Earlier this week, Boris Johnson backed a new post-Brexit international development strategy, focussed on advancing British interests and increasing soft power. The Boris factor ensured it got publicity, but also likely turned many people off instantly. However, after two years of navel-gazing and getting bogged down in withdrawal negotiations, the attempt to look to the future of Britain after Brexit was a welcome relief.
The new report, ‘Global Britain: A Twenty-First Century Vision’, attempts to add some much-needed policy-based substance into a debate dominated by sloganeering. Written by Bob Seely, a Conservative member of the foreign affairs select committee, and James Rogers, a strategist at the Henry Jackson Society thinktank, it at least recognises that international development will be essential to turning ‘global Britain’ from hot air and bluster to a tangible reality.
Where I believe it goes wrong is in calling for a cut to the budget, the merging of government departments and pulling out of the OECD’s forum of major international donors.