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Sunday, 2 August 2015

UK: Pavements paved with gold? Marketing, Soft Power and Propaganda

Three highly controversial views:

From Katrin Bennhold's Letter from Europe, The New York Times, JULY 29, 2015

"When Tasnime Akunjee’s father, a university student from a middle-class family in Bangladesh, came to Britain in the early 1970s, he thought the streets of London would be paved with gold. Literally. “In those days, Britain had a powerful story to tell,” said Mr. Akunjee, a London-based lawyer. Once his father arrived, he said, he was shocked to find that he was walking on mere paving stones. But he quickly recovered. Golden sidewalks or not, Mr. Akunjee said, “he wanted to be part of it — they all did in that generation.” Even educated young men and women in Britain’s former colonies believed in a sometimes absurdly idealized marketing pitch of its former empire".

Liam Fox in The Sunday Times - "We must rediscover the art of propaganda"

Migrants think our streets are paved with gold - Theresa May and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's Minister of the Interior, The Telegraph, 1st August: "Many see Europe, and particularly Britain, as somewhere that offers the prospect of financial gain. This is not the case – our streets are not paved with gold".

From Huffington Post

It would seem that our "soft power", our powers to appeal, attract and co-opt, have been rather too successful in the past - but no longer (or does the UK need to mix and differentiate its messages, according to the intended target audiences)?

Update: The Guardian, 3rd August 2015 - 'Landlords who fail to check tenants’ immigration status face five-year jail terms as part of government crackdown to reduce UK’s appeal as a migrant destination':

"Immigrants living in Britain illegally will face abrupt eviction from rental properties under new laws designed to make Britain a tougher place to live in, the government will announce as it redoubles its response to the Calais migrant crisis. In a dramatic illustration of the warning directed at migrants, by the home secretary, Theresa May, that Britain’s “streets are not paved with gold”, the government will change the law to allow landlords to evict such immigrants without a court order".

Testing the Limits: How Many Refugees Can Germany Handle? Spiegel Online International

On the island of Kos, Greece


Caliban (from Shakespeare's The Tempest):

"You taught me language, and my profit on ’t
Is, I know how to curse". 

It seems that the teaching of English (or the attraction of the language) and "British values" overseas has proved to be something of a double-edged sword.

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