Britain’s decision to change the terms of our relations with other European countries by leaving the European Union will also affect our relationships with countries elsewhere, chief among them America. The coronavirus pandemic has now added an unexpected new layer of uncertainty.
Pursuing the chimera of ‘total political and economic independence’, the British government is determined to distance Britain from the EU, while still talking of co-operation with European ‘friends and partners’. As part of the validation of Brexit it seeks even stronger ties with the United States. This shone through in the contrasting tone of two recent documents on the British approach to trade: defiant and antagonistic with the EU and positive and optimistic with the US.