rise further and further and they can print even more of it, fact.
    Pity about Jock selling all ours off though.


  • Comment number 81.

    "David Cameron says that Britain is still a "great economic power" despite having to make major spending cuts in order to reduce the UK's budget deficit. "

    The country no longer makes enough to be a great economic power the bankers have seen to that. Now the lawyers fight for free access for everyone and compensation and free housing for all those who claim government brutality.

  • Comment number 82.

    How long will remaining industries last, e.g. aerospace, shipbuilding andnuclear energy after idiot politicians,lawyers and bankers have got involved?

  • Comment number 83.

    Isn't capitalism dead now that George Soros has bankrupted us? Where is that glorious new dawn age he promised?

  • Comment number 84.

    The French and the Germans still have a load of industries, cars and shipbuilding to name a couple, they still even make their own Jets in France.

    Now if you were an employee in a FRENCH aerospace company you might have a future.
    _______________________

    Then again you might not, France and Germany heavily subsidise their industries, they are'nt likely to continue.
    In germany they are now seriously talking about raising the retirement age to 70 or 72 as their only option, and that's in a country that can't blame the housing market for all its woes.

    Its a great pity the UK is now a low wage economy and that's why people on average wage have to borrow money for even the most basic necessities, Cooker, Fridges, TV, not just cars and houses, and look at the interest rates they're forced to pay anything up to 30%.

    Banks can charge exactly what they like, govts have done absolutely nothing, & quite happy to see pensioners shivvering as they face yet more and more Gas and Elec price-rises.
    This country is an absolute disgrace.


  • Comment number 85.

    To be fair, there are still energy & areospace sectors remaining highly competitive, albeit they won't provide that much employment. There are definitely electronics, engineering, bio-tech, maritime tech. etc. about which GB plays an important part in the international market.

    It just occurred to me nobody here have mentioned brain drain. Take Hollywood for example, it can never thrive without legions of British talents, why can't British film industry be more like French, a bit more self-sustaining? This may not be a very good example but are above-average British minds apt to work for overseas employers, particularly those in US, than their counterparts from other nations? I wouldn't call it a recent phenomenon either since it has been the case since perhaps WWII.

    The rise of England as a maritime super power in early 18th century was more or less due to King William III's strategy of transferring ship-building industry from Netherlands (then under Franch threat) to Britain, capital & technology aside, human resource was perhaps the decisive factor. Would Britain rise again if people who speak "English" stay put instead of migrating to other "English-speaking" countries?

  • Comment number 86.

    The UK has not been a major power since Queen Victoria and it lost its way during her reign. 3 English words, morality, immorality and amorality; morality means knowing what to do and doing it, immorality means knowing what to do and not doing it and amorality means not knowing what to do so doing your own thing. Having had 5 or 6 generations of going our own way we are lost and don't know how to stop the decline. We have no direction from our "leaders", remember the politicians last year how they scrambled to say they had done nothing wrong when they had been caught stealing. We are sliding into insignificance without being able to stop.

  • Comment number 87.

    At first, I naturally assumed that, being a politician, Cameron was simply a liar and spouted whatever nonsense he judged would best serve his ends. I am now beginning to think that I was mistaken, and that he actually believes at least some of the rubbish he comes out with. After all, this is the man who thought the Americans were fighting alongside us in 1940 and who, when fielding questions on the SDR, gave a patronising little lecture on the valuable service the Typhoon aircraft had performed in Afghanistan, despite the fact it has never served there.

    In this case, the key phrase is "Mr Cameron said his foreign policy must become more commercially driven", which translates as "it will give priority to the interests of big business, the people who pull the strings of every Tory government".

  • Comment number 88.

    It's not so much that Wealthy Nations are declining, but more that Developing Nations are closing the GAP faster than Wealthy Nations' ability to Adjust.

    So Fast that usual 'Rule Changes' to preserve the Status-Quo has been rendered Obsolete.
    The Game is evolving so fast that Rules have to be made-up on the Go, giving Up & Comers a 'SAY' to further their cause.

    Asked about China's Secret to Unprecedented Progress, Warren Buffet replied: "The SPEED with which they adapt".
    Western tendency to Study and Debate 'Obvious Changes' to death is a definite handicap in the Present Reality.

  • Comment number 89.

    Sad to say that while the masses carry on shopping in the UK, the piggy bank is running on empty. I'm just not sure when the crash is coming but unless we start competing in the export market big time, or get into partnership with the "sweatshop" tiger economies, it is only a question of time. We must reduce our cost of production and rid ourselves of avoidable cost of health & safety and environmental protection. Successful countries do not have this rubbish, nor a minimum wage. Quite why DC still thinks we are back in the heady days of the industrial revolution not just of the UK but the colonies, escapes me.

  • Comment number 90.

    We already have linked our economy to India, we pay billions in aid for a country which has it's own space program; which, funnily enough, costs the same as the aid we're sending. We've always been a 'world player'. Isn't Japan a world player? I don't see any Japanese army. Or are we taking about the 'world police' countries when we say 'world player'?

  • Comment number 91.

