More talking, less warring

War breaks out when politics fails. All too often in recent years in the Middle East and on the eastern fringe of the European Union politics has failed, governments have lost authority or have lacked the power to resist powerful enemies. The UK has tried military interventions in the Middle East with our allies, and has wisely avoided military intervention in Eastern Europe. Neither course of action or inaction has brought peace and democracy to those areas. So what in future should we do?

I want the next Parliament to rebuild the UK’s diplomatic strength. The last five years have seen some strengthening of the Foreign office’s capability to understand foreign countries and represent us more widely abroad. By 2010 the FCO lacked the language skills and intelligence staff needed to have a thorough understanding of the Middle East and Russia. Policy analysis and the presentation of our viewpoint was made more difficult by the shortage of skills. The Defence Select Committee has reported on this.

Armed with better information and advice, our diplomats and senior military staff will be in a better position to work with allies and with any democratic governments in the specified areas who are worthy of support. The Middle East needs more talking, and Eastern Europe needs more talking. This is not some vague hope of peace through asking people to be nicer to each other. I am far from naive about the magnitude of the problem faced in these troubled areas. I am also very conscious that we have tried military solutions in the Middle East, and the Ukrainian government is seeking a military solution in its unhappy territory, with no obvious signs that this route creates a stable peace and good democratic practice.

It takes many years or decades even for a country to establish democratic practices that are reasonable. It takes even longer for democracy to become a reflex reaction, to be part of the social and political fabric. It is only when people assume governments can be dismissed by voters, recognise that minorities have rights and protections, understand the power of the state cannot be used for party political purposes, and realise everyone is beneath the same law administered by independent judges,do you have the makings of a democratic state. The UK’s unique contribution in future could be to do more to build confidence in democracy,to explain to more people how democracy works, and above all to show it is an attitude of mind and an approach that has to be shared by government and opposition alike.


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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    I want the next Parliament to restore so meaningful UK democracy. Alas due to the, appalling direction the Tory party is being led the prospect is rather dire. The next stages in this look like being decided, or rather stitched up, by the out of electoral control EU, the SNP and Miliband and his the pathetic, childish and damaging politics envy the magic money tree and government as Father Christmas.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      It is hard to believe the English voters will want to hand power back to Labour and SNP controlling them. I still tend to think on election day there will be a move towards the Tories. But why oh why is Cameron making it so difficult with his lack of vision.

      A fair deal for the English, more growth, more homes, lower taxes, far less EU, more jobs, cheap non religious energy, less government interference everywhere, public services that serve and actually work – that is all that is wanted and is needed. But almost nothing from him.

      Not that the Lefty dope Marr allowed him to answer any of his absurdly biassed questions.

      Why on earth is he not offering it more clearly some positive vision.

      Meanwhile proven wrong on almost every issue over decades we have the BBC sage Ken Clarke saying:-

      The Conservative party is too right-wing to win a general election.

      • Jagman84
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        I prefer : “Ken Clarke is too left wing to be a Conservative”. It applies to many others in the party, including the current leadership.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 19, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          Indeed but as career politicians it seems the Tory party just offered them the best career chances. Also, one imagines, that they did not all want to use the bog standard comps in Labour constituencies or have to use the NHS every time as a religion.

          These people seems to believe in little but their careers, expenses (and perhaps the renewable drivel) but are not even any good at retaining their seats.

          C Booker is spot on again today on the Swansea Barrage and he is not even a scientist or engineer (history Corpus Christi I read).

          Let us hope we are saved by those, delicious when smoked, Welsh Eels.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        But it seems that a lot of English voters actually like what the SNP, or at least Nicola Sturgeon, has been saying to them, and they won’t mind too much if they do get a Labour government which is heavily influenced by the SNP. I think the Tories may have badly misjudged this.

        • acorn
          Posted April 19, 2015 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

          I agree with you Denis. This is a sentiment my old ladies at the Co-op had yesterday. She is attracting a female following across the age range. Probably too late now but some chemistry between NS and the females on the Labour front bench, just might shift the orbit of the campaign???

          Girls Aloud! Not arf.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted April 19, 2015 at 4:22 pm | Permalink


          I had some of that from my own trouble and strife. She was very impressed by Mrs Sturgeon in the leader’s debate, so hubby had to let her know what this leftie in sheep’s clothing actually stood for, and the clear and present dangers the SNP leader posed to the rest of us. And my old gal isn’t at all stupid.

          Image seems to triumph over substance most of the time, and that is potentially very dangerous. Just take a look at the United States and the people they elect purely on their presentation and their ability to act with apparent sincerity.


      • zorro
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        Because he doesn’t believe in it himself?


        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 19, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          Probably that is true but how totally immoral if so (all this pissing taxes down the drain on a mad religion you might not even really believe).

          Dim and deluded or a total charlatan I cannot any other option for the green energy merchants even if you swallow the GW exaggerations “renewables” simply cannot work.

      • DaveM
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        I love the way all parties are trying to scare people with the “SNP will break up the union” line.

        What makes the arrogant self-serving fools think all the English want the union to stay intact?!!

        My only reason would be that some of my close friends would lose their jobs, possibly. Other than that, GO NICOLA – set us south-of-the-border oppressors free!!

        • fedupsouthener
          Posted April 19, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          Talking about Nicola Sturgeon. Take a look at this.

          This is the policy of the SNP led by Sturgeon. Utter madness and if this is any indication of how they will go about governing Scotland in the event of independence then God help Scotland. Wake up England and smell the coffee before it’s too late. An SNP/Labour coalition would be really bad for the UK. Nothing would get done, Miliband would bend over backwards for Scotland and England will do nothing but pay. Isnt’ it about time Cameron did something radical? Farage seems to be the only one making any sense.

