International

VietnamHas Britain given up on foreign affairs? Many say ‘We don’t have an Empire anymore’; or that ‘We are not a rich country.’ That has been said since Indian independence in 1947, or perhaps since our economic fragility was laid bare at the end of the First World War. Some ask ‘What right have we got to tell others how to live their lives?’ That question has been gathered momentum since the 1960s. Some ask ‘What business is it of mine?’ That attitude has been going on since the Old Testament.

Meanwhile, the balance of power is shifting to the people, quickly. Parliament blocked government action on Syria. In 2017 there will probably be a referendum over our membership of the European Union. There is disquiet over our aid programmes. Some diplomats find all this worrying. They fear it is a sign that populism or domestic priorities are undermining Britain’s place in the world. They worry that people don’t know about the complexities of foreign affairs and don’t care. They are wrong.

Show more
No Image

Statement on Brexit

Britain must now make the best of Brexit. The decision is made, and we should be energetic and optimistic. ‎We need to remind people that this is still the same Britain, that the things about Britain that we fundamentally enjoy, remain the same. I personally believe that we need to invest now more than ever […]

No Image

Rory Stewart MP on Syria

My decision on the Syria vote was strongly influenced by my personal experiences and work in Bosnia, in Kosovo, in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Balkans showed me how important an international intervention can be in protecting civilians. Iraq and Afghanistan showed how much uncertainty and ignorance and risk we face in intervention. There are risks […]

FCO

Why Foreign Policy Matters

Has Britain given up on foreign affairs? Many say ‘We don’t have an Empire anymore’; or that ‘We are not a rich country.’ That has been said since Indian independence in 1947, or perhaps since our economic fragility was laid bare at the end of the First World War. Some ask ‘What right have we […]

eu

our future in the european union

For every country in the European Union, except perhaps Britain, the Union has been a means of burying history. For some, it promised the end of war on the continent; for the Spanish, the Union gave them the status of a full European democracy; and in January, the Croatian Ambassador to London said that Europe […]

Turkey

Why Turkey matters

How does parliamentary business relate to Cumbria? Take the last 24 hours.  There were some direct connections: I attended a ministerial meeting on second homes in Cumbria; a Lake District National Park planning discussion; and a community hospital conference with representatives from Brampton, Wigton, Penrith and Cockermouth. But in the same 24 hours I was […]

No Image

Marie Colvin, 1956-2012

Last Summer, the Corinthia hotel in Tripoli was filled with reporters and photographers. They had propped their laptops on tiny marble tables in the lobby. Waiters brought Turkish coffees but the reporters’ eyes flicked only from their screens to their phones, checking for messages about Gaddafi’s whereabouts, a recently discovered palace, prison, or press conference. […]

eu

eurozone crisis

This morning, I saw David Cameron on his way to negotiate the treaty on the bail-out of the Eurozone. He looked surprisingly calm, given the worries of the last fortnight:  Britain has announced its worst economic figures since the Second World War; Egypt’s economy is collapsing; Syria is approaching civil war; Iran has taken another step […]

No Image

Iranian Girls

First Published in Prospect Magazine   They are not free because their minds are not free,” said the headmistress, introducing me to my first class. “You are not here only to teach them English, you are here to open their minds.” Ten women were seated around a table in the over-heated room. All except two […]