While the exact origins of the term “Brite” are unknown, the Dutch or German influence on the formation of the Anglo-American word, which is seldom encountered today, is evident. In the first half of the 19th century it gradually became popular in the United States as a useful abbreviation for journalists and writers for a certain type of British stereotype, whether for individuals or for customs. By the late 19th century, a number of US newspapers and magazines had infused the description with some of the worst aspects of British imperialism, and it was certainly taken up that way in Ireland and India, where it was used in contemporary reports and memoirs nationalist writers than appeared in the 1930s. If I look at the current antics of the Conservative Party government in London, I think the word may be due for a revival. How could one describe the hardline Brexit administration of Boris Johnson and Company other than a “British regime”?
The current controversy in the UK began with officials informing the local press that Downing Street intended to introduce laws that would effectively break the Withdrawal Agreement signed with the European Union earlier this year. while publicly denying the intention to do such a thing. That final cover-up was the media line until Northern Irish Foreign Secretary Brandon Lewis brazenly responded to a dismayed question in the House of Commons that the proposed laws would in fact “… break international law in very specific and limited ways”.
From then on it got worse when news of resignations and divisions surfaced among the UK’s top judicial officials. There is dissent in Tory over the prospect of Britain being labeled a “rogue state” by its former partners in Europe. Former Prime Ministers warn of threats to the Irish-UK peace process and a wave of anger that grips the EU office and European capitals. Anger echoed in US Congress on both sides of the aisle, if not under the Brexit-loving White House administration of Donald Trump and his Bannon-Lite supporters.
Then the big guns really came out, and Boris Johnson took to the pages of his fan magazine, also known as the Daily Telegraph, where British attempts to convert the 2020 Withdrawal Agreement into the 1938 Munich Agreement coincided with the adoption of the British Prime Minister of the Hitler- Rhetoric to attribute all sorts of sinister and hideous motives to the European Union. And if informed observers saw the malevolent influence of Brexit-Svengali Dominic Cummings in the article, they were probably right, as Downing Street gets deeper and deeper under the influence of a serial flaw that, like the proverbial clock, always manages to be accidentally and again again.
Apologists for the Conservative government in London claim that this is all just a saber rattle with which further concessions from Brussels, Dublin, Berlin and Paris are to be blackmailed during the ongoing Trexit negotiations. But these jingoistic apologists don’t seem to know, or really don’t care, that Europe is no longer making concessions to settle a divorce that has technically already taken place. At the end of the day, Britain may believe in the importance of the British pound to the peace of Ireland, but that could prove to be its undoing. In several ways.