Diplomats were also asked to assess how well Britain was doing, relative to last year. Half the respondents felt conditions in the UK had improved, while the remainder regarded Britain’s future as more uncertain.
For envoys the feel-good factors were down mainly to signs of the revival of the British economy (although some worried this was due to a housing bubble), added to the celebration of the birth of Prince George.
However, this was counterbalanced by anxieties caused by Prime Minister David Cameron’s Europe speech and the 2014 referendum on Scottish Independence.
As one diplomat put it: “While the economy improves slightly, one can already feel the parliamentary elections of 2015 in the air – that could hinder the government’s further efforts in economic reforms. Poorly informed and emotional public debate on important issues like the European Union and immigration continues.”
Another added: “The BREXIT debate is detrimental to Britain’s position in Europe.”
The British Parliament’s rejection of military strikes in Syria was seen as the most significant event of the year in the UK because of the global repercussions it had.