Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Cameron Establishes Clear Atlantic Water over Foreign Policy

As far as voters are concerned, the Foreign Office is not normally central to their concerns. Sure, there was Suez and the Falklands, of course, which shouldered aside the usual central concerns of the economy and social services, but it's rare. So David Cameron's speech yesterday on this topic serves to indicate that we're in another of those rare situations when foreign policy might swing elections, whether devolved assembly ones or even the big one in 2009.

After all, Iraq has been the stake which has driven through the heart of Blair's credibility as someone who can be trusted to speak the truth and make wise decisions. A BBC poll last night showed 55 per cent of the public think we are too closely aligned with US foreign policy. Cameron had a subtle job to do in keeping onside the blindly pro USA wing of his party, symbolised by the Lady herself at a White House do yesterday, while exposing a fair bit of clear Atlantic water between himself and a president whose ratings are even more in free-fall than poor old Tony's. His speech was essentially an attack on US-UK foreign policy which he criticised as 'simplistic' and lacking in 'patience and humility'. He urged a return to more traditional practices of recognizing the complexity of foreign affairs- not the Manichean black and white of Bush and Blair. He advised less forcing of democracy on countries, more multilaterlism and a maintenance of moral authority.

Our fellow blogger Guido notes that Cameron's five principles for foreign policy were lifted almost verbatim from Francis Fukayama's After the Neocons, but that's no crime if it eventually helps this country sever Blair's disastrous love affair with George Bush. What I would like to hear now, is what Gordon thinks about foreign policy. He's toed the line officially but he's going to find it much harder than Cameron to establish that distance which will before too long might have vital electoral significance.

“Iraq has been the stake which has driven through the heart of Blair's credibility as someone who can be trusted to speak the truth and make wise decisions.” I agree, but that speech from Young Master David esq was a load of disingenuous nonsense. I am not about to debate the rights and wrongs of Iraq, but the facts are that Cameron and his front bench team, to a man, supported going into Iraq and still support being in Iraq. William Hague admitted again to this in an interview on Monday. The tory party are benefiting from a policy which will be a major factor in destroying the Labour government but which they agree with anyway and would have done exactly the same had they been in power.
I'm sure you're right Dreadnought, but that, as they say of course, is politics.
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