Alex Massie

Tory Foreign Policy: Where’s the Beef?

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ConservativeHome interview William Hague and it's all very jocular and genial. Except for when it's being a little bit troubling and alarming. To wit:

ConservativeHome: Name three specific things you would change about British foreign policy.

William Hague: First, we would create a fully fledged National Security Council, comprising all relevant senior ministers and chaired by the Prime Minister. This would be a decisive break from the sofa style decision making of the last twelve years, which has often led to decisions being made without all the necessary information being considered or understood. Second, we would be firmly opposed to the greater centralisation of power in EU institutions, which reduces democratic accountability in Britain. Third, we would give a greater emphasis than in recent years to the role of the Commonwealth, a unique network covering a quarter of the world’s population. These are a few examples but I will be making a major speech defining our whole approach to foreign policy before Parliament rises for the summer recess. Emphasis added, of course. Well, I'm glad Mr Hague is going to make a "major" speech because if this is all that Tory foreign policy thinking amounts to - a structural change that, whatever its merits, is scarcely earth-shattering, standard Tory euro-boiler-plate and bigging-up the dear old Commonwealth - then heaven help us all.

As it happens, I think Hague will be a perfectly fine Foreign & Commonwealth Secretary and I trust that there is indeed rather more to the Tory analysis of British foreign and defence policy than this. But, assuming there is, that makes it a little strange that he should concentrate on such trivial matters when given the chance to offer something interesting...

Where, as they say, is the beef?

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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