    • Timaction
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      We won’t have enough common sense MP’s from UKIP to force the correct direction of travel in many policy areas e.g. foreign aid, EU aid, HS2 waste. £30 billion a year wasted on nonsense which could be spent here to relieve the British problems. No reform of the Common Fisheries policy or the CAP waste or the EU windmill energy/Climate Change legislation. Further savings could be made in the billions on controlling our borders and returning to a National Health Service and not building schools for 250,000 new arrivals at British, mainly English taxpayers or building endlessly on our Greenfields. Mass migration will continue ad infinitum until we remove the legacy parties.
      UKIP wouldn’t get involved in wars that are not our business like the trigger happy cartel. We certainly wouldn’t support the EU in its endeavours to cause problems with the Ukraine and Russia. The outcome being obvious to everyone accept the EU and the cartel!
      We could also level the playing field by removing the Barnet Formula and deliver EVEL. But none of this will happen under the LibLabCON cartel so we will have to wait until 2020 for a UKIP solution.

      Reply The 2 UKIP MPs we had in the last Parliament did not turn and speak on EU policy and migrations when we Conservatives highlighted it.

      • Hope
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        The whip system prevents proper debate, look at Osborne’s contempt for a select committee who asked him about VAT! He could not be straight with them. And you and your colleagues are so frequently ignored by Cameron it is a wonder why so many of you waste your breath! EAW promise to you by Cameron broken, Cameron’s promise Not to promote closer union to the EU broken, when he gave £18 million pounds of taxpayers’ money to do exactly that. Lisbon Treaty promise broken, veto that never was, nothing in return for the fiscal pact, promise not to bail out Eurozone countries, no ifs or buts on immigration, balance structural deficit by now, EVEL only last October. Energy agreement amongst the cartel- Page 59 of your manifesto highlighted by Booker in his article today. Despite you writing many times about the incredulous energy policy your party is not listening to you. The list is endless.
        The only choice for conservatives or those who want a sovereign nation is UKIP.

      • ian wragg
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        That’s al lit is John, talk. The EU presents you with a programme and you have zero influence on it. Whats the point in useless debates as you keep signing sovereignty over to Brussels. UKIP want out. End of.

      • Timaction
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Let’s just wait and see on the initial numbers after 8th. That whisper may start to be a shout. Not doing too badly considering its UKIP versus the cartel, the MSN and the establishment. Just been reported in Breitbart that the Government is now reviewing the number of departments following UKIP manifesto launch! BBC now admits audience bias in last weeks debate. Garage right again!

        • Timaction
          Posted April 19, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          Oops. Farage.

        • Chris
          Posted April 19, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

          Interesting that Nicky Morgan has apparently suddenly ordered an investigation into the pressure put on school from immigration, where large numbers of pupils do not speak English. Apparently only last year she “warned Ofsted it was not ‘helpful’ to talk about migrant ‘influx'” (see Mail on Sunday online). Wouldn’t be anything to do with worries about lost votes to UKIP?

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      So David Cameron failed in politics in Libya.

      The Tory party have brought us the most recent and devastating wave of refugees.

      How are they getting away with it ???

      • zorro
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, the chaos in the Med has been exacerbated by stupid, naive foreign policy. When will the Europeans realise that the Americans don’t give a damn who their constant warfare brings to our shores.

        Unfortunately, recruitment practices favour starry eyed youngsters instead of looking at tapping talent from experience. Often, they only want yes people who do not offer critical challenge or debate.


    • Bazman
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      The magic money tree firmly sits with the right and the Tories, the taxpayer could be at risk for an astonishing £612billion as the government indulges in an orgy of loan guarantees, incentive schemes, public-private initiatives and outsourcing contracts all hidden off the balance sheet and in many cases to influence marginal seats.
      As a landlord how do you propose to fund more homes given that the private market has constantly failed to supply enough. Build anything anywhere, but as long as it does not affect you or your rentals? The rest you have been pulled on with no reply other tan deluded free market nonsense that relies on everyone paying regardless of income.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    I would certainly agree that we need to have people with good diplomatic skills and knowledge in many areas of the World, and not just so that we can understand the history to possible rising conflict, but also for smoothing the route for possible trade links within those areas.

    Ever since we have been members of the EU we seem to have dropped the ball in this vital area, perhaps thinking that membership of the EU in itself was enough.
    We used to have a reputation second to none in the World for our diplomatic skills and knowledge (deserved or not) which seemed to serve us reasonably well for decades past.

    Indeed if we had a decent diplomatic service perhaps they could also oversee that our foreign aid budget was spent rather more wisely than at present, given we now hear reports of agents being paid £1,000 per day to find projects to fund from our money, because it would seem we cannot spend it fast enough.
    indeed if this is happening as reported, that is surely a big clue that we do not need a pot as big as overseas aid in the first place.

    If we are to beef up our diplomatic service, we must also be careful that it is not simply a gravy train, for a few to live in luxury at the taxpayers expense.

  3. mickc
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    A good place to start would be Cameron not making bellicose speeches against Russia.

    Russia has responded entirely rationally to events set in train by the EU and USA. The response was, furthermore, entirely foreseeable; complaining after the event is pointless.

    Since the end of the Cold War Russia has posed no threat to the UK, and is a natural ally in the competition with extremist Islam. Efforts should be made to re- establish a normal relationship with the Bear, he will be a better friend than an enemy.

    • zorro
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, yes, yes


    • Mitchel
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      I agree totally with you.Russia’s response to the provocation in Ukraine was totally predictable to anyone with even an amateur interest in that part of the world.

  4. alan jutson
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Off topic

    Just seen a report in the Press with regards to Thursday evenings debate.

