YOU’D be forgiven for watching the chaos in Parliament over the past few weeks and throwing up your hands in exasperated despair.
But across the Pond, the American liberal elite have been increasingly rubbing their hands together, thrilled at the opportunity to present a thoroughly jaundiced view of Britain via television and newspapers, both low and highbrow.
American lefties are thrilled at any opportunity they get to make Britain the butt of the jokes and particularly like poking fun at Theresa May
We are supposed to have a “special relationship” with the US, but that seems to have been reduced to being singled out for scorn by left-wing commentators.
According to them, we have become a country of racist dimwits, living in a waste-land devoid of all culture where people can hardly afford to eat.
“Britain’s agonizing national humiliation over Brexit continues,” declared a headline in the New Yorker magazine last week, before going on to claim that Brexit was a monumental error which can be blamed on “demagogues” — leaders who win support by appealing to prejudice rather than using rational arguments.
The fact that 17million of us voted for Brexit, against the wishes of most political leaders, seemed to have escaped the magazine’s notice.
According to comedian Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, Britons voted for Brexit because we are all thick.
BUTT OF THEIR JOKES
“It’s just the accent makes them sound smart,” he said, before presenting a sketch about Mary Poppins in a post-apocalyptic wilderness.
US comedians don’t usually bother much with British politicians, yet Theresa May has become the butt of their jokes.
Long-running comedy staple Saturday Night Live can’t seem to leave her alone, portraying her dancing robotically in Downing Street.
The show seems obsessed with the idea — admittedly spread by some British commentators, too — that Britain is facing self-inflicted economic ruin from Brexit.
Watching these US comedy shows you would never guess the truth: That actually the UK economy is doing better than that of Germany, France or Italy.
We can take a joke, of course, but even so-called serious American newspapers seem to have convinced themselves Britain has been reduced to economic ruin.
Last May, the New York Times published an infamous report from the Merseyside town of Prescot, purporting to show the cold reality that Britain is in the “age of austerity”.
The police station, it claimed, had been “shuttered”, the “leisure centre razed, eliminating the swimming pool” and the town’s museum had itself been “receded into history”, the library had been turned into a home.
It didn’t take long for local people to point out that none of those facilities had actually been lost.
The police station had, along with the fire station, been relocated to a new site.
So too had the library and museum, while a new leisure centre boasted two swimming pools.
These US comedy shows seem to have forgotten that the UK economy is actually doing better than that of Germany, France or Italy.
Americans have long lampooned us for being stuck in the past, just as much as they do for our supposedly bad teeth.
The Austin Powers films — James Bond spoofs which took the mickey out of just about everything British — could be enjoyed by everyone, ourselves included.
But there is something sinister about the claims about Britain which are now being made in US liberal circles. The New York Times, especially, has launched a full-frontal attack on Britain.OVER-THE-TOP VIEW
When Sajid Javid became Home Secretary last year, the paper ran an opinion piece entitled “A new face can’t mask a racist heart”, claiming that overseas students were leaving Britain in droves because of our racist attitude towards foreigners.
Actually, at the time, the number of foreign students enrolled in UK universities had risen to a new high.
The paper also ran a piece claiming that EU nurses and doctors were fleeing the NHS because they no longer felt welcome.
At the time the piece was published, the numbers of EU nationals employed in the NHS had increased since the Brexit referendum.
The attitude has spread to Democrat politicians.
They usually wisely stay out of Britain’s political affairs, but not Barack Obama, who used his last visit to Britain as President to lecture us against voting for Brexit, telling us we would be at the “back of the queue” for a trade deal with the US.
Hillary Clinton, too, has waded in on Brexit, calling it the “greatest self-inflicted wound in modern history”.
But for an absurdly over-the-top view of Britain launched from across the Atlantic, nothing beats that of Tendayi Achiume, the UN Special Rapporteur on racism, who last May described Britain as suffering a rise in “explicit racial, ethnic and religious intolerance”, all thanks, of course, to Brexit.
Achiume, who comes from Zambia, is assistant Professor of Law at the University of Los Angeles.
This is a city which hardly offers Britain, or any other country for that matter, a lesson in race relations.
It was the city that erupted into race riots in 1992, in which fires destroyed more than a thousand buildings — and where tensions between the police and the black population remain febrile.
That is the point about so many attacks on Britain from across the Atlantic: They are so hypocritical given the state of the US.
For urban “wastelands”, no country does them better than the US — as anyone who has visited Detroit will attest.
CommentUNCIVIL SERVICE Racist & stupid – civil servant reveals what they think of Brexit voters CommentROD LIDDLE Take what we can on Brexit and scarper… or we probably won’t leave at all CommentLORRAINE KELLY Maddie McCann could be found thanks to shock Netflix documentary CommentTHE SUN SAYS Brexiteer and Remainer Tories are close to giving power to Marxist Corbyn CommentHENRY NEWMAN All for none & none for all… hard Brexiteers could destroy our EU departure CommentTREVOR KAVANAGH Flawed Brexit, then dignifed Therexit — price of ‘success’ is PM departure
If you want poverty, violence or inequality, the US can offer far more dramatic examples than Britain.
American comedians and reporters know this, of course, which is perhaps why they are so keen to try to transfer their own national embarrassments on to a foreign country.
Britain just happens to be the country they know best — or think they know best — so we are the ones who end up in the firing line.
Ross Clark is a Spectator columnist.
We have seen Trevor Noah make jibes about Brexit on The Daily Show, opening with ‘Great Britain – not so great anymore!’
Matt Damon starred as a smug-looking David Cameron on Saturday Night Live
On American TV show Full Frontal, Samantha Bee asks Britain ‘what in the name of Margaret Thatcher’s iron bustier have you done?!’
Theresa May mocked by Saturday Night Live in Brexit sketch where Matt Damon is David Cameron and Mikey Day is Lord Voldemort