What should a UK foreign policy look like?

As we leave the EU the UK will be free to design a new foreign policy. Whilst it is true that the present Treaties allow an EU country to express a different view about a third country from the common EU line, it is becoming increasingly centralised with more resources being put into the EU diplomatic service and more loyalty expected to the EU High Representative’s view. In many areas, ranging from trade to climate change the UK and other member states have to accept the common line and allow the EU to lead. The UK is bound in to a trade policy by Treaty, and has to watch as the EU represents us at the WTO even though we have to pay a membership subscription to the WTO. There are many other bodies making standards and regulating business worldwide where the EU has taken over form the UK. When it comes to military intervention the UK and the others still have the power to decide for themselves whether to commit to common action or not.

The UK needs a new foreign policy not just to incorporate the areas the EU currently does for us, and the new freedoms we will have to shape a policy in our own national interest. We also need it to reflect on the problems caused by coalition and NATO actions in the Middle East and elsewhere in recent years. Many UK voters are critical of the UK’s policies this century, disliking the military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan. Libya and Syria, and disliking the inability of the UK to argue its own case in matters like trade and energy to look after its own economic interests. Take back control was mainly articulated about migration, taxes and domestic laws, but it was also relevant to the conduct of foreign policy.

I wish to explore how we should use our new freedoms, and what we should learn from the military interventions of recent years, in a series of blog posts over the weeks ahead. Today I wish to start with the issue of what should be the main purpose of UK foreign and defence policy? I would propose that the main aims are

1. Creating friendly and positive relationships with our neighbours and partners, including promoting more free trade, more exchanges of ideas, investments, intelligence, cultural activities and the rest.
2. Having sufficient power to defend and protect the UK islands and our dependent territories, and sending clear messages of our resolve to protect ourselves should need arise.
3. Working with allies and partners to promote peace and prosperity worldwide, seeking conflict resolution and better economic development in troubled developing countries. Acting where we can make a difference for the better.
4. Recognising the limits to our abilities to reform or amend governments and their policies far from home. We are not to blame for all the ills of the world and cannot solve all the worlds problems.
5. Seeking mutual understanding with the major powers of the world, whilst being able in conjunction with our NATO allies to protect ourselves if diplomacy fails.

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58 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Indeed your five aims are spot on.

    To do this we however we need a rather stronger economy and this needs cheaper energy, easy hire and fire and far less government, a sensible PM with a positive vision and far less red tape.

    You number 2. “Having sufficient power to defend and protect the UK islands and our dependent territories, and sending clear messages of our resolve to protect ourselves should need arise.” is perhaps the most important. To do this we need to sort out millitary procurement. It currently seems to be run by total incompetents, fools, politicians or (even worse) people with connections to vested interests.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      http://www.economistsforfreetrade.com/News/brexit-could-boost-uk-economy-by-135-billion-say-top-economists/

      Including the sensible Patrick Minford. It would indeed and deregulation, a far more efficient (but smaller) government and cheaper energy would boost it far more. For a sensible defence policy we must have a sound economy. Hammond & May are clearly paddling and signalling totally the wrong direction of travel as usual.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 21, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        I would take Patrick Minford’s highly optimistic projections with a large grain of salt, but still with a smaller pinch than for the blatantly unfounded claims that we reap economic benefits from EU membership.

        For example, only yesterday:

        https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/aug/19/brexit-european-court-of-justice-theresa-may-foolish-attack

        “Theresa May’s Brexit strategy has been thrown into new doubt as a former head of the government’s legal services ridicules the prime minister’s claim that the UK can break free of all European laws while continuing to reap the economic benefits of the EU’s single market.”

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 21, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        LL

        Agree totally that we need cheaper energy. Fracking is taking off big time in China and the USA is flooding world markets with shale gas. Meanwhile…………back in backward UK?????

