Previously I have held to the view that the Iraq war at the same time as Afghanistan has threatened to wreck the traditional British consensus on liberal intervention. I saw parliamentary control of war as being the best mechanism we have to ensure an active foreign policy in future, it represents the best opportunity we have to keep the public engaged in what Lindley-French describes as our missionary Foreign Policy. From the point of view of an effectively communicated geopolitics I was happy see the PM retain this power, but feared it would only be a faster route to Belgium.
However, Alistair Burt has given me pause to reconsider, and to refine my thoughts on Parliament’s role.
Hmmm, been a while and you have my apologies for that. Not that this is any great exposition of my grand skills as an oracle, sadly, it is just some post holiday news I feel you should read.
Good news. The UK is, as of this week, less likely to leave the EU than was the case last week. Whether you consider that to be a good thing or not is another matter, but it should at least be considered an unalloyed good that British diplomacy (and Swedish too presumably), worked effectively to head-off further EU encroachment into the sovereignty of the nation-state. As usual, openeurope has a handle on the problem.
Too quote from the paper:
In a dynamic world where the problems change successful political movements evolve, and even where the problems remain similar the conditions of the day often require new solutions. The defining problem for this current parliament is finding the quickest national exit to the global financial crisis, but this blog is about the future, and europe’s evolution beyond that crisis will be what comes to define the next.
1. What is our position on British sovereignty; is it necessary or are we better served by a european collective?
2. What is our position on the sovereignty of our neighbours; a choice they must have or secondary to British interests?
Reading Aaron Ellis’s thoughts on the unexpected “no” from Cameron on Friday – as well as the mournings and musings of various others – has prompted me to pause for thought. HMG has always sought to have British commissioners holding the economic portfolio in Brussels, in order that the economic regulation that emerges has a flavour that is acceptable to the British palate. It is perhaps no coincidence that financial regulation became indigestible once labour abandoned the principle of occupying the economic portfolio at all costs – to get Baroness Ashton into the new foreign policy portfolio – thereby allowing France to install Barnier into our old redoubt. This perhaps explains why Britain is so nervous about the coming tide of financial regulation, when we have not previously been overruled on such matters via QMV, but has Cameron played a blinder or a poor hand badly?
Rather depends on how deluded you are, for there was very little choice available to Cameron.
Mr Clegg is a clever chap, and a pragmatic one too, so when it comes to value of our trade with europe I have no doubt he is well aware of the declining importance it plays, if only because Osborne and Alexander will have sat him down for a little chat. However, he is bang in the middle of a gruelling battle to transform his party into something fit to govern the UK, and that requires that he doesn’t yank too hard on the baby-reins. At some point before the next election he will have to instil a more pragmatic form of enthusiasm for the EU that is able to reflect critically on its flaws, not least the damage that the doctrine of ever-deeper-union has done to public acceptance of the wider project. The uncritical europhilia that has been our Lib-Dem diet to date stems largely from the fear that without the shoulders of europe to stand upon the UK’s future is dark for we need europe’s might to keep; the money flowing, the barbarians from the gate, and to temper our anglo-saxon tendencies. Perhaps he needs to show his party this:
In the space of just ten years the value of our trade with europe vis-a-vis the rest of the world has slipped dramatically, and it has done so because europe is now a low-growth zone.
The euro crisis rumbles on, with the Greece bail-out 2.0 entrain and still no real solution to the currency union’s problem. In a marked change from a generation of Conservative policy; that we should be at the heart of europe to ensure they don’t make a pigs ear of it, we know have George Osborne arguing for a two-speed EU, with Britain in the slow lane. Welcome aboard George!
Is this the promised land, where British democracy becomes accountable once more?
This blog is amused by the latest polls for the AV referendum, especially as aggregated by political betting. We have been regaled with tales of dogs and cats, along with wonderful explanations of why it is not a good idea to let representative government to fall to the former. Its all very entertaining but it is a fantastic example of exactly why the “yes” vote is destined to lose; because it panders to the idea of a progressive-majority and ignores the fact that their are multiple ‘dog’ candidates too.
This presumption of ‘virtue’ has prevented the “yes” campaign from communicating with, and persuading, those people for whom the principle of proportionality or ‘vote-power’ simply is not a significant priority.
The last decade has witnessed Labour testing to destruction of the notion of unalloyed social-liberalism, however the decade we are now within represents an enormous opportunity for the Lib-Dem’s to step outwith the formers shadow, but does Labours failure provide a guide that will lead to the success of the latter? Yes, but it requires recognising that progressivism is a means and not an end.
It also requires a mandate from the people before the party will have the confidence to change.