Airstrip One: British foreign policy as if the national interest mattered
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Airstrip One: British foreign policy as if the national interest mattered

A Brown Government?

What would a Brown government look like foreign policy wise? It's a good time to ask this as Blair seems to be (A) amazingly reckless on non-core items of the New Labour agenda such as tuition fees and (B) publicly sickly.

On the second item I am sceptical about how much Blair's actual health has deteriorated. After all he has been incredibly profficient at hiding Leo Blair's avoidance of the single vaccine MMR jab, his use of IVF to conceive Leo Blair and the rather extensive, and free, use of private health resources. If he can keep this stuff secret why are we suddenly hearing so much about stuff that sounds scary but is in fact relatively minor - at least compared to conceiving a child to win seats at the next general election.

After this we leave the realm of facts for that of speculation. Is this a deliberate ploy or just a post-Campbell policy decision to be more honest? Perhaps they think that a Prime Minister's health is more to the point than his children's. Well my theory is that this is deliberate, and it is a ploy. Blair probably intends to keep his promise to resign and let Brown have a fist at being Prime Minister - around about now. However the Great British public may not like the idea of electing Blair and getting Brown. However if Blair had to resign...

So what would Brown be like in foreign policy? In the least important area, our relationship with the third world, he would be worse. He thinks that we should be indulging in transferring our wealth to third world elites in the shape of aid programmes (or he is transferring our wealth). He may also be even keener on implementing pointless environmental treaties (although that's not certain).

In the second most important area, our Special Servitude to America, there will be little difference. Despite the (often skin deep) Atlanto-scepticism of his backers, Brown is as emotionally committed to America as Michael Howard is - and as committed as Blair is to Europe. We are unlikely to give less to, or receive any more from, America. Our boys will still be dying in useless wars.

The most important area is Europe, and Brown will be marginally better. His current, exagerated, Euroscepticism will almost certainly be diluted. For a start he will be out of the traditionally Eurosceptic environs of the Treasury. Secondly, he is not truly as Eurosceptic as he appears to be in contrast to Blair. On the other hand he is no longer committed to Europe in the same way as Blair is. For a start America is no longer as keen on Europe. He also seems to have shown a genuine distaste for the wranglings of Europe, and he is not as capable of self-delusion as his neighbour - he does not think things will improve fast. It will be a marginal improvement, but a marginal improvement is still an improvement.

Sure, the Tories will be better than Brown, but Brown is better than Blair. All those concerned for Britain's independence should be fervently praying for a Brown succession.


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