Britain is failing to lead on the international stage.
In his speech to Conservative Party conference, Cameron tried to claim that under him Britain was leading the fight against poverty. But not only are he and his government failing to play a leading role in the G20, they are actively blocking attempts to secure a fairer deal for those in poverty.
With a clear agenda, concrete proposals and red lines on a global growth deal, opening up trade, tackling tax evasion and boosting infrastructure, Britain should be leading efforts to secure a deal at the G20 that could transform African and low income countries into genuine and much-needed dynamos for the largest prize: the return to global growth.
Securing such a deal will not be easy; it will require all of the ‘hard-working, can-do, bulldog spirit’ Cameron spoke of. It is the sort of leadership the last Labour government showed in summit after summit all year round.
But we have heard from British NGOs that British Sherpas are actively opposing efforts to get an agreement on an FTT. And Cameron and Osborne’s warm words on tax evasion and tax havens have not been followed through with concrete action.
At the last G20 in Seoul last year, the IMF presented a report that showed how co-operation between countries to secure a global growth pact could, at a minimum, create 50 million jobs and lift 90 million people out of poverty.
Gaining the adoption and implementation of such a programme really does come down to the phone calls, the one-to-one meetings, the cajoling undertaken by political leaders. That would make the difference between a deal at the G20 that delivers jobs and justice for the people across the globe and continued disparity that leaves millions in unemployment.
If David Cameron truly wants to claim he is leading on fighting poverty, he needs to match the leadership, the vision and the ambition that Britain showed when we secured debt and aid deals at the G8 in 2000 and 2005 and averted a global depression at the G20 summit in 2009 – and play a leading role in France today.