From Cool Britannia to Fool Britannia

By Graham Vanbergen 

It took just twenty years to go from the euphoria of Cool Britannia to Fool Britannia in the guise of the economy destroying and politically toxic ideology of Brexit. The author explains what may be lurking around the corner in the years ahead.


Throughout most of the 1990s, Cool Britannia was a period of increased pride in the culture of Gt. Britain, which was inspired by the swinging 60s – enhanced by its modern-day youth culture. The iconography of the day was British rock and pop, fashion houses and magazines who rode on a high crest of a renewed feeling of optimism following the turbulent years of the 1970s and 80s. It was all Britpop, Euro96, and Alexander McQueen. The economy and mood of the nation were booming.

The cultural renaissance of London, in particular, was much celebrated in the press, it’s pinnacle reached with the election of Tony Blair in 1997 providing a boost to the feeling of optimism – indeed, euphoria.

It didn’t last long.

In 2003, Tony Blair burst the bubble with an illegal invasion of a foreign sovereign state that saw the biggest street protests in Britain and around the world in human history.

The police, National Crime Agency and Electoral Commission are slowly unravelling the frightening realisation that Britain’s democracy, like the children’s fable, has no clothes.

Iraq cast a dark shadow on the nation and when all was said and done, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians would be dead. The nation bowed its head in shame. It was rapidly followed by corruption scandals; cash-for-honours, cash-for-influence – culminating in the massively damaging parliamentary expenses scandal. Next came cash-for-influence, cash-for-access – the list of political skulduggery only escalated. Then there were the accusations of sexual abuse and more recently rampant racism in the form of Windrush, Anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia at the very heart of the political establishment. In between all of this – the destruction of Libya was another symbol of Britain’s desperate foreign policy decisions that humiliated the nation.

From 1996 to 2016 – a period of just twenty years, Britain has gone from crooning the ‘Cool Britannia’ brand with a beaming collective national pride to a final swansong of Fool Britannia in the Brexit endgame. National resilience, a characteristic of the British people has been replaced with acrimony and hostility.

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About the Author

Graham Vanbergen is the founder and contributing editor of, ThinkPublica, and He is also the author of BREXIT – A corporate coup d’état.




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The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.