UK foreign policy

 

The UK has a long tradition of trading with the five continents of the world, of having state to state relationships with most countries, of seeking to improve understanding, communications and exchanges through substantial diplomatic activity. Much of the present day activity is designed to promote trade and cultural exchange with a large number of countries.

As a well armed member of the Security Council of the UN, with a substantial overseas aid programme, the UK also has a role in promoting and protecting the international peace and intervening against illegal seizures of power or the abuse of state force by others. The various interventions undertaken by the UK in conjunction with the US and others, often with UN support, in the Middle East in recent years have frequently proved contentious and have often been debated on this site.

We should not lose sight of the idea that foreign policy, backed by force you would rather not have to use, is in the first instance there to protect us and to advance our own country’s interests. If we look at the threats or challenges to the UK they do not primarily come from the Middle East, and they are not usually violent in nature. Many of them come from closer to home.

There are only two worrying challenges to our own family of territories – in the Falklands and in Gibraltar. It is true the Falklands did in the past involve military action to oust an Argentine invasion. Today the challenges to the British Falklands are diplomatic, based on challenges to trade, commerce, shipping and through  international fora. The challenge to Gibraltar comes from a fellow member of the EU, Spain. The issue is often used by Spain to complicate other negotiations going on about differing issues. The UK believes in the free determination of peoples. We have shown that in Scotland, offering the Scots a referendum on their national future. Gibraltar and the Falklands wish to remain with us and should be allowed to do so. If Spain wishes to show her belief in the free determination of people why does she not allow Catalonia a vote on their future? Why is Spain so keen to keep Ceuta, violating arguments she uses to advance her claim to Gibraltar?

The bigger challenges to our national interests come from EU common policies. For years the Common Fishing Policy has damaged both our fisheries and our fishing industry. The common energy policy is leaving us short of energy and pushing up energy prices in an uncompetitive way. The common policies followed in many other areas are also damaging to the UK’s interests. Many UK people dislike the common borders policy, the criminal justice policy and parts of the common foreign policy.  It is time to be thinking of these as a central preoccupation of foreign policy.

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46 Comments

  1. alan jutson,
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Given how often our troops and equipment are used in humanitarian aid projects throughout the World, and given how often our money used as foreign aid appears to be wasted.
    Surely there is an argument that we should put all of our foreign aid budget into the Defence Budget.
    We could then have a sensible level of armed forces, fully equipped, which would not only be capable of defending our shores and territories properly, but also had enough manpower to help in a positive way abroad, without over stretching resources.

    The above would mean that we remain in control of our own spending of money without subsidising the Bank accounts of questionable governments or despots abroad.

    Perhaps the rest of the World may see us as a rather nicer Nation than we appear at the moment.
    We simply cannot be the Worlds police force any more, with both the financial cost to the taxpayer, and the cost in the lives of our young people.

    There is an old saying:
    Good strong high fences, makes for good neighbours.
    Perhaps our Border control operation should learn that lesson.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Indeed it should be what government are addressing but alas Cameron probably thinks we can leave it to the EU and their defence force. He addressed non of these issues in his vacuous EU long grass/leave until after the election speech. His judgements on Syria and even Libya have been wrong too.

  3. alan jutson,
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    So we have given Gibraltar a referendum on self determination.

    We have given the Falklands a referendum on self determination.

    We are giving Scotland a referendum on self determination.

    We have given most Countries in the Commonwealth self determination.
    Yet we as the main controlling factor in all of the above, wish to remain wedded to the EU !

    Does that make for any sense.?

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 2, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Yet never any say for England thanks,to the serial ratting of lib lab con. Not even on the possible break up of the UK nor even a fair voting system or fair government expenditure.

      Will Gibraltar be the price of leaving the EU when we eventually do? A legacy of heath, major, bliar and brown?

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 2, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        and Cameron too of course?

  4. Old Albion
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    “The UK believes in the free determination of peoples. We have shown that in Scotland, offering the Scots a referendum on their national future”

    Yeh right! When will this principle be extended to England?

