Rt.Hon. William Hague MP PC
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
This week we saw the first statements of policy from the British Government about how they see their future relationships with other powers. It may just be me, but there are straws that hint at a change in the wind.
Much is made of the “Special Relationship” between America and Britain. Mostly by British politicians looking for a bit of a boost back home. Remember how incensed Brown was when he was seemingly “snubbed” by Obama at just that moment when he most needed a lift in his ratings? Most of the relationship is, and always was rubbish. It was a fiction dreamed up by Churchill, standing in the ruins of a country broken by war, and trying to make the most of a very poor hand of cards. It was designed to win over a very sceptical British population who historically never really went a bundle on the bloody Yanks, and by the end of the War had had quite enough thank you. If it kidded anyone at all, Dullas did for it in the Suez debacle.
Now, step forward William Hague a short, balding, Yorkshireman with no nonsense flat vowels, the new British Foreign Secretary.
A 1950’s comic book baddy
He gave a little speech. Yes, there was the joint effort in Afghanistan, but surprisingly also a deadline. If it isn’t over by 2014 the Brits are out. It’s clear a section of the new Government has had enough. Ever odder, for a dyed in the wool old Tory, he was making overtures to Europe saying Britain will play its full part there. And in an echo of something very old and resonant, he turned to India, rebuilding bridges with the Commonwealth and the far east – Britain’s traditional markets .
Here was a recognition of a world beyond the Atlantic, of poles of power other than America. He was effectively saying that the time of a completely pure American hegemony – which had started with the fall of the Wall – is coming to its end.
In the wreckage of financial collapse, hints of some new alignments are stirring.
Copyright David Macadam 2010