Since I became the Deputy Prime Minister I have had the privilege of spending a bit of time representing Britain’s interests in other parts of the world.
I have visited Latin America and Asia to boost exports. I have been to Africa, where we are building better education systems as well as helping fight corruption, poverty and disease. I have travelled to different parts of Europe and the United States to promote British trade.
And while each trip varies from the last, there is a thread which runs through them all: you get to see Britain through other people’s eyes.
Everywhere I have been – every nation around the planet – has its own story about Britain.
On a trade mission to South Korea I paid my respects at a war memorial at the bottom of a hill where, during the Korean War, British soldiers – heavily outnumbered – fought for three solid days to hold back North Korean and Chinese forces.
It is a battle that every single South Korean schoolchild learns about. Had we given up or been defeated, it could have cost their grandparents the war.
For Mexico, Britain is the first European country to have officially recognised their independence following their liberation from colonial rule. That means something to them.
In Colombia Britain is the nation that built their first railways.
Lynne Featherstone and I were in Ethiopia, for whom Britain is now the first member of the G8 to have met the decades-old promise by rich countries to spend 0.7% of our national wealth on aid for the developing world. Something we have long argued for and this Coalition has delivered.
So wherever you go one thing is clear: people don’t listen to our country out of some nostalgic deference to an old power. They listen because of who we are. Because of the things we’ve done.