    It has suggested that the most popular searches on google at the time were.

    What is Austerity
    What is the Deficit
    Why is David Cameron not present
    Where is Natalie Bennet from
    Who should I vote for.
    How old is Nicola Sturgeon.

    Etc Etc

    Perhaps this is difficult to believe for many who read this site, but a huge amount of the population are simply not tuned into political argument at all, and are simply not interested, (who could blame them given the negative campaigning)
    They just vote every 5 years on basic information.

    As I have said many times before, Party Political broadcasts are trying to be too clever, you need simple explanations, with simple graphics, so that your message gets across, loud and clear.

    The old KISS principle is always best.

    KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID, purely because many people have a low attention span.

    • forthurst
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      “Where is Natalie Bennet from”

      Surprising, “which planet is Natalie Bennet from” would have been more likely.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        That made me laugh out loud!

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Yes, very funny but not when you consider how many people are being taken in by all the crap she comes out with.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      And that’s the problem Alan, the politicians love malleable people (perhaps I should say gullible people) who they can con and kid. That’s how Labour won three elections on the bounce. People listened to a plausible con-artist, but look what that led to, just as many predicted it would. New Labour, new danger was the Tory slogan, and how prophetic it was.


      • Chris
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        The power of the internet is working wonders on the problem you highlight. I think many politicians have yet to realise the extent of the power it actually gives to ordinary people to verify claims made, to check what has actually been said etc. Far less easy for the electorate to be duped. Hence the gradual transformation from a rather passive electorate to one demanding change, and this will gain momentum.

        This acquisition and sharing of knowledge is linked closely with the rise of such parties as UKIP, and the determination of so many grassroots former Conservatives not to “return to the fold” as requested by David Cameron. They are armed with knowledge about the extent of handover of UK sovereignty to Brussels during this current government’s term, and they are very much aware of the impossibility of renegotiation of EU membership. The pronouncements of EU leaders on this matter are there for all to see, and more importantly the terms of the Lisbon Treaty can be studied in minutiae. We have signed up to ever closer union with the EU, and there is no possibility of any treaty change until 2019/20 at the earliest.

        The strong perception amongst so many in the electorate is that David Cameron and many other politicians over the years have not been honest with the electorate about our loss of sovereignty, and the true goals of the European project as defined in Lisbon. The fact that Cameron states that he can renegotiate our membership seems to illustrate his fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of the European project.

        Reply I and other Conservative MPs have made sure people know exactly how much power has been handed to Brussels. The whole Conservative party in Parliament highlighted the huge transfers of power at Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, and voted against all 3 treaties. That’s how UKIP knows about it!

        • Hope
          Posted April 20, 2015 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          I doubt it. Major and Cameron were also perfectly aware of what they gave away to the EU and do not care what you, and the likes of you, say. Hence look at Cameron’s cabinet and Europhile advisers.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          You could well be right Chris, at least I hope to God you are.

          The reason we are in the mire right now, is because people weren’t really sure of what they were actually voting for, and what it could ultimately lead to. For instance, Labour administrations always lead to economic catastrophes, and higher unemployment .

          I know loads of Labour voters who hate the EU, and think we should get really tough on criminals, but that isn’t ever likely to win favour with the enthusiastic EU federalists who run the Labour party, or the plethora of criminal-loving do-gooders that infest the place. They just give out vague platitudes and glib assurances in the hope people keep falling for their (ideas ed).

          There may of course be another reason other than a poorly informed electorate. My lad said to me a few nights ago, that people must be absolutely mad to vote Labour. I agree, but I then told him of the things the other major parties had done, supposedly in our name. He was just as disgusted as I am.

          Blair said his priorities were ‘Education, education, education’. If only people took the time to seek out the facts and became familiar with the truth! Then there really WOULD be a political earthquake!


  5. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Us having diplomatic skills? Whether or not we have won’t be any use if the receiver of such diplomacy has his/her vested interest(s). Same as giving aid via such people….and that largely adds to the Mercedes Benz sales list.

    ISIS,Taliban, Boko Haram and any others don’t do diplomacy. They use murder. If the countries/regions in this mess don’t simply understand that they need to wipe out these organisations and maintain hard vigilance I don’t think diplomacy will work. Russia/China is into a certain amount of diplomacy clearly… and?

    Liberalism (aka laziness and waste) seems to work very well.

  6. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    One of the tragedies of the independence debate in the UK, particularly in Scotland, is that after centuries of trying the UK is falling apart as a coherent country. Just at the time when the example of the UK should be to show the rest of the World how to be comfortable with being English, Welsh, Scottish Irish and in dependent teritories, and at the same time British, we are an example of failure.

    The blame has to lie with the governance of the UK. Governance for far too long has been to do what suites the capital and its environs. More distant areas are treated as less important. No wonder so many Scotts think they could do better as an independent country. Many other parts of England feel they too are there to serve the interests of those elsewhere (the primary purpose of the Chilterns being to provide a better transport corridor for London, for example) but lack an alternative local nationality around which they can coalesce.

    We need to get the talking and waring right here in the UK before we strut the World.

    I was reminded by Andrew Neil that at one time the Conservative Party held a major of seats in Scotland, and over fifty years lost them, a trick Labour seems about to repeat in a fraction of the time. Those in Parliament need to remember they are there for the benefit of us all.

