Britain 'most influential nation' as it wins 'soft power' survey
After a year of celebrations and success Britain is voted country with the most cultural clout
BRITAIN has been voted the most powerful nation on Earth by the magazine Monocle, thanks to the exploits of Bradley Wiggins, Andy Murray, James Bond, Adele and the Queen.
In its annual 'soft power' survey the global affairs magazine has put Britain top of the pile for the first time, dethroning the US, indicating that the country has more cultural influence than any other nation in the world.
The term 'soft power' was coined by Harvard academic Joseph Nye in 1990 and is used to describe the ways in which a nation can shape the world without relying on financial muscle and overwhelming force.
The magazine survey looked at 50 different factors ranging across topics like culture, sport, education and business, even taking into account things like the quality of a country's cuisine and architecture.
The accolade comes at the end of a memorable 2012 in which Britain celebrated the Queen's Golden Jubilee and hosted the Olympics. There was unprecedented sporting success for the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Andy Murray and the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, was a worldwide smash hit.
British music remained popular overseas, and 22 albums made it to number one in foreign countries.
Tyler Brule, Monocle's editor-in-chief, said: "There's been a fantastic momentum in Britain this year. This is a good example of where you can't deny the Olympics were very important, from a global promoting point of view. People even felt good about the Union Jack."
The significance of the survey should not be overlooked, says Simon Kelner in The Independent. "The openness and inclusivity of our society presents us in a beneficial light. Our nature being what it is – modest to the point of self-deprecation – it is sometimes difficult for us to recognise, and take satisfaction from, the aspects of modern Britain that others envy," he wrote.
It proves that Britain is still a force to be reckoned with, says the Daily Mail. "The sun may have set on the British Empire, but this country is once again the globe’s most powerful nation by at least one yardstick."
And the shift in power has not gone unnoticed on the other side of the Atlantic. "The US, despite all the hoopla around Barack Obama, has lost its lure as world leader," laments Forbes.com. "In its place, is the UK, post-Tony Blair (talk about a slap in the face)."