Question for Nick – When are you going to break the news?

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.

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Britain In The World – Hague’s Tokyo speech.

William Hague’s second speech detailing British foreign policy goals was given in Tokyo, and it was no accident, it focused on economic goals and in particular Britain’s aim to secure the national interest by maximising British economic potential. There are many interesting parallels between Britain and Japan, and certainly Japan’s place as the worlds second largest economy and its most technologically advanced are worthy of Britain’s attention, but it is its geographic situation that is paramount.

Japan is a proxy for British history in this situation.

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