        The tabloids continue to peddle the myth that fossil fuels get massive subsidies when in fact this is not true. I just hope Dieter Helm give the government some good advice on all this and more importantly, that they actually listen. The Global Warming Policy Foundation has some very good info on all this at the moment.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 21, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          Indeed fossil fuels are massively taxed and “renewables” are subsidised hugely and they also have hugely distorted the energy market for them.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      We do need a stronger economy with much cheaper energy and that is the only way we can pay for all the areas highlighted in today’s entry. Cutting waste in the public sector would also help. We have to have the funds to pay as we go, not keep borrowing money try to act and look the part. Above all provide our forces with the very best of equipment. They are worth it!

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/global-trade-thrusts-louisianas-henry-hub-into-center-of-natural-gas-world-1502967607

      America has the right idea ignore the fears of the green tree huggers and give industry cheap energy to assist their expansion plans. We in the UK do not seem to hear much about shale these past months I wonder why?

  2. Andy Marlot
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Yes and that policy should have at it’s heart non aggression. No involvement in other countries affairs, no funding or aid to proxy wars, no troops stationed outside UK territory, no sanctions against anyone that hasn’t sanctioned us. Free trade with anyone that will do the same. Set an example for the good instead of for the bad.

  3. formula57
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    As a public expression of aspirations, I expect your list is most adequate. As for our true foreign policy: –

    We should be providing for energy and food security, by which is meant adequacy and assuredness of supply.

    Let us recall that for five hundred years or so our foreign policy has for good reason and with good outcomes rested upon opposing the chief power in continental Europe and so we should be ready to confront the Evil Empire, especially as it seeks to lever its diplomatic strength under the direction of its oddly named External Action Service.

    Beyond that, let us also recognize the belligerent use to which NATO has been put since its original purpose fell away. Is the British public ready to expend lives and materiel and wealth defending far away countries of which we know little except that they may very well have exhibited a bad attitude to Brexit?

    Your point 3. is dangerously phrased as it admits the irresponsible Blairist doctrine of permitting UK military intervention anywhere and everywhere it can “make a difference”.

    As a general point, the UK has been pulling others’ chestnuts out of the fire for too long and too frequently and for insufficient or no reward: let us have a foreign policy that stops that.

    • Mark Hodgson
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      formula 57,you beat me to it.

      I am also concerned about point 3. It is easy for politicians to claim our intervention “can make a [positive] difference” but hindsight regularly shows that intervention makes matters worse.

      Far better to mind our own business. How arrogant of us to assume that we can/should intervene in other countries’ affairs! We’re not so keen on it when others seek to interfere in our affairs. We should remember that.

      • forthurst
        Posted August 21, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        “….allies and partners…”

        We have allies who have never fought along side us; we have partners that regard us as a poodle or who presume to destroy us by planting ecclesiastical buildings in our midst by promoting a way of life which is inimical to our culture. We have a Foreign Office and MI6 which are staffed either by idiots or traitors or both.

        As to “reform or amend governments” that one is strictly for an audience of people with double digit IQs; if anyone wants to tell me that out of the goodness of hearts, we have killed millions in order to implant representative democracy when we don’t even have that here, then I will call that man a bliar to his face.

  4. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    .
    IMVHO – the main reason we have had so many conflicts is down to a lack of diplomacy – we need to rebuild what was once a great industry in this matter – not in the way that the EU operates, but with real dialogue to stop conflicts becoming wars.

    Defence – Our armed forces have been savaged over the last 50 years – we need to rebuild, so that we are not seen as weak and ineffective – let’s have some pride back in our ability to protect ourselves.

    Let’s not have a blanket approach to all countries – they should be treated each by their merits and problems – friendly relations yes, but we should not be seen as a benefit office.

    Recognising the limits to our abilities to reform or amend governments and their policies far from home. We are not to blame for all the ills of the world and cannot solve all the worlds problems.” Can only agree with that.

