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Election campaign reflects Britain's global retreat

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Well, if you scrap your only aircraft carrier, this is what you get. Maybe this is appropriate for Britain's size.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

You have to have your own house in order before worrying about others'.

The shift to domestic issues is what England may need to do.

Foreign affairs of late have been nothing but disastrous and costly for the West.

The EU has an immigration problem that they can't seem to control and I don't think Britain wants to be in the same boat.

The US has lost thousands of lives and spent billions on foreign intervention to not much avail.

Britain might be wising up. This "missing in action problem" may not actually be a problem.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

'Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, channelling fears inside Britain’s foreign policy establishment, said on Tuesday the ballot was a chance to show London wouldn’t turn in itself.'

The disgrace in Iraq destroyed the reputation and legacy of Blair and this has thankfully stayed in the memory. The UK still has some fleeting nostalgia for the days when it was a superpower but as one poster has already pointed out, it needs to get its own house in order and the electorate are focused on this. This corporate poodle would do well to remember that the Labour Party he once led was a party which had the quality of the lives of ordinary people at the forefront of its thinking.

“While much of the world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket, there has been little talk about Britain’s international role and responsibilities,”

The NHS and people's living standards to name two seem to be going to hell in a hand basket, idiot. Focus on these problems. The electorate has moved on from the days when you and your party were delighting in beating up a country even weaker and more badly governed than we were over rocks in the South Atlantic which most UK people didn't know existed.

Tony Blair and Chris Patten. Two politicians not to be listened to. How's that job as Middle East peace envoy going, Tony?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Bomber Blair was always keen to stick the boot in to foreign countries. I say leave them to fight amongst themselves. Blowing people up isn't the way to gain influence in the world.

In the unlikely event that Cameron holds a referendum I don't expect the UK will vote to leave the EU. UKIP support is falling and most of the problems blamed on the EU are actually the fault of our own, useless politicians.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

UKIP all the way!

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

UKIP all the way!

Bunch of racist loonies who blame foreigners for all the country's woes, with a charismatic leader... hmm, where have we seen that before?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

@Thunderbird

Thatcher?.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

No... Monsieur Farage

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I'm from the UK and I think backing out of the global stage is a bad idea. However, I think we should switch from trying to follow America in being the World Police and "getting into everyone's business" we should improving trade and relations with other Countries. But before we do that we definitely need to sort out issues back home; NHS, education, obesity, alcoholism or drug taking in general, housing, wages, employment (most notably getting rid of these ridiculous zero hour contracts) and decreasing our need for foreign oil and gas by using renewable energies.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yay!

Elizabeth for PM!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

'I think we need to be concentrating more on what is happening at home - the dismantling of the NHS, privatising of schools, the housing crisis, the abandonment of the elderly, sick and vulnerable - before we start playing Bertie Big Bollocks on the global stage.'

Superb. That's the best thing I've read for ages.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Don't worry Britain, we understand that you used to be rich and powerful and you would like to have one more shot at glory outside of the EU. We Europeans will still welcome you back in if things don't turn as well as you imagined. We understand that just like many gamblers and alcoholics, sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can let go of the past and accept reality.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@M3M3M3

We Europeans will still welcome you back in if things don't turn as well as you imagined.

What's with the "We Europeans" bit? Last time I checked, the UK was located solidly within Europe.

My passport says "European Union" at the top, and theTories aren't going to make me give that up. If they decide to leave the EU then I'll be on the first train to Brussels to claim asylum....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What's with the "We Europeans" bit? Last time I checked, the UK was located solidly within Europe.

Yes, you're right of course, sorry! I lived in the UK for many years and I still remember how surprising it was to hear people say that they had 'gone to Europe' for their summer holidays. I guess I've picked up the habit.

If they decide to leave the EU then I'll be on the first train to Brussels to claim asylum....

Let's hope it doesn't come to that... but after years of trying to convince British people that a Brexit would be bad for Britain, I think alot of EU supporters almost want to see it happen, just to prove Nigel Farage wrong. (I think the Green Party is even supporting a referendum now?)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So we have this:

Many diplomats say this reflects Britain’s shuffle from the global stage and a self-inflicted downgrading of its military and diplomatic muscle.

But...

we are building 2 supercarriers, the RN is deployed around the world, RFA Argus has just returned from helping Sierra Leone fight Ebola, we are upgrading our facilities in the Gulf, the RAF is always flying out to deliver aid to those in need - in fact France needed our help in Mali last year. The British Army is deployed around the globe. And at least our armed forces are operational - apparently the German Armed Forces are in a truly sorry state.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Whether for good or ill, the UK demonstrated outward-looking foresight and independence in joining the AIIB last month; and it wasn't until they did that any other Western nation joined up. Even if it does have local problems, that alone proves that the UK is still a world leader.

And while, as an American, want my NATO allies to actually be useful and fulfill their obligations to the alliance, I understand budget consolidation, especially during an election year, is tricky business, and that 2% of GDP might not be met every year. I know that, before the decade is out the two Queen Elizabeth class carriers will be deployed and will be the largest outside the US. And I know, as far as the MOD says anyway, that the one Type 45 they have deployed in the South Atlantic can defeat the combined air forces of all of Latin America. Whether that's true or not, weapons today are so much more asymmetric than they were even twenty years ago, and that smarter can defeat bigger.

