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The principles for Global Britain

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This new FPC publication recommends how the UK Government can decide the principles and values that should underpin its concept of ‘Global Britain’ and provides some strong suggestions of what they should be, set in the context of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy. The Integrated Review takes place not only in the wake of Brexit, COVID-19 and economic turmoil but in the global context of eroding confidence in liberal democracy and the buckling of the rule-based world order, challenged by authoritarians such as revisionist powers Russia and China.

This essay collection has been edited by Foreign Policy Centre Director Adam Hug. It includes contributions from: Michael Allen (Editor of Democracy Digest and Special Assistant at the National Endowment for Democracy); Dr Jonathan Gilmore (Lecturer at the University of Manchester); Dr Jamie Gaskarth (Reader at the University of Birmingham); Dr Catarina P. Thomson (Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter), Prof. Thomas J. Scotto (Dean of Learning and Teaching and Professor at the University of Glasgow), and Prof. Jason Reifler (Professor at the University of Exeter); Dr Nicholas Wright (Senior Teaching Fellow at UCL); and Dr Kate Ferguson (Co-Director of Protection Approaches).

The publication argues that there is a strong moral and strategic case for putting the defence of liberal democracy and open societies at the heart of UK foreign policy. It puts forward that the UK should take advantage of its new comparative diplomatic freedoms to be more nimble and able to take a lead on these issues. It welcomes the Government’s commitment that ‘the UK will remain distinctively open and global, working with our allies as a problem-solving and burden-sharing nation’, and argues that as an internationally focused middle power it should renew its commitment to a rule-based international order, putting in the hard yards behind the scenes working with partners and institutions both old and new to show it is still committed to multilateralism.

It recognises and examines the crucial importance of listening to the views of the British people and working with them to improve accountability and policy sustainability. However, there will be times when the Government will need to lead, using public diplomacy to better inform its own citizens.

It argues that having a clearly defined set of core principles and priorities- a ‘Global Britain values statement’- would make it easier to assess policy compliance and coherence against them. It would help give UK foreign policy both an ethical foundation- upon which its approach is built- and ensure there is an ethical core running through each policy, providing a solid structure around which to build Global Britain. It would also help UK policy makers and diplomats more effectively use the full range of tools available to the new FCDO and across government (including its newly independent trade policy) to better support those clearly articulated values.

Cover image by FCO under (CC)

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