    Phrases like “Northern Powerhouse” may give some people a warm feeling, but also remind many others that they are not of concern to the national government.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Those of us who live in the “Northern Powerhouse” are to have a temporary mayor, many of us don’t want and about which we have not been nor will we be consulted , inflicted upon us – Labour of course. The author of this anti-democratic appointment? George Osborne! In some years’ time, we will be asked to elect someone to this post which I suspect a majority do not even want – but when did our views count for anything in the scheming world of the three main Westminster parties other than to further their own interests?
      Cameron tells us we shouldn’t vote UKIP or we will get Miliband, whilst his political guru is effectively appointing Labour placemen and even extending their powers to the extent of a £6bn NHS budget! A terrifying thought to many here in Greater Manchester!! Vote Conservative get Labour up here!

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Alan Wheately – We see superpowers the size of continents able to hold together with no animous regarding the centre of rule.

      Are the Little Scotlanders seriously saying that we can’t hold these small islands together ? Nationalism is a bad thing only if it is English.

      Dare to argue for English nationalism and the first thing you will be asked is “Ah. But what is English ?” a loaded question to draw the recipient into saying something racist.

      Never, during the recent referendum, did I hear a Scot asked “Ah. But what is Scottish ?”

      They are allowed to be racist against the English ‘oppressors’. Ours probably the most multi racial and multi cultural region on the planet.

      Whenever Sturgeon rails against England then she should be reminded of the – hitherto (but at risk) – successful multiculturaly diverse country she is railing against.

      Scotland is backward in this. It needs to become much more diverse and take more of its share of global movement. There are many lessons we could teach it.

  7. bluedog
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    An important post, Dr JR. The FCO, like any human organisation, has an institutional memory that is very much coloured by the career experience of those at the top. At present the FCO would be lead by the tail-end of the baby-boomer generation, whose careers would have been influenced by the end of the Cold War and the simultaneous growth of democracy in states of the former Soviet Union. Another dominating event has been the transformation of the Common Market into the ever-closer European Union. The previous generation of FCO leaders would have managed the end of empire, possibly with the advice, ‘never again’.

    It is therefore reasonable to assume that most successful FCO careers today have evolved around schmoozing in Brussels and the process of micro-managing relationships with other EU states. Indeed, it may be quite hard to find members of the FCO who prefer dealing with our American and Commonwealth cousins in preference to entertaining our cousins in Europe. Which leads to my point. If the FCO is to expand and become more effective, the objectivity of this process will be something of a culture shock to an institution with a bias towards subordination to the European ideal. In short, the Foreign Secretary will need to re-educate his department. But then the PM is a very subtle Europhile who seems to have given Phillip Hammond his job precisely because he is a Eurosceptic. For the same reason, the Eurosceptic Michael Gove suddenly became Chief Whip. And we know the PM is determined that the UK should stay in the EU, whatever Jean Claude Juncker thinks.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      There is at least one of Hammon’s constituents who regularly ridicules the idea that he is a “eurosceptic”.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        He certainly does not seem remotely to be one to me.

      • Timaction
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        Ha, ha , ha…………and so was William Hague until he got into office. The Conservative, Liberals and Labour are ALL Europhile parties with a few who claim dissent. Actions not words.
        It’s the UK’s return of its sovereign democracy (UKIP) versus the rest of the cartel!

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

          For the unfortunately very small minority who paid close enough attention Hague’s true colours, yellow and blue, were apparent long before he took office; and for as long as it remains on the statute book his European Union Act 2011 will be a monument to his deliberate deception of Tory members and the wider public.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

            True, yet Hague tried hard to cast himself as a Eurosceptic in his early days. This is just more evidence of duplicity on the part of career politicians who are out to dupe the public. Let’s hope JR stays true to his beliefs should he become Foreign Secretary, and not bow to the pro-EU Whitehall mandarins.


  8. agricola
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I respect your thinking, jaw jaw is better than war war.

    As a first step we need to re-establish democracy in the UK. It is difficult to sell a product that you have abandoned on the home market because you no longer believe in it. Whoever forms the next UK government will be in denial of the wishes of the UK electorate, because those in Parliament will not trust the people in a referendum on membership of the EU. Don’t bother pointing out that DC is offering one after a go nowhere re-negotiation. It is unlikely he will have the power to do so, and being a Europhile he will fudge the choice if he can.

    The following factors have either diluted or destroyed democracy in the UK.

    1. Allowing 70% of our legislation to come from the EU, so destroying our sovereignty as a nation.

    2. Subjecting where we trade in the World to the negotiating talents of the EU.

    3. Allowing our energy policy to be controlled by the green fantasy land of the EU, to the detriment of the people and our industry.

    4. Allowing the EU to contribute funds to the BBC so ensuring that it is an outlet for pro EU propaganda.

    5. Failing to allow an English Parliament in any meaningful sense while bending over to any overtures from Scotland. If we are to devolve powers they must be in equal measure to each of the four countries.

    6. Encouraging an open borders policy against the wishes of the people with an obvious detrimental effect on Education , the NHS, housing, and Social Services. Then going into denial about it.

    7. Unbalanced constituencies creating unbalanced representation in Parliament.

    8. Lack of candidate selection by the electorate, and no right of recall of failed MPs. This results in MPs primary loyalty being to the party, not the electorate.

    9. A first past the post system that no longer reflect the choices of the electorate as a whole in Parliament .

    10. Allowing a lobby industry too much access to Government, so vested interests have more say than the people. The 100,000 sop of a petition to Parliament for cursory examination should be replaced by a 500,000 petition that automatically brings about a referendum.

    11. Choice of ministers in any Government should be at least subject to the votes of the MPs in the governing party, not the favoured choice of the PM. We want quality not nepotism or artificial gender balance.

    Although you could argue that democracy started in the Middle East it has been redundant there for centuries. Politics there is tribal and religious with the exception of Israel. Standards in the Middle East vary from medieval to totally corrupt. All of which are in complete denial of the tenets of democracy. By all means get a FCO that understands it, can interpret it, and converse with it, but do not expect to change it from without. It can only change from within.

