One Country, No Consensus: What The UK Can Learn From Taiwan

New Bloom Magazine
Date: 03/03/2019
By: William Langley

AN IMPASSIONED, at times desperate, public debate, the imminent threat of irrelevancy, and existential angst induced by the looming presence of a larger neighbour. With President Tsai Ing-wen’s Taiwan seemingly on a collision course with mainland China, and with Theresa May’s latest frustrated attempts to extricate the UK from the EU, all are increasingly pervasive features of the political climates on the two small islands at either end of Eurasia.

In the UK and in Taiwan, the relationship between the island and mainland neighbour is both historic and contemporary. In many ways, these relationships are similar.

Firstly, the modern-day majority populations of both Taiwan and the UK are largely the result of historic immigration from the mainland. During the wars of the 20th century, both islands saw an increase in this migration, receiving mainland migrants who would play a major role in the shape of their host countries’ modern fates.

What’s more, both island-nations are separated from the landmasses that represent both their closest cultural relatives and their bitterest rivals by just a narrow strip of water: at their widest, the Taiwan Strait is just 220 kilometers and the British Channel, 240 kilometers (or 150 miles, depending on which side of it you fall on). And yet, on both islands, one finds a people with a sense of distinctness, born of the separation from the history, politics, and affairs of the neighbouring continents, afforded to them by those narrow strips of water.    [FULL  STORY]

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