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 2, 2014 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Never under Cameron or at least never unless he thinks he can will by distorting the process, more lies and propaganda from him and the BBC.

  5. Timaction
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    The legacy parties have ceded so much sovereignty and our democracy to the EU that we no longer have control. Westminster has become irrelevant and its time to take back control.
    The Parties who have given away all these competencies cannot then claim to know what’s best.
    I’m fed up of reading EU rule this and that and all our other problems where the roads all lead back to the EU. Its time for serious change before its to late.

    • clodhopper
      Posted August 2, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      In fact, while the roads may lead back to the EU they do not stop there. Much of what the EU pushes our way originates at a global level (WTO, UNECE and many other global bodies). This is why the EU is not the top table and since we are represented by the EU on such bodies, and given majority voting, our position may not even be out forward. This is one reason why we need to withdraw from the EU and represent ourselves on the global governance bodies.

  6. Mark B
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Cracking Article ! :)

    If we look at the threats or challenges to the UK they do not primarily come from the Middle East, and they are not usually violent in nature. Many of them come from closer to home.

    I do not know who you mean ? Do you mean that, post independence, the SNP might declare war on the rUK ? Or, are those pesky Frogs up to some thing ? They never learn, do they ? ;)

    “Today the challenges to the British Falklands are diplomatic . . . .”

    Great call Mr. Redwood MP sir ! I think we have very much underestimated Kirtchner (sp). DC has, in my view, very unwisely used the opportunity to do a bit of ‘Grandstanding’ over this issue, and has not had the wit to see the game being played here. I would like to add if I may, that it is not just the Falklands that the Argentine seek, but also the Islands of South Georgia and Sandwich. Neither Spain or Argentina have any claim to these, which makes me think that there is more to this. As I am sure you are aware, our ownership of those islands means, that we have ‘some territorial’ right of claim to Antarctica and the waters around it. I have long suspected, that it is really this that the Argentine is interested in, and not just a bunch of sparsely in inhabited islands, hundreds of miles of their coast. To that end, I argue, it is therefore of vital importance that we must place in that part of the world.

    I think you are wrong over Ceuta, and comparing it to Gib’. Although I think there are a great deal of similarities. Dan Hannan, I think, has found a better example and I would be grateful if you would allow his link to be read by others.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100238466/spains-double-standards-on-gibraltar/

    Whilst the European External Action Service lives and breaths, we shall never have our own foreign policy. And as such, our defence and military priorities will be skewed by others and things like, launching Aircraft Carriers with no aircraft, will prevail.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    “The bigger challenges to our national interests come from EU common policies. ”

    The policy of M. Barroso is to expand the EU. Baroness Ashton herself joined the rioters in Ukraine (Kiev) They have deliberately – or worse, unconsciously, poked the Russian bear. Now they are revealed as completely useless to their new ally – Ukraine and the whole of Lithuania and the Baltic States are feeling threatened.
    They have only themselves to blame for this crisis.
    And as for President Obama, the first Afro-American President…

  8. The PrangWizard
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    The UK believes in the free determination of peoples. We have shown that in Scotland, offering the Scots a referendum on their national future…………….

    You and ‘the UK’ only believes in the statement when it suits. I imagine you will know this comment will be coming, but the words above are of course only partly true, selectively true. There is no wish on your part or on the part of the British Establishment to offer the people of England the right to vote on their future. You do not believe England should have its own true parliament, just your pretence and excuse for one. Your response is ‘there’s no call for it, no need’. But you know that to be insincere, and open to accusations of hypocrisy.

    I know who’s side I would have been on if I had been Irish going on 100 years ago. And I suspect I know where you would have been too.

    It’s time we had Home Rule for England.

  9. mickc
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    It seems that Camerons foreign policy also includes treating Russia as an enemy and in October putting UK troops in a position to respond to any request from a non NATO member for military assistance.

