Posts Tagged ‘Omar al-Bashir’

A popular alternative to the Tories’ seedy foreign policy, by Nick Keehan

21/10/2010, 04:28:28 PM

The spending review leaves no doubt about the government’s priorities when it comes to foreign policy: those diplomats and civil servants remaining at the foreign office after it has undergone budget cuts of 24 per cent will focus on championing British companies abroad and increasing business links and market information for UK exporters. The foreign office will become, in effect, a consultancy and PR firm for business, underwritten by the UK taxpayer.

In this, the spending review simply reaffirms what the foreign secretary has been saying since entering the job in May. In his speech to a Tokyo audience in July, “Britain’s prosperity in a networked world”’, William Hague made it clear that promoting trade and commercial interests would be at the heart of Britain’s foreign policy. The government would “inject a new commercialism into the work of the foreign office and into the definition of our international objectives”; it would give “significant new emphasis to helping British business secure new opportunities”; and it would use its political influence “to help unblock obstacles to commercial success”.

Not any old obstacles, obviously. There would be some red lines which the government would “never, ever cross” in pursuit of British interests, as David Cameron told the Conservative party conference. Under the Tories, a devolved Scottish government would never again exercise its constitutional right to release a convicted foreign terrorist on compassionate grounds, for example. Cameron said this in a very stern voice, lest it seem like a cynical platitude which he doesn’t have the power to deliver.

If the obstacles to your commercial success include only an indictment for genocide, however, you are in luck. (more…)

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