The Economist writes about how much of today's Britain can be explained through the lens its imperial past. Today, Britain still yearns for the glory of that imperial past. It wants to be more than just a little insignificant spec off the coast of continental Europe. That is why Britain plays Boy Wonder to America's Batman; it's why much of the world is still hostile towards it. It is also very telling about its attitude to immigrants from the former colonies.
in reference to:
"Though notionally welcomed by a 1948 act, colonial immigrants caused alarm when they actually turned up, and from 1962 their entry rights were drastically curtailed. Danny Sriskandarajah of the Royal Commonwealth Society describes the experience as a story of evolving disappointments. Instead of fraternity and fairness there was racism—sometimes overt, more often and insidiously the supercilious tolerance that the empire cultivated. Many immigrants were marooned at the bottom end of the labour market, some in doomed industries such as textiles, cut off from their families and latterly relegated in government priorities, as they saw it, to a place below new European migrants."
- Bagehot: The tiger under the table | The Economist (view on Google Sidewiki)