Monday, October 04, 2010

Ancram's dream of Unicorns

Michael Ancram is releasing a paper today on a new vision for Britain in the World. Previewed (and with a Forward) by Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph it makes genmerally positive noises about Britain, our place in the world and where we might consider going. Britain's Foriegn policy must,
be based strictly and exclusively on our national interest with a fully coordinated foreign, security and international aid policy, properly resourced.
But spot the problem
First, Britain should be the dynamic bridge between the EU and the USA, and between both the EU and the US with the Commonwealth. Second, Britain should actively propagate a reinvigorated and refocused NATO. Third, Britain must act as a credible facilitator in the world of conflict resolution. We should use our historical experience, often learned the hard way, to facilitate and influence conflict resolution in the Middle East, Afghanistan and elsewhere. We should retain the capability to back up such efforts where required with hard power, but it should in future largely be delivered in the form of Special Forces operations rather than heavy deployment of men and machinery on the ground. And fourth, Britain should be an active member of an increasingly dynamic Commonwealth.
Did you spot the Unicorn?

What I mean by a Unicorn is an unrealistic wish. I would love to have a silver winged unicorn stabled in my garden. On it I would soar to the Barbary Coast and drink from the perfumed fountains of the Menara. Or maybe I could travel to the Golconda and dangle pearls in front of oil-bellied nautch girls. Or maybe I should just deal with the world as it is, rather than something so impossible to be in the realm of fantasy.

Ancram's approach to the EU is of the Unicorn variety.

He asks a pertinent question,
whether the present direction of the EU is any longer relevant to current
international developments
And answers his own question,
The ever closer union of the Lisbon Treaty, an increasingly monolithic and bureaucratic institution, is the antithesis of the elasticity and flexibility which the EU will increasingly need to display.
Yay... Tory Grandee finally gets it. The EU is not designed to deal with the modeen world, and it is not in Britain's interest to be involved with it, in the way that it is presently constructed. Obvious response. Then can we leave it please?
But wait, what new thinking does the Marquess of Lothian offer us,
What the United Kingdom should strive for is a Europe of nations rather than a nation of Europe. Those who wish to unite or coalesce should be allowed to do so, while those who wish a more flexible relationship should be permitted to achieve that too.
Oh bejesus, that has been the position of the Tory party since Maastricht in 1992, it has got nowhere, and is going nowhere. It has been rejected so many times by our friends and allies in Brussels and the Chanceleries of Europe that it is a stuck record. If, by some weird chance this was posible it would have been done by now.
The time for incremental tinkering with Europe has passed, as has the time for blindly marching towards ever closer union. It is time to construct a new more flexible outward looking Europe for the 21st century, and it is in the interests of all members of the EU to work towards it.
In Britain we can really lead the way, not as ‘eurosceptics’ but as the architects of a more dynamic Europe which in the years ahead will prove ‘fit for purpose’ in a way that the current EU is singularly failing to do.
Reading this it is astonishing to think that he was previously the shadow Foriegn Secretary. He knows that what he wishes for is impossible, that the collegues would never acceed to his hopes. Yet he continues to publish them as if they were in some way novel, or indeed possible.

Sadly, though I agree wholeheartedly with the drive of his paper, nothing that he calls for can take place whilst we remain in the EU. He knows that and should have the intellectual honesty to admit it.

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