    Much as it pains me to say it, but Britain can only be classified as a major economic power if one compares it with, say, Italy, Spain, Australia and other second tier countries. By comparison with China, USA, Japan, Germany and soon India and Brazil, it is NOT.
    What ever happened to mining, ship-building, steel, the chemical industry, the car industry, and etc., that were so prominent not so many years ago?
    Why have these industries become so insignificant? It's too easy to blame 'The Unions', though I suspect that they played a part. I can't help feeling that an attitude of entitlement developed after WWII, particularly on the part of senior management and government.
    But perhaps the UK's economic decline is just part of the natural order of things - now it's the turn of others to be on the top of the economic pile.

  • Comment number 92.

    Errrrrrrrr, what did Cameron have for brekkies? The UK is broke, thanks to NewLieMore!

  • Comment number 93.

    asia is the future, goodby to the west it was nice knowing you

  • Comment number 94.

    This "country" is a has been. Put simply it was destroyed by corrupt, weak and ineffectual politicians whose sole interest was lining their own pockets but kept in place by police and financial institute collusion. We have no commercial foreign policy and emerging countries would probably be better off if they had no trade ties with us unless they insist we pay cash up front for our imports. They should remember the famous phrase from the previous British government "there is no money left".

  • Comment number 95.

    We won't be an economic power for very long if we keep making large million pound pay-out to foreign nationals which were detained in foreign prison by a foreign government.
    (why didn't they sue the government that held them in the first place)

    What makes me really angry is our government wouldn’t organise a random ( despise being an economic power) or a rescue attempt for those two British citizens
    How to stop this:- change the law

    We have become a country that doesn’t care about our own ( and our own business) to pretend that we care more about everyone else in the world.

  • Comment number 96.

    Still? I wasn't aware that it had become one.

  • Comment number 97.

    · 14. At 10:40pm on 15 Nov 2010, JonD wrote:
    We are a third world country complete with corrupt and delusional leaders.

    Wake up dave
    · 17. At 10:45pm on 15 Nov 2010, Alphao1 wrote:
    What good is fighting for this if your country is not behind you.
    · 18. At 10:46pm on 15 Nov 2010, Petrena wrote:
    A major economic country would be able to look after their own people, so no Britain is way down the league. Only the rich are able to afford to have good food, to have a good education, a career, home and family with a right to real justice. The poor are heading for the 'poor houses' which would be re-introduced, if the Government could get away with it, as they are ripping up 'Our Human Rights' to be secure and not live a human existence of having the right to having a decent home and family.
    If the political parties had any decency they should all hold their head because they have sold our country off to the highest bidder for their own political survival.

    No our country has gone to the dogs, it is just a shame that I am not young enough to go and emergrate elsewhere.
    · 25. At 10:59pm on 15 Nov 2010, Richard wrote:
    No. We have nothing the world needs. We make next to nothing and have no natural resources to speak of to export. Our only remaining 'industry', banking, is sliding slowly away as investors and money move east. Due to our slavish servitude to the US we have no respect.

    We are a small, bankrupt, island with delusions of grandeur in a big world.
    · 29. At 11:07pm on 15 Nov 2010, Icebloo wrote:
    Britain is heading for the toilet. We need jobs and so far our coalition clowns have done NOTHING to create jobs but everything to destroy them. The financial policies of this government are going to bring us to our knees and we have already had riots in the streets again like we did the last time the Tories were in power. I predict more riots.

    I just don't see how the government slashing hundreds of thousands of jobs is going to fix our economy. How can increasing unemployment ever be good for any economy ? Even a child knows better.
    · 72. At 02:01am on 16 Nov 2010, DPB wrote:
    The UK is in financial decline.

    The reasons; social standards have been replaced by pandering to political correctness, uncontrolled immigration, rampant social spending (highest claims in Europe for benefits), 13-yrs of Labour government, persecution of the working middle class (over taxed and over worked), two unwinnable wars, foreign aid handed out to countries that squander their resources and their people, corruption within the UK governments, needless payouts to irregular soldiers (AKA terrorists) caught in war zones, financial drain of the Commonwealth, wasted north sea resources, etc. The list goes on….

    Sadly, the UK population will pay the price.

    Successive governments have allowed UK jobs to be exported to the emerging economies. In one breath our leaders speak of human rights and in another they cut a shady deal. It’s a disgrace. PEOPLE OF THE UK WAKE UP, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE….
    I Rest My Case.

  • Comment number 98.

    Despite the present financial crises, Britain will always remain a great economic power. Not only that, it'll always be seen as a 'great power' for what all it has given to the world, in terms of the Industrial Revolution; Its great impact and legacy are so far unmatched by any other civilized country.

  • Comment number 99.

    No Britain is now a second or third world power. Our position in the world is deminishing by the year. As a citizen I would like to say that England is no longer a country of opportunity, just bare survival for the average working class person.
    Now we have a govenment that seems to be at war with the lower classes and the weak in our society. Things can only get much worse. The election proved to me that democracy is dead in the UK and we will always have people like this in power no matter which party or brand they are. The biggest suprise of all has been the liberal party and there complicity in all of this. All of my working life and I remember the labour party of the 70's we have had second rate people in charge of this nation and I dont see that ever changing under the currnt party system.

  • Comment number 100.

    Britain/ the UK a major economic power you must be joking. The Labour governemnts of Wilson and Blair have made sure that the UK is the poodle of the EU and USA. This country will continue to decline while our politicians continue their love affair with the EU and the USA.

 

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