Britain is the greatest country on Earth.” according to Liz Truss. When I last checked I found that I had lived in, worked in or holidayed in 65 different countries. A function of career, luck and preference and I enjoyed every moment. Some I enjoyed more than others, of course, and I suppose I could rank them according to that personal preference. But I won’t because it would be utterly subjective and a waste of time.
The claim that “greatness” can be objectively ranked when it comes to nations underlies Ms Truss’s bombastic nonsense. If Karen from Croydon did it we might be saddened and perhaps gently mock her faux-patriotism. For the Foreign Secretary to do it defies belief.
“There’s no place like home” is a platitude that people of all nationalities share. It’s harmless and understandable. We grow up in a place and a culture and it becomes our norm. When we lived in The Netherlands we had a boat which we took around the inland waterways – the canals, rivers and lakes. One summer we had visitors who came out with us for a particularly sunny day trip. One said to me how lovely it was, but (he said) it “wasn’t England”. Of course it wasn’t, but that rather missed the point didn’t it !
You cannot objectively measure national “greatness” though some have tried – “Deutchland Uber Alles” springs to mind. But then so does “Land of Hope and Glory” – most nations do it a bit. It’s mostly harmless bluster , except when it slips over into nationalism and we think we have a right to conquer. That leads to wars and empires.