The Spectator

Tories turn ever further away from neo-conservatism

Text settings

Dame Pauline Neville Jones recently gave evidence to Paddy Ashdown’s Iraq Commission. With today’s news, her testimony makes for fascinating reading. Here’s the key section of her remarks:

"I think liberal intervention jolly difficult, jolly difficult, and we should be careful I think about being terribly gung-ho about the duty to protect, though the duty to protect is an important concept. There are other ways of protecting and undertaking your duty to do it without getting to the reaches of liberal intervention.

I think you have to take into account the tolerance of democracies, you know, for the use of their armed forces too. And I think one of the lessons of Iraq is that people understand the armed forces being involved in natural, the national purse be used for and then dying for things which are identifiably related to the national interest, which in turns means they can see when there’s a direct security interest of the country they’ll give their support. I think that when that connection is lost in the public mind you do have a problem. I’m not saying that actually these things don’t exist and these links are there but they’re not very obvious."

Her appointment does suggest that the Tory party is shifting in foreign policy away from neo-conservatism to a very cautious version of the liberal conservatism that David Cameron laid out on the fifth anniversary of 9/11.