14 Apr 2015

Foreign policy: the ignored debate of election 2015

Is British aid effective? Is the balance of forces in the British military right for the 21st century? Is there really nothing we can do about the unfolding tragedy in Syria? Could we at least admit a few more Syrian refugees?

These are the non-issues of the British election, the critical questions that won’t be debated.


I suppose Labour don’t want to say much about international affairs because under Tony Blair they did too much, and the Tories shy away from it because they have done so little.

In their manifesto the Tories vow to create “a stronger voice for our nation on the world stage”.

In fact Britain’s voice has diminished in the time David Cameron has been prime minister. France and Germany have assumed the lead on Ukraine, while the US fears that the Conservatives will take Britain out of the EU and isolate itself even further.

Follow the latest developments with our election 2015 live blog

The Labour party has pledged “to return Britain to a leadership role in Europe”. Yet their manifesto gives no detail on what they would do with such a leadership role.


Both parties are committed to maintaining Britain’s nuclear deterrent, Trident, and thus our permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Why? To what end?

You’ll be hard pressed to find out from the debate so far.

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4 reader comments

  1. Philip says:

    You are surprised? Judging by the vox pop views, we are obsessed by immigration, the evils of the EU (debunked in the Government’s specially commissioned analysis & therefore kept under wraps) and the waste of money on foreign aid (which goes to corrupt officials & the odd dictator or two, apparently). Our phenomenal insularity means that anything else isn’t of interest. Fog in British minds: rest of world cut off.

  2. anon says:

    Whenever our ‘supposed’ leaders are asked as they do about their Faith at Election time they all say something to the affirmative but as a Christian, inside there is something deep and fundamental to the whole personality which does not allow someone to ‘look away’ as they are doing with events in the Middle East, the Congo, everywhere basically.

    Evil takes place when supposedly ‘good’ (misnomer) people look the other way. Many people without –they say- a Faith, beg politicians to act to stop genocide as they have done throughout history. Your outstanding journalists, here and abroad, people like yourself Ms Hilsum, I hope this is ok to say this on your blog, Mr Rugman and others stood on the mountain and begged for help to be sent to the Yazidis. and you have all campaigned for justice on Channel 4 News on so many issues, for years.

    Thank you so much for giving a voice to the voiceless and those suffering so terribly both aboard, and here at home.

    so why the silence from our ‘leaders? Those who aspire to lead us are in my view morally dead, they are palpably unfit to lead and show none of the prerequisites of leadership. None

    and whatever they believe, perhaps it is that power over others by gaining office (over their betters who patiently work their way up the career path based on ability and competence) will make up for their clear deficiencies, if they do manage to seat themselves at the top table where they so clearly do not belong, and people continue to suffer overseas and at home as a result of their inability to make the right decisions, ultimately whatever they [do not] seem to believe, this is what I know will be the case for all those who look the other way while others suffer so dreadfully such as the 13 year old girls being tormented by their IS monsters as our countries do nothing

    “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God”.
    Hebrew 10.31

    1. Graham Charles Cunningham says:

      Sublime comment (21-April-15) Evil certainly prevails when good looks away. Our politicians are shaming us.

  3. anon says:

    now that the self promoting, and in my view very weak, vain and not particularly bright individuals who claimed to have the necessary leadership qualities our country needs of resilience and toughness have so clearly demonstrated this vital quality -by quitting- in the face of defeat, rather than staying to -encourage- those who fought beside them and to fight back (it really is all about them, this is not real leadership) its easy to enjoy the good times, real leaders are defined by how they act in the tough times, when they face setbacks,

    and the self pity / or partying of the political class has stopped, those who have got what they wanted (acquired power over more capable people who have earned their positions on merit) in my view to compensate for their own inadequacies) need to take immediate action to stop evil such as the torment of 13 year old children held by IS monsters and the genocide of various groups, the Yazidis, the Christian Church and others in the Middle East. Further failure to act is completely unacceptable

    We should have done something a year or more ago, but now our Prime Minister and others can demonstrate their ‘greatness’ by acting now. NOW. repeat NOW

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