    This is entirely provocative and bellicose. The possibility of a catastrophic mistake is vastly increased, and the West does not have any leader of sufficient wisdom and calmness to deal with such a situation, except possibly Merkel.

    Would that Merkel was our leader! She is superb at her job, namely looking after her own country’s interests. She must regard Cameron with amused contempt…

  10. Richard1
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Successive governments have been very emollient towards Spain with its hypocritical and patently undemocratic wish to colonize Gibraltar against the wish of the people of Gibraltar. Perhaps we should deny or restrict Spanish fishing boats’ access to UK waters in contravention of the common fisheries policy until Spain makes public recognition of the right of the people of Gibraltar to democracy and self determination, and abides by EU treaties on open borders etc between Spain and Gibraltar.

    At the very least we should say to the EU that they need to force Spain’s compliance as a condition for any UK cooperation in other areas.

  11. Posted August 2, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I think that your statement that the U.K. is a well-armed member of the Security Council and has a role in promoting and protecting international peace is no longer true.

    For a start, we are no longer a United Kingdom, with a referendum on Scottish independence due within months.

    We are no longer well-armed, since both Labour and Conservative governments have so emasculated our armed forces in recent years that it is now questionable whether we can defend ourselves, let alone use force abroad.

    As for promoting peace, it is clearly evident that the present crisis in Ukraine has been brought about by expansionist ideas in the E.U., aided and abetted by the actions of NATO and vociferously supported by our own Foreign Secretary and our own Prime Minister, whose words have been pouring oil on troubled fires.

    A more crass attempt at foreign policy it would be hard to imagine. Shouting the odds loudly while waving the picture of a twig never succeeded in anything other than ridicule from thinking people.

    No wonder Gibraltar and the Falklands are under threat.

    John Wrake.

  12. Agricola
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    There is no such thing as EU foreign policy because when put to the test the EU cannot agree the price of bread. Just to cite the latest is their response or lack of it to Russian intervention in the Ukraine. Best leave this one to Germany and Russia, both of whom have vested interests in matters not getting out of hand.

    The UKs foreign policy needs a fundamental review after the disasters of Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. They should consider the adage “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Not fool proof but worthy of investigation. Who are our enemy. Without a shadow of a doubt it is jihadist Islam wherever it is causing mayhem in the World. Not accepting this puts one in denial with a severe case of “Canuteism”. Accepting it allows us to position ourselves in relation to most of the current problems in the World. Something we have developed a capacity for getting wrong over recent years. The argument that we are improving home security is blind stupidity. A robust and effective policy on immigration and who is allowed long term residence in the UK could better aid our security.

    Gibraltar from a Spanish Government point of view is a useful diversion to try and take their peoples minds off the dreadful state of their economy. Argentina’s interest in the Falklands is to save an even worse home economy by getting their hands on the oil there.
    There could be a useful role for one of our aircraft carriers should we ever get planes to fly from it and enough other navy ships for the requisite battle group around it.

    Freedom to act with our friends of choice comes with exit from the EU, an overdue priority.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    You failed to mention the overriding part of the UK Foreign Policy: “EU Member states have committed themselves to a Common Foreign Security Policy for the European Union. The European Security and Defence Policy aims to strengthen the EU’s external ability to act through the development of civilian and military capabilities in Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management.” – EU.
    Your leader is fully signed up to all this, as he is to those other EU common policies you quoted. When your party talks of renegotiation is no more than a deceit for electoral purposes and, sadly, one with which you regularly collude.

  14. Posted August 2, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    The truth is that foreign policy has to be backed up by force ; stating a position and relying on other forms of intermediaries gets nowhere . In the past so called trusted allies often take a different position behind the scenes ( eg the Falklands ) ; as long as one country believes it can string things out and plead some sort of case , it will cling on creating further difficulty and embarrassment – Gibraltar is a fine example . We must stop the shilly-shallying that has typified our behaviour for so many years and show our teeth more ; the armed forces must be equipped and ready for all sorts of emergencies and not be hamstrung for resources . Acting decisively when threatened is both effective and economic ; like any infection if it is tackled quickly with the right sort of medical aid , the danger is minimised .