    • Hope
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Excellent post.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      The EU/Westminster/”lobbying”/”consultancy” corruption is clearly huge. Just read so many of the laws and regulations passed, they so clearly have vested interest group written right through them like a stick of rock.

      What other explanation do they have for passing such moronic anti-public & anti-efficiency measures?

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Another explanation is the wealthy who through their donations receive access to the decision makers within the Party.

        Different to those you list, but essentially the same process.

    • oldtimer
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Excellent points!

    • Martyn G
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      I would add the demise of Habeous Corpus vide the EAW to your accurate and extraordinarily depressing list of follies….

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 9:29 pm | Permalink



  9. Max Dunbar
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    As war, or the threat of force, is one of the main components of political activity then surely your first sentence is somewhat misleading. Would it not be more accurate to state that war breaks out when diplomacy fails?
    The fact that the Foreign Office appears, from what you suggest, to have declined prior to 2010 must give cause for concern. This institution already had a poor reputation and the suspicion is that it does not operate in the best interests of the nation. It has, unfortunately, been one of the main targets for infiltration by communists in the past and there is no reason to believe that under the last Labour government this problem did not become more acute. Indeed, it would be naive to think that it is has not been deliberately stuffed with Labour place men between 1997 and 2010. And like all British government institutions it must comply with ‘our values’ according to socialist doctrine.
    This leads me to the next point which is the erosion of our own democracy and freedom of speech. As the Foreign Office has deteriorated so our freedoms have declined in tandem. We are really not currently in a position to lecture other countries on Western values of freedom and democracy when we do not practise these virtues ourselves. There is absolutely no doubt that people are fearful of being not only vilified but also prosecuted for making remarks that at one time would have been considered to be harmless or at worst controversial.
    If the Conservative Party win a majority at this election will you put pressure on the leadership to abolish the laws that were introduced under Labour to muzzle and intimidate the population? Until this climate of fear is removed we cannot call ourselves a democracy in any meaningful way.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      The true answer to your question would be “No, in fact we will do the opposite, we will take them further and make them even more stringent.”

  10. Bazman
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Maybe you could explain your position on this report and the cost of it John and why the Tories are trying to suppress it? Well we know why don’t we another rewriting of facts isn’t it and what we have come to expect from the Tories on all manner of subjects from the NHS, education and banking. Lying fantasy like the re branding of zero hours contracts to ‘flexible working’. As if.
    Shooting the messengers will not help you fantasists and liars. This is my main point!

    Reply A number of submissions to the exercise came from business and country interests that want us to stay in. Ministers rightly wanted the other point of view also to be represented. Why do you want foreign countries and multinationals determining our EU policy? The civil service exercise was meant to be factual, not reporting pro EU propaganda.

    • Bazman
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Business, foreign governments and multinational interests not influencing Tory policy? Now there’s a thing. As soon as these groups panic about anything the Tories are like greased lightening to defend their position and scream blue murder about how the country should heed the warnings of these investors and wealth creators at the danger of scaring them away. Not on Europe it seems though. Funny that…

      • Edward2
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Baz, are you claiming the Labour Party is not also influenced by these major players in the modern mixed UK economy?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        A report prepared by pro-EU civil servants with evidence that on balance EU membership is jolly good for us? Now there’s a thing.

        • Bazman
          Posted April 19, 2015 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          Oh really?! Sensible evidence says different and had it been Tory evidence you would have accepted it old chap!

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Bazman – In order for the Tories to win the next election they must posture as Eurosceptics. They are probably saving this report for any referendum that might follow.

      In any case. You seem in favour of big business’s opinion only when it suits you. When they say zero hours is a good thing for the economy will you agree then ?

      Bearing in mind the disproportionate amount of political representation you have — including the state broadcaster and, I fear, much of the Tory party – you are rather graceless and offensive.

      • Bazman
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        I love toast.Me.

        • Mondeo Man
          Posted April 20, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

          Bazman – And yet, even if the Tories brought you subsidised toast you would not dream of voting for them. Never in a million years.

          They waste their time appealing to you at the cost of their core vote.

    • ian wragg
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      No wonder the report was supressed. Why should the likes of Japan and Australia tell us what is good for us. After all Japan has free movement of people (not) and Australia is doing its best to restrict immigration.
      Why should we listen to the power companies which are mainly foreign owned.
      Nearly all the submissions were from companies who remit their profits elsewhere and wish to crowd out the other 99% of the competition in their field.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Ian Wragg – The free movement of people is subsidised by the UK taxpayer. So of course foreign businesses remitting their profits elsewhere love it.

        What shows it is not working is the national debt.

  11. They Work for Us?
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    We need a ruthless Foreign Service actually acting in our interests. We don’t need a Socialist lite Foreign Service where the career ambition of individuals is to be told that they are “good men, good Europeans, real humanitarians etc” at our expense. Machiavelli’s thoughts about not caring too much about being liked should form part of a Foreign Service primer.

  12. forthurst
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    “By 2010 the FCO lacked the language skills and intelligence staff needed to have a thorough understanding of the Middle East and Russia.”

    It is important to have Foreign Secretaries whose patriotism is aimed exclusively at this country, to ensure that British interests are not deprecated in favour of those of foreign powers; British interests are served by rebuilding our understanding of foreign peoples and their often complex cultures and histories, rather than seeing them through others’ eyes as amorphous enemies to be bombed once a specious raison d’etre has been fabricated for popular consumption; running down the FCO’s intelligence capability to sneering articles in the press about ‘Arabists’ was pure treason. With regard to Eastern Europe and Russia, instead of being simply a Bolshevik Empire to be resisted by main force, it has become a seething cauldron of enmities as a consequence of the prior activities of the Bolsheviks, the most prolific mass murderers known to history, and it is understandable that FCO capabilities need to be built up here.

