I heard the Lord Chancellor yesterday in Mumbai talk about the shared history, between the UK and India. As a Brit living in India (and running a Fintech) I did not detect any misty eyes in the audience. Brits forget that India fought for its Independence in a unique peaceful way, and the British left after 1945 because they could not rely on Indian loyalty anymore. The only thing good about it was the way the exit was handled largely by the grace of the Indian leadership (Nehru, Patel, Jinnah) – accepting Dominion Status, allowing Lord Mountbatten to stay on as Governor General after 1947, retaining all the institutions of colonial rule, etc. Churchill bitterly opposed Indian Independence. But this graceful exit should not be mistaken for any lack of desire to have seen the backs of colonial rulers. Today Nehru is vilified by a section of the Indian public who think he sold out.
Britain, unfortunately, finds itself back to where it was 400 years ago, as a supplicant. It is sickening to see ministers suck up to Duterte, or try to pretend Donald Trump is our new best friend now the Kenyan anti-colonialist is out of office. Lets not mince words on the cause of this condition: The lies, the mendacity, the careful re-packaging of xenophobia perpetrated by the army of Brexiteers (Gove. Johnson, Farage, Rees-Mogg, the list is long). None of these idiots was around yesterday to watch the Lord Chancellor try and make a brave fist of it.
Many commentators have spelt out what is needed for Britain to resume its place as a major trading partner for India. Britain must be the first destination Indian companies think of to manufacture goods or support services sales into Europe. This means – membership of the Customs Union, easy movement of qualified Indian managers and workers into the UK, and passporting of financial services.
Of course, Mrs May knows this is what is needed, but she will not grant any of this.