Labour’s Foreign Policy: Principles and Priorities

DouglasOn Monday 2nd February, ahead of the UK general election in May, the Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander MP delivered a speech about Britain’s future foreign policy to Chatham House.

A transcript of the speech is available here, however his concluding remarks are below:

“The response to contemporary challenges – the return of geo-political competition; the rise of economic warfare; the pressures on global governance; the introversion that accompanies the fragmentation of politics – are frankly too often framed through the prism of decline and a tendency towards pessimism.

It is true that these trends mean the UK will continue to face real challenges on the international sphere. But those who counsel inevitable decline are driven by a politics of pessimism, not simply real-politick as they might try to claim.But the role of leaders is to now persuade a war-weary society that an active and engaged British foreign policy remarks the best way to promote and protect our values and interests.

Today there is a long way to go, and at times we and our allies have been caught wrong footed. But we must continue to make the case that our institutions and alliances do provide a strength that our challengers cannot match – if we stay united. Selling this case is difficult. But it is necessary. Because political consent is a more important aspect of international affairs than ever before.

So as progressives at a time of growing introversion, we have a unique responsibility to reject those who try to promote a Little Britain – and in some cases Little England – approach that suggests we should simply turn our backs on the world. Our shared task for government is to build consent for an outward-looking Britain which I believe is the best way to advance not just our interests, but also our values.

That is why, in this time of increasing introversion, I see it as Labour’s task, as my task, and as the next Government’s task, to continue to make the case for Britain to advance a foreign policy of Progressive Internationalism in the years and decades ahead.”

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