Opinion and Editorial from the Policy Exchange team.
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The United Kingdom needs a Grand Strategy of audacious investment, engaged partnership and renewed confidence. So argued Policy Exchange in its breakthrough paper, Modernising the United Kingdom, in late 2019. That paper was concerned with “unleashing the power of the Union”. Andrew Dunlop’s review of Union capability, prepared in the summer and autumn of 2019 but published only this month, is concerned with much the same thing.
“This Commission finds that the big challenge of our age is not overt racial prejudice, it is building on and advancing the progress won by the struggles of the past 50 years. This requires us to take a broader, dispassionate look at what has been holding some people back. We therefore cannot accept the accusatory tone of much of the current rhetoric on race, and the pessimism about what has been and what more can be achieved.”
Negative emissions are piquing the interest of the Government, as shown in its recent announcement of innovation funding for new negative emission technologies (NETs). However, policies based on grants and innovation funding are short-term options – they act as the spark to get the kindling going, but the fire requires continuous government support until the flame catches.
Sceptics who scoff at the prospects of pop-up parties which seek to break the mould of established politics should consider two key points before doing the same with “Alba”, the new party which launched in Scotland today: the Scottish Parliament’s electoral system, and the personality of its founder, Alex Salmond. For all that the launch of Mr Salmond’s new party was cack-handed , his new venture needs to be taken seriously.
What is Global Britain? This is a question that has been asked, mostly witheringly, in Washington since Theresa May first picked up this coinage in the aftermath of the 2016 referendum. Now with the launch of “Global Britain In A Competitive Age”, the government’s 114 page integrated review of Britain in the world, DC has got its first major look at both how the British government sees a changing world and its plan to compete in it. And it likes what it sees.
Does the Chinese Communist Party understand how our parliamentary democracy works? The evidence of the last 24 hours suggests not. With some of my Conservative colleagues in the House of Commons – Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Tim Loughton, Tom Tugendhat and Neil O’Brien – as well as two peers, a QC and an academic, I have been banned from entering China, had property frozen (not that I have any there) and have had Chinese citizens and institutions prohibited from doing business with me. All because I have voiced well-evidenced concerns about the persecution of the Uyghur Muslim minority by the Chinese government.
Last week my review for the Prime Minister of UK Government Union Capability was finally published alongside an impressive package of still to be signed off reforms to the way relations with the devolved administrations are managed.
Government action on my recommendations is more important than if or when the report was published. And I welcome wholeheartedly the way the Government is already implementing new policies in line with those recommendations.
Claims have emerged that images of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons were recently shown during a class at Batley Grammar School, Yorkshire. It is reported that a member of staff has been suspended in relation to the incident.
A message shared over social media has encouraged protests at the school in response to the allegations.
A newly released video clip available on the YouTube channel of the India-born popular Islamist preacher Zakir Naik, sees Naik indicate that ‘righteous’ non-Muslims, such as Mother Teresa, would go to hell. Zakir Naik was banned from entry to the UK in June 2010. Theresa May, then Home Secretary, said that visiting the UK was “a privilege, not a right”, adding that “Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behaviour”.
The Government’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy is the most important British strategy document since end of Cold War. Its significance comes not only from its unprecedented scope across policy areas; perhaps even more important is the strategic conception, the intellectual armature around which it is designed. At its heart is the idea of strategic competition understood in its genuine geostrategic-military sense rather than as a simplistic sporting-race analogy.