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How are the mighty fallen. In living memory Great Britain boasted an empire on which the sun never set, bigger and more global than even the Roman Empire. If you were privileged to claim to be a British citizen, you could invoke powerful protection against your oppressors wherever they might be hiding.

But in these troubled times the British government seems to be turning its back on the world. It has not forgotten Napoleon Bonaparte’s claim that “England is a nation of shopkeepers” — but it is in danger of forgetting that the best shopkeepers today have to have a global comprehension.

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