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    It used to be said that the Treasury was the most powerful government department because ultimately it controlled the funds available to all other departments.

    But arguably under the novel system of “internal government by external treaty” that is no longer the case and the most powerful department is now the Foreign Office, which not only negotiates the EU treaties but has also been acting as an intermediary between the domestic government departments and the proto-federal EU government.

    As I pointed out at the time, when the EU Commission was poking its nose into the running of our post offices the letters from Competition Commissioner Mario Monti were addressed to Jack Straw as Foreign Secretary, not to the minister in charge of our post offices, for example here in 2003:

    http://ec.europa.eu/eu_law/state_aids/comp-2002/n784-02.pdf

    Which have not really been our post offices anyway since January 1st 1973, as Heath agreed that our national postal system would be treated as part of the Community’s postal system, it was just that he and other advocates of the EEC like Thatcher didn’t care to make that clear either then or at the time of the 1975 referendum.

    The nest of traitors in the Foreign Office have always been at the forefront of pushing the EEC/EC/EU project, essentially taking control of the whole government by entangling all other departments in a web of “international obligations”; and as I recall before we joined the EEC they anticipated that by the turn of the century the great majority of the population would accept as a matter of course that they were being governed from the continent, presumably with most of those who might still remember when the UK was a self-governing country having either died or having become too incapacitated to offer any further effective resistance to their plan.

    However we are still in a long transitional phase from having become a member of an international organisation based on treaties between sovereign states to being a state subordinated within a European federation, as the Foreign Office wanted; thanks to our treacherous politicians of all three of the main parties our de facto subjugation has run ahead of full de jure subjugation, and that is why in my view the EU is still best described as a “proto-federation”; eventually if they get their way most of the present officials in the Foreign Office will in fact have worked themselves out of their jobs, but no doubt if necessary with healthy severance payments and pensions, because there will only be one Foreign Minister with staff in just one Foreign Office, and that will be the Foreign Office of the fully federal EU.

    As anticipated by the present German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, back in 2007:

    https://www.allianz.com/oneweb/cms/www.allianz.com/en/press/news/commitment/community/news_2007-01-15.html

    “In his closing remarks, Steinmeier noted there is much work to be done, conceding that visions for Europe are projects that will take up the next 20 to 30 years and citing a future European army as an example. He also noted that this century could well see the disappearance of national foreign ministers, that the “German foreign minister” is probably a dying breed.”

    I don’t know whether the average German citizen is any more aware of this long term geopolitical scheme than the average British citizen, but in our case if we wouldn’t mind it happening then all we need to do is to carry on voting for the parliamentary candidates of the three old parties which support it.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Sadly our foreign policy over the past decade has helped to destabilise the Middle East and make us more vulnerable, not less.

    Force that we would rather not use ? Please tell that to the Blairists who run our country. (Including the PM)

  17. Atlas
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    The UK Foreign Policy seems to me to be one of appeasement to the EU – and in particular Germany. I mention Germany because I keep reading in the newspapers that once the Germans have decided upon something domestically then it has a habit of becoming EU law. Why? If the Germans wish to adopt some crazy ideas – like windfarms say – then why should we let them hobble us, just in the name of the single market?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 3, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      It’s only become Germany since re-unification; before that it was France.

      I’ve been working my way through this previously confidential FCO report which has just been published:

      http://issuu.com/fcohistorians/docs/1_spreckley_report_-_part_1

      “The Common Market Renegotiation and Referendum 1974 – 1975″

      The Labour manifesto had said they would “immediately seek a fundamental renegotiation of the terms of entry”, but right from the start the civil servants in the FCO were urging that there should be no attempt to get treaty changes, and:

      “In these early weeks, the French Government took the line that the Treaties and the principles of the Community were inviolable, and the French stood on the acquis communautaire, of which the heart was the CAP.”