    There is no reason for diplomacy to fail – if it does, then someone somewhere is stirring up trouble for their own ends – find that someone and squash them. It’s called the third party law, where conflicts happen due to a third party causing friction.

    Diplomacy has to be the name of the game, to promote our values, our commercial interests and to show we are friends – Embassies need to expand to reflect that they need to push our priorities rather being a clearing house for economic migrants.

    .

  5. Duncan
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    The first step is to make the UK an economic behemoth and to do that we need a PM who doesn’t bend and placate to the liberal left at every turn

    Surely the Conservative Party is able to find a neo-Thatcherite leader to implement policies that reduce tax, reduce the size of the State and roll back the influence of the left across all areas of State activity?

    And yet we have to tolerate the insipid nonsense from May. What’s happened to the real leaders? People with vision rather than a left wing sop?

    With the right policies post-EU the UK can become the next Taiwan but we must present an attractive destination for risk capital otherwise we will struggle.

    The rise of the left will only scare away wealth creators. The Tories need to undermine and weaken the Labour party and to do that they need to cut off their funding. Abolish the opt-in system in the public sector and privatise the BBC and watch labour and their allies squeal. I resent my taxes being used
    to pay the funding of the unions and labour

    • getahead
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      The Tories also need to disentangle themselves from the current crony capitalist system, without which we would by now be well clear of the EU.

  6. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I happened to catch part of the proceedings of a Lords committee in which representatives of the UK’s overseas territories were giving their views on Brexit, and the lady from the Turks and Caicos spoke about the various streams of funding that they got from the EU without at any point acknowledging that this is just a part of the money that UK taxpayers put into the EU being relabeled as “EU money”. I don’t particularly blame her, as we constantly see the same kind of thing much closer to home with the EU effectively being allowed to use our money – that £350 million a week – to buy support for itself. That fraud has to end, if UK taxpayers provide help anywhere in the world – as they may wish to do –
    then the local inhabitants should correctly understand who is helping them.

  7. Bert Young
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Johns’ proposals are clear and straightforward – I concur with each of his points . I fully support the view that much priority has to be given to our armed forces ; if we don’t have the strength we will never be respected .
    On the diplomatic front there is a strong case to take Russia on board and not to continue with a programme of isolation . Russia has to be made to feel that co-operation is the way for it to exploit its many talents and resources .
    We must also prioritise the relationship with the USA ; its economic whack and our common language base give us all the attraction that is needed – welcoming Trump would be the tip of the iceberg .
    The EU is a handicap for us ; there is much duplication in the way it goes about its business and its representative offices around the world do not help our presence now or in the future .
    The Middle East will continue to be a melting pot of disagreement – much of it extreme ; we must stay out of it .

    • getahead
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Russia is in the way of the EU’s expansionist aims. We cannot, I suspect, be friendly with Russia whilst remaining in the EU.

  8. Original Richard
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    “Acting where we can make a difference for the better.”

    Who’s defining “for the better” ?

    This allows a UK government to intervene where it wishes, even against the wishes of the population. Even today our past and persent leaders are adament that (attempted) regime changes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Ukraine have been “for the better”.

    A better endeavor would be to work towards population reduction, particularly in Africa and to ensure that further aid is tied to this goal.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      I was pleased to see Peter Oborne (Saturday’s Daily Mail) totally trash William Hague on the back of an interview he gave R4 last week for perpetuating the lies behind our involvement in Libya and attempted involvement in Syria.

      There needs to be a total clear out of the Foreign Policy establishment.The recent appointment of Tom Tugenghat (which,again,incurred Oborne’s displeasure) to the Foreign Affairs select committee is not at all promising.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Your five aims are fine, JR, now all you have to do is purge the civil service of all those who believe that really we should only exist to faithfully serve the EU.

    And not just purge the Foreign and Commonwealth Office but all the other departments, especially including David Davis’s Department for Exiting the European Union.