    However, without an independent foreign policy which could utilise better intelligence, independent of the USA, it might be wasted effort, except that when our servicemen are deployed abroad, they might be less likely to create their own enemies which previously had not existed, who then take their revenge by whatever means they can, so that our servicemen suffer death and grievous injury quite unnecessarily.

  13. Bert Young
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    There is no point in having diplomatic skills unless one’s presence is not backed up by strength . No matter what the situation , the negotiator has to be respected ; the party he is dealing with has to know that the follow up is something to be reckoned with . The sanctions imposed on Russia do have some economic bite , but Russia – with its military might , is still as big a threat as it ever was .

    Maintaining our armed forces at a realistic effective level must be any Government’s priority .There should be no fudging around the 2% of GDP that NATO has indicated ; we must bring back the respect and valued career and skills that our armed forces used to offer . I would much rather see a re-introduction of National Service than support the many individuals who proceed to low grade Universities offering a range of ridiculous courses .

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Rather than focusing on and being distracted by the nebulous 2% figure can we concentrate on the realities of our defence requirements and fund them accordingly.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    My local Conservative candidate, Dominic Grieve, gave a good speech on British values at the Oxford Union (available online). He specifically identified
    1 every minister and civil servant must obey the rule of law;
    2 toleration of dissent;
    3 peaceful change of government through elections;
    4 ethical foundations, no denial of justice but justice for all.

    He pointed out that all of this has derived from the historical narrative developed over many centuries. It was the foundation of democracy vs authoritarianism, and the idea of live and let live as the condition of a peaceful society.

  15. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    We need more female diplomats.

    • outsider
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      You may be right Margaret but you seem to imply that they would do things differently because they were women. It is often said that women are more consensual and conciliatory than men but these qualities are rarely ascribed to Margaret Thatcher or Indira Gandhi.
      My own experience of a large organisation (for several years I answered simultaneously to three women for different work streams) is that beyond the group level individual differences of character, background and ambition far outweigh and overwhelm any perceived gender tendencies. One of my able “bosses” was feline and very successful, another motherly and reliable and the third belligerent and cynical; no common thread at all.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        You cite examples which suggest that women should not be categorised 9 which I agree with)yet the females who have achieved an important position have used the male model to get there. Perhaps if it wasn’t so hard for women to get on they would use their own more female characteristics to solve problems.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      How about Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood and Natalie Bennett?

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        Wood and Bennett’s astonishing achievement was to make Sturgeon look moderate and Miliband appear positively right-wing.
        Sturgeon, having been anointed SNP Queen of Scotland, has noticeably changed her manner to one of magisterial dignity. I trust that Nigel was duly impressed that his hand was shaken after the event by such an eminent personage.

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        Perish the thought!

  16. Gumpy Goat
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Tell that to Mr Putin! Sadly political power still comes from the barrel of a gun, Putin has demonstrated that with aplomb. The Chinese also in the South china sea. Sadly the world I getting more dangerous. Shamefully the Tories have cut our defences to irrelevance.

    • Bazman
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Nice Mr Putin and his friends could cut us a really nice deal on gas when we leave the EU. We already buy a lot so why not all solving or energy problem at a stroke?
      Many Russians love living here so its all win win.

      • oldtimer
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        The voice of Putin speaks!

    • Bob
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      The EU has provoked unnecessary hostility from Russia due to it’s interference in Ukraine. With the Argentine beefing up it’s air capability with SU-24s from Russia I suppose we’ll now need to raise the stakes in the Falklands to avoid inviting aggression through weakness as we have done in past wars.
      If you want peace, prepare for war.

      I wondered in I am missing something or is the coalition really as clueless as they appear to be,

  17. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Do we have, do our politicians even want, an independent foreign policy?

    Since the war we have tended to defer to the newly emerged military superpower, the USA. I say “newly emerged” as a “military” superpower because before that war the USA was certainly an economic and financial giant but thanks partly to a strong tendency to isolationism it did not have anything like the military power that it so quickly built up during the war, and to a considerable extent retained afterwards.

    For interest here’s a chart of annual USA defence spending from 1910 to 2007:

    and it can be seen that spending did drop dramatically immediately after the war, when it had been maybe fifty or a hundred times greater than it had been previously, but then it quickly rose again to maybe twenty times greater than before the war, and that is the kind of level at which it has stayed ever since. It may be true that the UK has the fifth or sixth largest national defence budget in the world, as the UK government likes to say, but it is an order of magnitude smaller than that of the USA:

    But since the 1992 Maastricht Treaty on European Union, agreed and rammed through the Commons on a confidence vote by the Tory Prime Minister John Major, without any referendum, the foreign policy of our country has become increasingly entangled with the joint foreign policy of this new country in the making called “Europe”, planned to be a sovereign European federation with its own federal foreign and defence policy, and in due course its own federal armed forces which would be fully capable of challenging those of any other country in the world, not excluding the USA; and notwithstanding their public denials that does seem to be the preferred long term direction of travel for most of the politicians in all of the old political parties in the UK.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      You might ask do our politicians even want an independent UK policy on anything?
      Far easier for most of them to be told what to do by Brussels, act as lobby fodder in Westminster and collect their salaries as over-paid social workers.

  18. Tad Davison
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    ‘War breaks out when politics fails.’

    Not always the case. Commonly, war breaks out when subversive elements from the world’s most powerful military nation seeks to de-stabilise a regime for it’s own ends, or promotes and arms a group of insurgent militants which then turn into a bigger problem than the one they replaced. That is to say, they create enemies so they can justify the massive arms spending that just happens to make some people enormously rich, and so the world is in a state of perpetual war.