      • Atlas
        Posted August 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Yes Denis, what you say is true.

        I suppose a better way of seeing this EU power-distribution morphing process is to say the French Empire evolved into the France-German Empire, then the German-French Empire and finally now into the German Empire…

  18. Tad Davison
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Not surprisingly, as someone who believes that capitalism can be a force for good, I also believe an outward-looking foreign policy is beneficial. One that seeks to engage another country or countries in a peaceful way, and develop trade links so that economies can grow, and the standard of living of the respective peoples can be enhanced. Where that doesn’t happen, for one reason or another, the relationship needs revision, and that’s what we presently have with Britain’s relationship with the EU.

    The EU clearly and self-evidently doesn’t work well for everyone, and it is doubtful if it ever can in its present guise. And as we look at the EU’s mechanisms, it is fairly clear there are no quick fixes. Its dismantling and the UK’s withdrawal is perhaps the only way to achieve anything.

    I have this morning revisited a few YouTube clips and documentaries, one of which is entitled, ‘The EU is 1 Big Scam and the Ukraine is its next Victim’. I agree with the sentiments contained therein, and for the UK to have its own foreign policy is to me a prerequisite. We could do a far better job with our own trade links and relationships with other nations. My fear though, is that Mr Cameron hasn’t quite yet seen the bigger picture, and his idea of renegotiation doesn’t go far enough.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  19. ian
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    My mother has asked the council to take off the electoral register. Speak volumes .

  20. JA
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I can see how foreign policy is of benefit for our politicians. It keeps them at the top table at councils and UN meetings. But what good does it do our people ?

    Whilst the politicians enjoy the ego boost what of ordinary British people who are being ushered into the kitchen, as it seems now, to the servant’s quarters ?

    Our domestic policy makes us equal to anyone who can get here so, while we understand how foreign policy is meant to work – for the good of the people – we know that none of it is being done for us.

    The Nordics don’t seem to suffer for not having military projection or for not giving out masses of foreign aid. Switzerland is no less a banking center for not being militarised. Why can’t we be a Republic of Ireland ? Why can’t we revert to small-country nationalism ?

    Foreign policy keeps egotistical politicians at the top table while people back home experience decline.

    Our defence policy (the two supercarriers especially) is rather like the US cavalry making a charge on the reservation long after the Apaches have overrun the fort. It is the apparatus of Empire. Our country is borderless. What is there to defend ?

    The whole thing – the aid, the defence, the foreign policy – serves only one thing and that is to allow politicians to posture on the global stage and to boost their egos (and personal wealth – in the case of Tony Blair at least. )

  21. JoolsB
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    “The UK believes in the free determination of peoples. ”

    Totally agree with you John. The UK Government cannot preach enough to the rest of the world the right of every country wherever it may be to democracy and self determination. Every country except ENGLAND that is!

  22. Posted August 2, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I’d really question whether hanging on to territories like Gibraltar and the Falklands is cost effective in the long run. An alternative strategy would be to negotiate the best possible deal with countries like Spain and Argentina. There’s a lot to be said for working with these countries rather than engaging in warfare.

    That said, we shouldn’t back away from the residents’ right of self-determination. If they want to stay British we should support that right. It should be made clear though, that the right comes with responsibilities too. Being British, and that includes the Channel Islands and the IOM, isn’t just about toasting the Queen and using the £ sterling. It means having income tax rates of up to 45%. VAT at 20% . Paying the same NI contributions and all the numerous other taxes that are paid on the mainland.

    It could be argued that the residents of the IOW may well choose to be Spanish if they too were both excused capital gains tax, wealth tax, and VAT, and also were allowed a much lower rate of income tax. I’m not sure if they would, but I’m sure there would be much less support from Gibraltarians for staying ‘British’, than now, if they had to chose to be genuinely British.