    It is staggering that until recently his most senior adviser has been somebody resolutely opposed to the whole purpose of the department, somebody who apparently was inherited from George Osborne, and whose views were well known:

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/701900/James-Chapman-who-is-aide-David-Davis-Brexit-special-advisor-George-Osborne-Project-Fear

    “Who is James Chapman? Osborne’s ally during Project Fear moves to Brexit department”

    “JAMES CHAPMAN has been appointed as an aide to the Brexit Secretary despite having helped to run so-called Project Fear.”

    How many more of his kind have been allowed to infiltrate the department?

    Personally I would insist that every civil servant at every level must swear a fresh oath of allegiance to the UK explicitly renouncing any previous allegiance to the EU, and we could well do without those who baulk at doing that.

  10. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    As previously commented our membership of NATO should be on the Brexit table. There is some validity in President Trump’s onetime view that it is obsolete. Whilst a nuclear deterrent is essential given its proliferation through the decades, is renewing Trident the best option?

  11. Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Allow me to remind everyone that if we left the EU on 30th March 2019 without making other arrangements apart from the WTO, we would, thanks to NTBs (non tariff barriers) be cut off from all intercourse with the continent. Percipient people like Ryanair and Citi bank have already spotted this.
    If, on the other hand, we were to leave the EU and join EFTA, then we would stay in the Common Market and trade could continue at normal. The Irish border problem, as everyone can see quite clearly, is not going to be solved unless we join EFTA.
    At the moment, there is drift. M.Barnier reports back soon to the Council (where we are no longer represented) with the results of the discussion so far. After that there are just a few months to sort out the thousands (yes thousands) of detailed agreements.
    We could walk straight into EFTA.

    Reply This is nonsense. The EU has been trading for years with no up to date legal schedule at the WTO! Planes will fly the day after Brexit with or without a deal

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      I can’t be bothered to go through this and point out the multiple errors of fact. If I thought that you (Mike Stallard) would come back and read my comment and try to reply to the criticisms then that would be a different matter; but you don’t do that , you just fly over and dump your load of dud bombs and then fly away. So I can say without any fear of contradiction from you that this is all rubbish …

    • Edward2
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Mike
      How do so many nations trade happily and successfully in Europe today without being members of the EU?
      These nations do not pay billions in membership fees every year nor do they agree to EU courts having premacy over their own countries nor do they accept freedom of movement.
      Your fears are totally ridiculous.

  12. Stephen Berry
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Number 4 is by far the most important in the light of recent British foreign policy.

    There are many countries around the world with different customs to ours and the liberal interventionist elite forget that people in these lands often value their way of living just as much as we value ours. Remember also that the year is 2017, not 1917, and British military power has declined relative to that of many other countries in the world. When the Russians and Germans partitioned Poland in 1939, we could not do much about it. Do we really think that we can have a major influence on events in the Ukraine?

    Indeed, the general direction of British foreign policy should be to pull back from Europe, to reverse the direction of policy begun by Sir Edward Grey in the years before the Great War. The likelihood seems to be that the EU is going to become ever more assertive in foreign policy and the UK’s exit from the EU is a marvellous opportunity to avoid being drawn into their quarrels. I feel somehow that these quarrels will not be few and limited in scope.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree with you.I would just make the point that the part of “Poland” which the Soviet Union took under the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was territory the Poles grabbed during the Russian Civil War(western Ukraine,Belarus and part of Lithuania),ignoring the border suggested for them at Versailles(the Curzon Line).It was always likely the Russians would take it back-the Anglo-French guarantee to Poland only applied to it’s western border with Germany.The border agreed- reluctantly -with Stalin at the end of WWII was more-or-less the Curzon Line-the delineation of ethnographic Poland.Poland’s expansionist behaviour in the interwar years was appalling but has been totally whitewashed.

