Part of the problem is that there is no ideas infrastructure on the right when it comes to foreign policy; no think-tank on the right does work on it. This problem is compounded by the fact that the two frontline Tories with the most developed foreign policy world-views—Michael Gove and George Osborne—hold the two most important domestic policy portfolios and so can not be moved to bolster the foreign policy team. It also does not help that the shadow Foreign Secretary has had so much else on recently.
If the Tories don’t use this year to really ramp up their thinking on the subject they’ll be dragged along with the institutional thinking of the Foreign Office which, as the Miliband speech demonstrated, is deeply flawed. The Tories really need to develop a team of foreign policy SPADS who can put their stamp on foreign policy in the way that Brown’s advisers did on the economy during his stint at the Treasury.