I was asked to contribute to the BBC’s website on this topic yesterday. They commissioned me to write this piece with a tight deadline, which I did. They then failed to post it and said they had changed their mind. I will therefore share it with you, and leave you to wonder why the BBC behave like this. They now say they might post it some other day, after I complained.
The UK is the crossroads of the free world. Bridging the time zones of east and west, London makes the markets and leads many of the debates about how the world should change.
The UK belongs to many clubs and networks. As a member of the Security Council we will undertake peacekeeping and armed intervention where the world community thinks it is needed. As a leading member of NATO we will be at the side of the US where we are happy with the common cause. Through the Commonwealth we create one the world’s great meeting places for an attractive diversity of countries and cultures, to strengthen the impulse to democracy, free trade and the rule of law.
The UK needs a new relationship with the European Union, as we cannot become part of a united Euroland. As the single currency seeks to create a country to love it, the UK has to reassert its independence. We need a relationship based on freer trade and political co-operation with the European continent, not one based on common government.
The UK is at her best when we take to the five oceans and the adbundant airspace over the globe. We are a nation of free traders, advocates of freedom and democracy, supporters of the oppressed and fighters for justice. We know the world does not owe us a living. We also know how to earn our living by working with the sources of power and wealth as they shift decisively towards the emerging markets. The UK is at its best creative, innovative and energetic. It will need to be all three as the world becomes more competitive in the years ahead.
I would add to my word limited comments:
The UK’s stature was enhanced by Parliament’s debate on Syria. Not only did the UK Parliament persuade the Coalition government to favour diplomacy over a military strike, but our example helped influence the President of the USA to call the Congress for advice. I think many around the world will be glad that instead of a rash limited cruise missile strike against some Syrian targets, the main protagonists are now seeking a diplomatic solution to the problem of Syria’s chemical weapons. It was a good example of how the “mother of Parliaments” can still show the world the important role of a deliberative assembly in influencing and changing government and speaking for the people.