I would like to expand on Dr Alf’s points in relation to this Guardian article.
To have a credible Foreign policy, people need to know that you have the money and military power to back up your words. The policy has to be clear and underpinned by a strategy which supports your interests, in such a way that there is no ambiguity about your “red lines” and ideally people have to fear you or if you are not so powerful, understand that you mean them no harm.
In trying to be all things to all people, the UK is neither one thing nor the other, nor as my late father used to say, in his northern Italian direct speak,”Placing a foot in two shoes”.
Rhetoric and bluster from the Foreign Secretary, who looks for all the world like an avuncular chairman of a Mid Cap in Cambridge is not going to “cut it”.
Saying that if the EU doesn’t bend to the will of the British people to give David Cameron what he wants is not going to concentrate minds but the non-receipt of EU budget contributions will. This should be obvious to anyone and why 27 foreign governments within the EU should worry about what the British people think when the UK government doesn’t and never has, is beyond belief.
Austerity was necessary but has gone on for too long.
We have aircraft carriers without aircraft, just 17 escort vessels for our shipping, no coastal protection vessel, exports which are less than half what they should be, bloated overseas aid budgets (0.7% of GDP) and we are officially £2 trillion GBP in debt, with a balance of payments deficit running at £36 billion GBP a year or £3 billion GBP a calendar month.
Our population is overweight, unhealthy and in denial; we have politicians incapable of running even a whelk stall and with no more credibility than a dead whelk and people still think that the world owes them a living and will fall under the spell of our warm words and “soft power”.
One is reminded of the sayings of Lao Tzu the great Chinese philosopher talking about dreams and butterflies–He wondered whether the reality was what he could see whilst being awake or whether it was what he could see in his dreamlike state.
For many people in the UK and especially our politicians, the fact that we are in a state of economic warfare and have placed ourselves at risk by relying too much on American military power and our ability to persuade with nothing to back it up other than more rhetoric is beyond them.
What we have become is offshore “Ruritania” living in the past with great memories of past glories but without the means to shape the direction and impetus of our future even if we had the faintest idea what that looked like.