Britain is the world’s only global power – yet it is not the army or economy, but the cultural influence of singers like Adele and literary giants like Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes which puts us head and shoulders above our neighbours. The UK won the title thanks to the combination of economic strength, military reach and diplomatic influence, according to a report by think tank European Geostrategy. However, it was ‘Brand Britain’, or its cultural pull, which kept the UK out in front.
Only the U.S. – a ‘superpower’ – wields more influence than the UK, the study claims, with France, China and Russia trailing behind – described only as ‘regional powers’.
And it appears this is thanks to Britain’s globally recognised brands – from Adele and Harry Potter to the Royal Family and James Bond, not to mention companies like Land Rover, Burberry, and Topshop. Report co-author James Rogers told the Sunday Express: ‘Brand UK has never been stronger. ‘Britain has recently beaten the U.S. as a soft power and this is based primarily on a cultural pull.’
That league table, released by Portland PR in July, found the UK was a the top of the table when it came to soft power – described as pull, while hard power is ‘push’, or military and economic strength. Portland noted it was not just the UK’s position in the G7, U.N. Security Council or as head of the Commonwealth, but products like the Beatles, Shakespeare, David Beckham, or the English Premier League, which gave real sway.
Germany came second, and the U.S. came third – while China sat at the bottom, despite its large population and military strength.
The European GeoStragey also suggested the strength of Russia and China’s armies were trailing behind countries like Britain, France, and the U.S. The benchmark, the report explained, was ‘the ability to dispatch and sustain approximately 40,000 troops in any global theatre against any conceivable opponent for a prolonged period of time’.
The UK’s bases overseas, which enables the country to conduct warfare in different parts of the world, means its military reach comes second to the U.S., while France comes third and Russia fourth.
China, which came second in economic strength, came fifth in military might.