      • Stephen Berry
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Mitchel, I am aware of some of the history of the Western Ukraine and the many powers which have controlled it for periods of time. But I am sure there are many territorial claims and disputes in Eastern Europe of which I am unaware and ignorant. I don’t think it is just chance that the two world wars of the last century kicked off in Eastern Europe.

        I have always been dubious of the wisdom of extending NATO into Eastern Europe. If the EU want to form a European army, take over the defence of Eastern Europe and mediate disputes in this area, then it’s the best of British luck to them.

        • Mitchel
          Posted August 23, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          My thoughts precisely.Incidentally,the late George Kennan,who was the architect of the containment policy with regard to the Soviet Union after WWII,was also against the eastward expansion of NATO.

  13. Family Fortunes
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Neutral. That is what you would expect of a nation that has fighting everyone else’s war for a thousand years.

    • eeyore
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      “. . . everyone else’s war . . .”. Alas, we are an interfering people who for many centuries have practised a sort of cheerful military tourism. Nonetheless, to be fair, we have not yet invaded Thailand.

      • Kevin Lohse
        Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        An oversight, easily remedied.

  14. William Long
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I certainly agree with your five points as a basis, though I would put No. 2 at the top because without sufficient power to protect ourselves, no one is going to take any notice of us in our efforts to promote the other four points.
    Bearing in mind your previous post, I would add as No. 6 that we should bring our influence to bear at all opportunities we have, to prevent any one power or group of powers exercising its influence to upset the peace of the world.

  15. Iain Moore
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    At the moment of greater concern is the British state going down the road of Big Brother under the guiding hand of Alison Saunders of the CPS. Hate Crime is becoming what many of us feared it would , that of invidious state censorship.

    The CPS lists Hate Crime as …”Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person’s disability or perceived disability; race or perceived race; or religion or perceived religion; or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”

    So its not what one says but the sensitivity of some snowflake, and if of a particularly timid disposition, well you are in trouble, for strident statement becomes a hate crime. Of course it isn’t only the ‘victim’ one has to worry about but how PC our local police force has become , in some cases they have become (Too controlling of thoughts? ed) than a police force we would recognise. The tweet from the Wiltshire police force was particularly threatening when they said “You can’t hide from us if your spewing abuse from behind a computer screen. Our boys & gals in blue will find you” It should also be remembered that the Wiltshire police force no longer has the time or manpower to arrest shop lifters.

  16. Kenneth
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I agree with your 5 suggestions for foreign policy and would emphasis number 4 in particular.

    4. Recognising the limits to our abilities to reform or amend governments and their policies far from home. We are not to blame for all the ills of the world and cannot solve all the worlds problems.

    There is a distasteful tendency among some on the Left to assume that their perception of Western values and culture is superior to others. Lecturing other cultures on such things has girls attending school comes from a supremacist mindset that we should utterly condemn.

    There is no way that anyone can prove that one culture is better than another culture and this fascist and supremacist attitude from the Left needs to be stamped out before it gets dangerous.

  17. David Cockburn
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    If we are to return to having a successful independent foreign policy it is essential that we do so from a position of economic strength. So it’s right that your first point is about free trade. I see no reason why that should not be combined with active support for home industries to help them be competitive in a more challenging environment. Our civil servants will have to start seeing business as partners to be helped to make money on our behalf.

  18. bigneil
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    So we pay to the EU – – AND the WTO ? No problem – only taxpayer’s money isn’t it. Country in massive debt, NHS paying for anyone who flies in from anywhere for free treatment – -and thousands a week walking into the country for a lifelong non-contributing/non-working life on the taxpayer. Nearly forgot – also throwing billions away to far off lands in “Foreign Aid” which does nothing except go in corrupt pockets.
    Politicians REALLY live in another world.

  19. oldtimer
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Brexit, once accomplished, will emphasise the importance of a UK maritime strategy based on the promotion and protection of free trade and free trade routes. That can only be achieved if the UK economy and the government’s finances are soundly based – something that has yet to be convincingly demonstrated. Unless that is achieved pursuit of a foreign policy is unlikely to be very effective.