    • sjb
      Posted August 2, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Only 29% of the Falkland Islanders consider themselves British, Peter.[1] If they did manage to overcome the obstacles in recovering the oil & gas[2] I wonder how much of the revenue would find its way back to Blighty?

      [1] http://www.falklands.gov.fk/headline-results-of-2012-falkland-islands-census-released/
      [2] http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2014/02/oil-and-gas-falklands

    • Mark B
      Posted August 2, 2014 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Both the peoples of the Gib’ and the Falklands have expressed their wish to remain part of the UK. People like you should be humbled. Whilst the likes of Peter Hain, Jack Straw and Tony Blair allowed people into this country who neither respect or wish to integrate into it, they were busily trying to off load the Gibraltarians to Spain to curry nothing more than good favour. Disgraceful !

      I wish to remind you, that the Argentine regard the people of the Falklands as invaders. If we were to hand over those islands to them, just for the sake of good relations, without doubt, they would remove them from their homes. Argentina is a country that has reneged on its debts 3 times in the last 30 years. It has a history of violence towards its own people, with many of them being either tortured or murdered.

      Span’s attitude, although not as bad, regards the inhabitants as invaders. Look hoe they treat the people of Catalonia and the Basque region. The Catalonians wish to be free from Spain.

      The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man run their internal affairs with great efficiency. They know, and keep, their tax system low because that is how to attract investment. I say we should emulate them, not the other way round.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 3, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        You can live in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The rest of us want to live in the real world not some deluded tax haven which Britain is becoming or many of the worlds wealthy.

        • Ted Monbiot
          Posted August 3, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

          Baz likes the word deluded.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 4, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

            Many of you are on here or at least not living in the real world Deluded conservatism on a Daily Mail scale.

          • Ted Monbiot
            Posted August 4, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

            You forget that you live in an equally “deluded” socialist Guardian world Baz.
            But of course all your political opinions are all just so perfect.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 4, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

            Do point out where Ted? Oh! You can’t.

          • Ted Monbiot
            Posted August 5, 2014 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

            I only need to read your repetitive Marxist Guardian style dreamworld posts to know exactly where in the world you come from.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 6, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

            You mean they question right wing stupidity? Where is the dream world part? Oh again you cannot say.

      • Posted August 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        I wrote “negotiate the best possible deal “. You replied using the phrase “If we were to hand over those islands to them”.

        We aren’t talking about the same thing at all.

  23. Boudicca
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    There is no point identifying aspects of our EU membership and trying to deal with them as “foreign policy.”

    The EU isn’t “foreign” since we are a member of it.

    The question was – is – and always will be one of Sovereignty. That is what needs resolving.

    LibLabCON only want to resolve it if they can guarantee a mandate to keep us IN. Because they are afraid they won’t get that mandate, they have consistently refused a Referendum.

    Word in the media is that Cameron will resign in 2017 (if he’s re-elected) and, once again, no Referendum will be held. But he’ll have kept his promise to resign if it isn’t.

  24. forthurst
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    “If we look at the threats or challenges to the UK they do not primarily come from the Middle East, and they are not usually violent in nature.”

    So is it possible to deduce from this fact and are continuous involvement, nevertheless, in the wars in that region, that country whose interests we are serving?

    Our foreign policy has long since been subverted by an international clique that actually belongs nowhere but causes great misery whereever it interferes because of its essentially malign intent; it has reached into the upper reaches of government, law, media and education where corresponding subversion is taking place both here and elsewhere in the West. It is quite laughable to watch our politicians, with a straight face, promoting the interests of this clique against that of their own people as though this was the only option open to them.

    • sjb
      Posted August 2, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Did you see the US Senate voted 100-0 in support of that country? US politicians are terrified that if they fail to support that country then a wall of money will find its way to their opponent at the next election.

      Have you noticed in the UK how many Labour & Tory politicians with no apparent connection to that country go OTT in their support? Although in two cases their body language and speech pattern suggests they are under stress.

