Independent think tank Demos is calling for a Promoting Britain Unit to be set up in the Cabinet Office to help manage the country’s image. This was spelled out in the Demos report, Britain, Renewing Our Identity, unveiled this week.
The unit would link two other bodies – a “vision group” of key players from business, the arts and diplomatic world forming objectives for Britain’s identity, and a bigger working party. The “vision group” would be chaired by the Prime Minister, the report’s author Mark Leonard recommends.
The paper likens the renewal of our national identity to restructuring and managing the image of a corporation. “Once a central body has been given a remit to manage our identity, it will be possible to professionalise our activities,” it reads.
Leonard accuses the institutions projecting Britain’s image overseas of being inconsistent, stuffy and short-sighted. “There is no central co-ordination, no common evaluation and no clear direction to ensure that the messages sent by Britain’s political leaders, businesses and public agencies are in harmony,” he comments in the Design Council-funded report.
Design can help turn around this image, Leonard says: “There should be a shift in the cultures of the agencies charged with presenting the UK to the outside world, [by among other things] establishing a cadre of British design and creative ambassadors… to travel the world and articulate Britain’s strengths.”
“In all of this it is vital that we encourage creativity,” he says, and a slightly irreverent tone will project an image of modernity and dynamism.
See News Analysis, page 7