    The UK will need to think carefully about potential developments in continental Europe. The EU itself will be weaker without UK cash contributions; there are obvious imbalances of trade among the remaining member states; there are clear differences of opinion on the approach to be taken towards migrants, for example the Visegrad group has taken a much harder line on this issue than Germany. It is unclear how the EZ itself will evolve in the years ahead as and when new financial pressures come to bear. It is probably true that the current relationship of the EU and its member states with the USA is not exactly harmonious. What if, in the years ahead, the EU itself cannot resolve its internal imbalances and disintegrates as a unifying institution and fragments into two or three blocs with different interests? What then? The UK certainly needs to maintain good relationships with all the EU members states.

  20. Shieldsman
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Sir Nicholas Soames in voting to remain in the EU, believed David Cameron saying the UK would not join an EU Army.
    There is growing disquiet among senior military figures about the UK government’s acquiescence over the last 12 months to the EU’s proposed common defence forces.
    Concerns have grown because, despite information published by the Facts4EU.Org Team and other serious organisations such as Veterans for Britain, the government has failed to address the evidence of what it has signed up to since the Referendum.
    It is the policy of the EU Parliament that the common armed forces currently being developed must be unionised. No restriction against striking was put on this when the
    Parliament voted, and harmonisation across EU countries was stressed.

  21. Newmania
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Every single one of those aims is laughable coming from a Brexit wrecker

    • Oggy
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Your period of mourning at losing your beloved EU must have ended long ago – isn’t it time now for you to move on ? (and get a life)

  22. Man of Kent
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Points 2 and 5 are largely defence matters.
    My concern is that we have allowed our defence forces to shrink to such a level that we could not keep the peace in the UK in the event that the police are unable to do so first.

    In N Ireland once the RUC were unable to keep the peace in 1969 then the Army was called in. When guns were sent to the North in 1970 while Charles Haughey was the Treasurer in the South the calls on the Army were huge.

    Hopefully this will not re-emerge as a threat but no-go areas have been reported in some towns in England .
    Should they go bad then we have precious few boots on the ground to contain matters.

  23. Prigger
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    It is sad that people who genuinely love their Country. Many on here.Well, we vent our spleen. Yet many if not most others do not a care a BBC journalist for anything. Yet they prosper and many on here do not. No prizes for patriotism however awkward and mardy our presentation.We chase the provocative article as though we are necessary or important. Well, I am.

  24. Anna
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    We need to re-assess and reduce foreign aid. Of course there must be a compassionate and immediate response to natural disasters; but the waste and corruption in the distribution of foreign aid for other projects is deplorable.

    The Times exposed the vast fees some ‘consultants’ charge for their services. African journalists have exposed the widespread corruption that fills the leaders’ Swiss bank accounts. Some African countries have healthy growth but the wealth is not tricking down and the migrants pour into Europe. The change in the demographics of Europe is a major problem for the future.

    The questions need to be asked: since the end of colonialism, doctors, teachers, engineers, agriculturalists, geologists, mining engineers etc. and trillions of pounds have been poured into Africa, why is it, in many areas, in such a desperate plight? How can our foreign policy be more constructive and less wasteful?

    • hefner
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      You might want to read “Dead Aid”, by Dambisa Moyo, 2010. It is even in some local libraries.

  25. RDM
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Re: Off Topic.

    Hi JR,
    Looking a head, after all the Brexit stuff has quietened down. A bit, MP’s are going to turn to the detail.

    How, here a thought!

    You know I’ve be been looking into other things to do, my family back ground was in moving and repairing heavy plant, which is why I have a HGV Class 1. So, I have been looking at how to finance a Tractor and Tailer. Right, easy, just have to take the CPC.