    History is littered with such cases, and it is thoroughly indefensible, but we’re back to the gullibility of the general public who are routinely sold a lie and a myth, just as is happening right now in the UK general election campaign by politicians who really should be locked up for our own good. The ones who perpetually demonise another country, rather than try to empathise with their leaders, get around a negotiating table, and work through the differences that way. The ones who charge headlong into regime change that turns a rich, stable, country into a failed state, merely because they may not like the leader.

    I listen to many news channels in order to make a comparison between what we are being told here in the UK, and what others have to say about world events. The disparity is alarming. The worst of all for not reporting significant matters that would surely sway domestic public opinion, are the good old BBC. Politicians simply wouldn’t be able to peddle this war rhetoric guff, were the journalists up to scratch and properly held them to account.

    Whilst the machinery of misinformation and propaganda rolls on, expect more wars, foreign entanglements, the loss of many innocent lives, and the wealth of massively rich corporations to keep on growing.

    As a foot note, and provided he didn’t change his stance to favour any of the above, I would quite like to see JR become Foreign Secretary. Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately) that would require a wholly different leadership of the Conservative Party with a wholly different ethos. Now that really would be something to see!

    Tad Davison


    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      And there are many ways to destabilise , not least of all financial dependence and debt.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        Oh, absolutely Margaret! If only people would take the trouble to properly research that!

        I have often said there are just two things that really trouble me – nepotism (a form of corruption) and ignorance. For the first to triumph, depends upon the second. People living in a state of splendid detachment, content to go about their lives, and not take the time to look up what is going on about them, or who is manipulating the system for their own perverse advantage.

        I really could write a book on it, except that vested interests would see to it that it never got published.


  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, as the matter of food banks has become so prominent in this election debate, with their increased number being held up as shocking evidence of the grinding poverty, “austerity”, which is being inflicted on masses of the British population through the utterly callous, ideologically motivated, “Tory cuts”, I thought I would dig around a bit to get a better perspective on the scale of the problem they are addressing.

    It’s one thing to shout out that soon there may be a million people, a bit more than 1% of the total population, who have had recourse to a food bank or other charitable outlet on one or more occasion during the year, but that doesn’t mean that all of them are having to rely on donations of free food through the rest of the year; as overall these charitable enterprises are now being dubbed “Feeding Britain” it seems sensible to ask just how big a contribution they actually make to feeding the nation.

    It’s not easy to establish that, with conflicting data expressed in different ways, and with claims and counterclaims, but it seems that somewhere between 99.90% and 99.99% of the food consumed by the nation is being bought in the usual way.

    Moreover I note in one report that “the number of primary and secondary diagnoses of malnutrition in England rose from 3,161 in 2008-09 to 5,499 last year” – which is a very small number for a population of about 54 million, once again at the 0.01% level. It’s not exactly as though Hunger is Stalking the Land as it did in past times.

    This is not in any way to decry the practical efforts of those who are trying to help fellow citizens who are in distress, indeed my own family has made donations to a local food bank as a good cause, but the scale of the problem should be kept in perspective and it should not be grossly exaggerated for political purposes as it is being.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Denis – I know many people on welfare. None of them are starving and none of them are resorting to food banks.

      Some people have problems with money management.

      Doubtless Labour’s laws on gambling have caused much impoverishment and distress.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it’s disgraceful to propose a casino and say that it will be a fantastic addition to the local economy, as some Labour politician did. But then it was Heseltine who kicked this off with the National Lottery. Personally I’m not puritanical about gambling insofar as I believe that if people want to do that with their money then it’s their money and they should generally be free about how they spend, or waste, it; but I certainly don’t think the government should be actively encouraging it and then adding it to GDP as part of some much-vaunted “long term economic plan”, along with prostitution and drug dealing.

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        Some of the people using food banks have cars, satellite TV’s, Plasma TV’s, the latest mobile phones, tattoos galore, eat out, are not starving (in fact they are overweight) and can manage to go to bingo and drink.

        I am not saying everyone is like this but many are. They simply don’t know how or can’t be bothered to cook proper food which if managed properly is cheap now. They would rather live on ready meals and takeaways. Most people need to get their priorities right before turning to charity.

        Reply Wild generalisations like these are hurtful to people in real need.

    • Bazman
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Why are he poor are so fat despite having no money as they spend it on fags, booze gambling and satellite TV. Food banks are obviously the ‘logical’ answer.
      If are not starving or even a bit peckish, but you have a mortgage then it would make sense to stop feeding your children until you have paid it off as I have sensibly done and as the Tories recommend for the rest of the countries debts. The landlord still puts up the rent every year by extortionate amounts in my case.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        Next thing you’ll be saying that some of the poor don’t know how to cook, or at least they don’t know how to cook economically, and then you’ll be in real trouble and you’ll have to grovel and retract and publicly apologise even though it might be true.

        Page 19 here:

        “We also very much support the Trussell Trust’s recent pilot of cooking courses and co-location of welfare benefits, debt advice and other services in its food banks.”

        Page 29:

        “As well as lacking resources, a proportion of families also lack the resilience to cope with life on a low income. They may have difficulties budgeting for a week’s worth of shopping, for example, as whatever income there might be is devoted to other, non-essential items of expenditure or to paying off debt. Some households may also find it difficult to prepare or cook decent meals from scratch, making them much more likely to rely on ready meals or takeaways.

        Whilst we have heard how many families manage to buy and cook food on a shoestring budget for extended periods of time, we have seen also that a number of individuals and families are unable to do so. We therefore very much welcome the Government’s decision to reintroduce the mandatory teaching of cooking skills into the National Curriculum for maintained schools. Academies and free schools should be encouraged to embed these skills into their learning programmes, so that all young people leave school with a basic set of cooking skills.”