Of course, I think Britain's position would be even stronger had it not abandoned the Commonwealth for the European Community (EU), then it would have been in a better position to take advantage of the growth of the of its former colonies and use its diplomatic weight to keep stability in places where indigenous responsible government was something new. But that's the past.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

had it not abandoned the Commonwealth for the European Community (EU), then it would have been in a better position to take advantage of the growth of the of its former colonies

Please explain why that would be the case... Would Britain reclaim its position as a hub for tea, sugar, cotton and beaver pelts? Would it re-open Welsh mines and start exporting coal to power steam engines in the colonies? Colonial trade had already declined long before Britain joined the EU. People forget that the UK was the second poorest member of the EU when it joined.

.

However, there is an interesting new proposal to have a free movement zone between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. I think it's a good idea, and being part of the EU would not prevent the UK from being part of this. However, I doubt the UK will join since it would probably lead to a brain drain of talented young people from the UK due to house prices, living standards, climate, taxes etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

'Don't worry Britain, we understand that you used to be rich and powerful and you would like to have one more shot at glory outside of the EU. We Europeans will still welcome you back in if things don't turn as well as you imagined. We understand that just like many gamblers and alcoholics, sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can let go of the past and accept reality.'

A glowing example the condescension, ill-will and thinly veiled dislike among European countries which has made the likes of Farage popular. You are a Kipper fifth columnist and I claim my fiver!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Britain did well to stay out of the eurozone. Britons look at instances like that, when it went against the current and benefited as a result....and also in contrast at Blair's decision to fully back the Iraq invasion, and are saying, "It pays to be Swiss."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I was alive back when the UK voted last on EU membership. Back then it was known as the European Economic Community or "EEC" for short and the idea was that we were joining a trade confederation, not some sort of European super state. I think this is what has changed since then and I can see why some people aren't happy with this; it isn't just the UK that has expressed dissatisfaction either. It's why I believe that Cameron's "renegotiation" sounds so good on paper.

The only real problem that I can see is that there are few politicians that I could trust any further than I could comfortably spit a rat, and Cameron isn't one of that few. It appears to me that the Tories merely wish to protect their rich corporate sponsors, while the Labour party are too caught up in their own rhetoric to make a good fist of governing either. The Liberals have shown themselves to be the Tory's pussies over the course of the last coalition government, providing little discernible influence and UKIP just cannot shift the overall impression of rascism at some levels of its existence. Mother of Parliaments indeed. They should refer to most of the sitting members as MFs rather than MPs.

The reason why foreign policy is such a low priority in this election is that the main parties got a kicking from the last time anyone went to the polls; UKIP made a big gain, hence EU membership and immigration have become top priorities for each party. That much was obvious immediately after the results were given and the damage control by all three main parties has been going on ever since. Something has to give in such situations and this time it is foreign policy which has gone as each candidate attempts to gain a seat in the next parliament.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As politicians continuing buying votes with social programs and welfare spending, there is less and less money to be used on other things. And as more and more people depend on social programs and welfare, they are less inclined to take care of themselves, so they end up taking more out of the system than they put into it. Pretty soon we reach the point that more money goes out than comes in, so spending on things like defence and foreign aid are reduced, and deficit spending begins.

Someone (Jefferson?) once said that "Democracy is mob rule, where 51% of the people rob the other 49%".

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

'Someone (Jefferson?) once said that "Democracy is mob rule, where 51% of the people rob the other 49%".

The people of the UK are being robbed most brazenly by the very rich avoiding tax. Even the Tories are being forced into trying to look tough on this ( I'm sure a few winks to the right people while saying this were made ). Unless you haven't been paying attention to what has been going on on the UK since 2008, benefits have been slashed while the top rate of tax has been slashed.

Oh, and I'd also look into which people are claiming benefits - the majority are working people on atrocious wages. The majority are not the mollycoddled layabouts the right like to see.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most Brits. including this writer want O U T !

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

'Most Brits. including this writer want O U T !'

Out of where?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most Brits. including this writer want O U T !

Out of where?

I assume that Paul is suggesting that "most Brits" want to be out of the EU. I can see why he might be in favour of being out - the somewhat questionable shift of sovereign power is hardly likely to have many fans.

The problem is that Paul makes this suggestion that "most Brits" want something without actually stating where he gets his figures from. I used to use Usenet and am familiar with this sort of post where facts and figures are scraped off the ground. Indeed it's where I was first introduced to the term "strawman".

Having said that, I suspect that this election will have a lot of impact on the future of the UK within the EU. It's just a matter of what that impact will be so while I'd be inclined to criticise Paul's critique on the British electorate's views on EU membership, there's always the possibility that he could be right. I just wish he would be clearer on his sources.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If the UK leaves the EU then I'm going for Japanese citizenship. They're going to mess the whole country up. Scotland will leave, Ulster will kick off again and Wales and Cornwall will get nasty.

Lord save us from Cameron!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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