    CPC is £500 worth of Gross Vehicle Weight, etc …

    Did you know the Directive 96/53 covers these weights across the EU, except for different interpretations for each country, when Sweden and Finland joined they kepted their 60 tonne GVW.

    Anyway, the point is, Britain did not repeal (I believe) its old regulations. AKA Road Vehicle (Construction & Use) Regulations Act 1986. They can still be referred too. But not both, you have be complient with one or other, know as C&U.

    See http://Www.transportsfriend.org/road/axles.html

    My idea was if we have such Regulations in place why not just repeal the EU regulations, leaving that which is already in place!

    Secondly;

    Strategically, Britain needs a note competive weight limited.

    1) 40 foot containers could weight 60 tonne to any destination except GB, we have a limit of 44 tonne, and if you want to ship 60 tonne, or more, you have to split the load into two containers! Just to come to GB, no wonder the really big container ships go to Rotterdam and Hamburg.

    2) Technology, tailers with five axles, that steer, do far less damage to the roads, for two reasons, one they steer around bends, and two, they don’t have a big gap for weight to transfer over. Increasing front, and them back, distributed weight. That creates those Farrows on the motoway.s

    Safety advance they have over our tailers is, I believe, is it is far harder to Jack Knife those trailers, with no gap for the tractor to go under the tailers!

    My point is that a large Productivity gain could be had if we take the opportunity, while repealing the EU 96/53 Directive, and increased C&U GVW to 85 tonnes.

    Just an idea!

    Regards,

    RDM.

    • RDM
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Also; while I’ m at it.

      Did you know Own Drivers have to have an Operators license, a Driving license, a CPC (£500) every five years + Medical, and a Digital Techno card, before they can finance a Tractor &Tailer.

      To me, with the pressure on those working within the Gig Economy, this looks like another attempt, by Politicians, to force people into Employment! Just because it part of their structure! Surely our economy would be far more flexible, serving far more people with an independent income, if we had a lot more Owner Drivers?

      An Operators License is there to ensure you have a yard, and facilities, to maintain a Truck?

      Why would you want a yard, that can house a Tractor &Trailer, when you need to be on the road, all most 24/7.

      If the old services stations were still there, we could share it facilitiese, and pay their Fitters for work. Keeping the vehicle there when you are not out on the road!

      As it was in the old days!

      Before Ladour Nationalised them, and then the Conservatives Privatised them ( which I agreed with), but now big private company’s own them!

      Know it costs a lot of money to park up, overnight, in a service station these days, and you can hardly incorporate that into a O license!

      It all needs to be rationalised, and the opportunity is coming!

      RDM.

      • RDM
        Posted August 21, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, I missed the cost of a O License (£600) every five years, and an Owner driver has to have a Transport Managers CPC (£500), and a Drivers CPC (£500), ever five years.

        It’s no good saying it’s for safety reasons, because a driver, owning a single truck, does not need a special yard to keep the Truck maintained properly. Having access to a garage with qualified fitters, working full time on Trucks, does!

        Now, if that isn’t a deliberate barrier to entry, I don’ t know what would be!

        This is one example!

        And, you wonder why people are so sick of Politicians.

        At least listen!

  26. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Under 4 we could and should do something now to repair the serious neglect of our coastal defences. Our beaches and many ports are without any protection. We need to order and commission into service fast armed boats around the size of the old MGB’s of WW2.

  27. lojolondon
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    All sounds good, John – just one point – I have to reflect that so much for the EU ‘strength/ standing together’ etc. When the Falklands Islands were invaded by a foreign power, we all know that Britain stood alone against the invaders, no support (not even moral support) from the EU was forthcoming.

  28. hefner
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    £5106/year addition to the average UK household’s budget, 8% fall in prices, UK economy boosted by £135bn/year. What is not to be liked?
    Well, the timescale: between five and ten years (in that respect, much more cautious than a previous Chancellor) by which time it is likely that Prof.Minford will have happily retired and might not be around to answer questions.