  25. Mark
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    It is surely no accident that Argentina is once again sabre rattling over the Falklands given that its government is again in default on its bonds. Likewise, the Spanish government is in deep financial trouble, only temporarily bailed out by the ECB. In both cases the motivation is bluster to distract from those domestic problems.

    It makes it an interesting question as to why the UK should join in sabre rattling over the Middle East.

  26. Stephen Berry
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    John articulates perfectly what the UK’s foreign policy should be. Peace and trade with all nations and a clear-headed view of what British interests really are. The UK should also possess sufficient armed force to defend any territories under threat, such as the Falklands or Gibraltar.

    But what is the reality of present British foreign policy? There seems to be an almost incessant wish to discover some trouble spot in the world, decide the rights and wrongs of the matter and then state what Britain is going to do about it.

    This trend began in earnest after the First World War when the UK was expected to lead the way in enforcing the resolutions of the League of Nations. In the long run, this resulted in Britain losing the friendship of both Italy and Japan. Instead of being allied with these two countries as Britain was in WW1, the UK entered a second major war with these two countries as enemies. This had disastrous military consequences in the Far East and certainly accelerated the fall of the British Empire.

    But have we learned our lesson from this? We still want to continue the role of world policeman, but now by hanging onto the coattails of America and (increasingly) the EU. What essential British interest necessitated the bombing of Serbia, the invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq and the bombing of Libya? Is there something in the air of the corridors of Whitehall which forces British politicians to take part in these enterprises, whereas politicians in Norway, Switzerland, India etc. remain sane?

    It was one thing to attack Third World countries whom we knew could not hit back. It’s quite a different matter playing ducks and drakes with Russia. What goes on in the east of the Ukraine should be a matter of supreme unimportance to this country. But Russia shares a border with the Ukraine, so it is of profound importance to the Russians that this country remains friendly. Yesterday the Russians banned Polish produce showing that they, as well as the West, can play the sanctions game. Where precisely is the EU going with this? The crisis seems to be slowly heating up. If history teaches us anything, it’s that Russia can take it but, unlike some hapless Third World country, it will also be able to hand it out.

  27. Martin
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    “common borders policy” – perhaps you ask Mrs May why the UK doesn’t check passports properly (especially on exit) like Schengen does? Oops sorry we have an opt out! Of course had we joined Schengen then Spain’s silly nonsense about Gibraltar would be out but that was too much for the last UK government.

    As for fishing I suspect the high cost of fuel oil has much more do with the industry’s decline than the EU.

    As for energy how much of this policy is the EU’s? Much of the wind farm stuff was driven by the UK as was the anti-nuclear stuff. Shale gas which I think you support isn’t very popular domestically either. We don’t seem able to decide what we are doing with energy. Using the cheapest on the market? Long term national security? Something else? It all looks a bit Nimbyist to me.

    Oddly enough I’m surprised you don’t want the CAP replaced with a free market policy for agriculture. I don’t see how agriculture subsidies benefit either in our out of the EU.

  28. Bazman
    Posted August 4, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    The UK has a foreign policy?

  29. Richard
    Posted August 5, 2014 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    The UK’s foreign policy has been so bad that I fail to find any logical explanation for it.

    We aided the Taliban in Afghanistan to eject the Russians, only to find ourselves fighting a completely senseless war against the Taliban a few years later.

    The invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein has been a complete disaster leaving the country in an even worse than before.

    The bombing of Libya to remove Ghaddafi has led to the country becoming a failed state and so dangerous that we have just had to close our embassy and bring back home all UK citizens.

    Mr. Cameron’s desire to bomb Syria spurred on the uprising to become a full blown civil war.

    Mr. Cameron was a leading member of the EU’s effort to expand the EU into the Ukraine leading to the annexation of the Crimea by Russia and the continuing troubles in this country.

    Everything in which we get involved has neither been good for the country concerned nor for the UK.

    Nearer to home we have our 3 major parties desperate to keep us in a club the vast majority of whose members hate us.

    What on earth can be the reason for such a foreign policy ?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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