        That’s what our society is like now, largely thanks to left wing extremists: dare to speak an unpalatable truth and you get excoriated.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        What are you rambling about Bazman.

        1) You claim you’ve paid off your mortgage

        2) You claim your landlord puts up your rent by extortionate amounts each year

        Now either. You are some kind of money masochist that rents your own house back to yourself, or you have a property you live in and one you rent out which makes you an evil tory landlord or you’re talking complete bo**ocks . I know which of those my money is on.

    • ian wragg
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      My wife manages a charity which gives out food parcels restricted to 2 each year.
      Without exception they go to people who have been sanctioned, just gone onto benefits and not been paid or to victims of broken relationships.
      Very few are given to people who you would class as starving.
      Often people who have been helped return the favour when times improve.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        I’ve read here:

        that the most frequent reason is what seem to be administrative delays over benefit payments, which rather surprises me as I thought the welfare system has always had provision for emergency grants or loans to be made, and with another large chunk down to “benefit changes”, which presumably in some cases reflects a failure to immediately adjust total spending in line with a reduction in the benefits being received.

        However my main point is that the scale of this is being blown out of all proportion. If instead of asking Cameron if he knew how many food banks there were Paxman had asked him if he knew how much of the nation’s food was now being supplied through charities because people were too poor to buy enough, then if Cameron has been properly briefed he could have answered “Somewhere between 0.01% and 0.1%”.

      • Dame Rita Webb
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        How many of the claimants drive off with their food parcel in their car or by taxi?

        • mickc
          Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:54 am | Permalink


          My wife’s church operates a foodbank and the food is delivered by volunteers, of which I am one.

          Believe me, these people do need the food. The recipients are people who have fallen on hard times, not shirkers.

          They are referred by social services and cannot just “get”. They only get one weeks worth of food to keep them going until the “system” has clicked in and they get Jobseekers Allowance or other relevant welfare payment.

          It is not a permanent mealticket, just a last resort.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

            If they are referred by social services, are they offered the alternatives of a referral to a charitable food bank or being given some means to buy the necessary food in a shop?

            I can see that in some cases there could be advantages in a referral to a charity if it could provide other kinds of help which was needed, even if it was just the cookery lessons mentioned above.

            But in terms of cost, the scale of this is small compared to total public expenditure, perhaps a few tens of millions of pounds of public money saved each year, which is not going to have much of an impact on the budget deficit.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      On the subject of food banks. Looks like we will soon have fuel banks!

      Just more money given away to try and stop people realising that their energy bills have risen and will continue to do so because of renewables and the expensive subsidies. Why are the big6 being portrayed as the big bad wolf when government policy is to blame.

  20. turbo terrier
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I want the next Parliament to rebuild the UK’s diplomatic strength.

    Great thought John but untill you put in place people within the Diplomatic Service as with the large majority of our existing politicians who are street wise, have an understanding about how business really works, have a passion to do the job whatever the forces against them and be able to be big enough and brave enought to walkthe talk then this country does not have a hope in hell in getting back onto our feet. Every civil servant and politician has two important components to their very existance, One is is to maintain or suport the the daily status quo. and the other is to destroy the status quo to improve circumstances.
    That just doesn’t happen within the political structure of the Uk apart from about a 100 odd of your collegues that can see the wood. Ideas being bounded about on the hustings and on the media are: Only valuable if they can be implemented. Proposals and suggestions that either, not implemented or cannot be implemented are like castles in the sky. This is what is being dumped upon the electorate at the present. As we have found out to our cost, some of the policies that have been made into law are not worth a rub when it comes to addressing the state the country is in. Every day there are reports from all over the world about the increase in coal for power generation and what are we doing? Just about says it all. The government has cut defence and still we are being pressured to get rid of Trident Mk2. Lets just do what big companies do, lease the equipment and avoid the capital outlay. Might hiss off a lot of people north of the border but use American boats on lease and still have their weapon systems. All maintenance and refits can be carried out in American yards under specialist English experts. That will drive home the real value of having English bases and refitting yards. The electorate can not have it all and should be made aware of the real situation as it really is. Putin is not testing our defences out of fun. The man is playing hard ball. For a lot of us out here in the real world it is not the party it is the leadership. Now push is going to shove we are being found wanting.

  21. ChrisS
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    According to press reports this morning that advisers to HM have pretty well scuppered any chance of Cameron remaining PM.

    It was reported that the Palace has told the politicians not to approach the Queen unless they can guarantee getting a Queen’s Speech through the house.

    That means any arrangement has to have at least 326 seats on side and it rules out any possibility of a minority Government.

    Given the numbers, even if the Conservatives are the largest single party, they look very unlikely to muster 326 seats even with the LibDems, DUP and a couple from UKIP on board.

    Unless voters look over the precipice and take fright at what they see, it is looking increasingly likely that our Labour / SNP nightmare scenario may well come true.

    Reply Let’s see the results of the election, then we can decide what should happen. I want Conservatives to win enough seats to govern and that is still quite possible. Mr Cameron is PM until he resigns or until he is defeated in a motion of confidence. He would of course resign if some other party leader clearly had the votes of 326 plus MPs, and the Queen would welcome such a leader as the new PM.

  22. Excalibur
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    I see the Indians, with their usual empathy towards matters British, and in grateful acknowledgement of CMD’s intra company transfer visas have ordered French ‘Rafale’ fighter aircraft, rather than a comparable British product. Don’t you just love ’em ! Just what did we get out of CMD’s much trumpeted visit to India ? So much for our diplomacy and influence.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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