  29. Fed Up
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    “Working with allies and partners to promote peace and prosperity worldwide, seeking conflict resolution and better economic development in troubled developing countries. Acting where we can make a difference for the better.”

    Honestly, where-ever we try to interfere, we just tend to make matters worse. I’d prefer the government to focus on our own issues and not try and get involved in conflicts/situations abroad unless a direct threat to the British people can be demonstrated.

    That said, I welcome some government foreign aid to poor countries that have been hit by natural disasters (Earthquakes, hurricanes etc); but that should be on a case by case basis. The government should have a crisis fund for ‘immediate’ response, the rest could be turned over to the charity sector to raise funds (that’s what charities are for) for helping people recover from the disaster.

    We don’t need to be spending 50% of our budget deficit on all manner of corrupt entities and inefficient schemes. My guess is that if government wasn’t wasting money left right and centre and taxing people to the rooftops, then people might be even more generous to the charity sector than they already are.

    Oh and any NGO purporting to be a charity, but found to be spouting political propaganda should have its charity status immediately rescinded.

  30. Gordon Hetherington
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    I find it difficult to understand our foreign policy in recent years.

    We participated in military action to rip the Serb birthplace, Kosovo, out of Serbia but we condemn Russia for accepting the Crimean vote to return to Mother Russia – the Ukrainian Kruschev having “given” the historically Russian territory to Ukraine in the fifties.

    The Russians were our staunch allies in the fight against Napoleonn and Hitler – they make much better frinds than enemies.

    • formula57
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      “The Russians were our staunch allies in the fight against Napoleon and Hitler…” -exactly so!

      Our f0reign policy should now see us negotiating a Johnson-Lavarov Non-Aggression Pact. It is not needed of course to reassure our Russian friends but to curb the wild enthusiasms of the Evil Empire and some of its member states. Hopefully the people’s Blue Boris is working towards this.

  31. nigel seymour
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    What say you JR

    Footballer Eniola Aluko has spoken publicly for the first time about the “bullying and discrimination” she says she was subjected to by England head coach Mark Sampson.
    In her first broadcast interview since details of the controversy emerged earlier this month, the Chelsea Ladies striker – who has 102 caps and scored 33 goals for her country – told the BBC:
    (quote removed ed)

    Reply I say this needs to be sorted out properly, with appropriate action taken once independent judgement has been made. I cannot on this site adjudicate individual complaints and disputes.

  32. Posted August 21, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    I can’t argue with any of the five points, only the order.

    Clearly the first duty of government is to defend the country and her people.

    Number 2 should therefore come first.

  33. ian
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Doing great job, just don’t sign anything.

  34. John
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I look forward to that point where we re gain the power of sovereign trade in a democratic country.

    That might mean that we lower trade barriers with say, Argentina. It might mean a future Argentine leader who would reach for the ‘Malvinas’ card thinks twice because of trade. Trade, that we can now change again, the power to say we will impose tariffs unless!?!

    The option to say to the Africa that we will accept refined products from them, unlike the EU because that that kept Africa poor. Lets give Africa the option to manufacture batteries from its Cobalt mines, Catalytic converters from its Platinum mines, drinks from its fruit orchards, cut diamonds from its diamond mines.

    We can then stop sending them aid and stop worrying about so many wanting to come here because there will be the opportunities back there.

  35. Russ Brown
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Who is going to control pipeline routes through Syria if we change our mind about regime change? Answer … Russia.

  36. RDM
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Very few takers for the “Off Topic’s”, John.

    Still very focused on the Negotiations, and resulting Deal!

    One thing I think is becoming settled, I believe, is I can’t see the British people accepting the ECJ or EFFA courts!

    Which, of course, is something I support.

    Still minded to go for WTO, in large part!

    And, totally against, still, any transition period.

    Two years after 2019, will be a dangerous time!

    Regards,

    RDM.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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