Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Policy Statement

We will avert threats from foreign countries predominantly by diplomacy – ensuring good relations with all other nations, including meeting our foreign aid obligations.  However, we will also maintain our armed forces in a state of readiness to defend us from attack if that is a possibility.  We will address threats of human extinction internationally through United Nations initiatives.  These are global warming, meteor strike, nuclear war and possibly uncontrolled Artificial Intelligence.  Others may yet be identified.

Performance Reporting

An annual report summarising the overall level of threat using the defined scale (5 levels from Low to Critical) and preparedness therefor, assessing the quality of relations with each country and changes in the year, reporting on cost and actions taken and planned to mitigate.  Also the amount and effectiveness of our foreign aid programme.

Strategic Initiatives

Merge FCO, MoD and MI6

1 year: We will settle the organisation structure and management of the combined department and implement the merger

5 years: We will combine defence and diplomacy spending reviews appropriately to deal with the main threats

Regularise relations with the EU

Whatever position we inherit we will have to regularise relations with the EU. We don’t believe that either the referendum or the 2017 General Election gave a conclusive mandate.  It remains very unclear what the British people actually want.  But if we are still in the EU this can be fixed fairly quickly and simply.  It is possible that the people want a hard exit or even to remain.  But, we believe, it is more likely that they’d prefer one of three (or more) soft exit options:-

  • an exit with a Canada-style free trade agreement,
  • the development of a two-tier Europe where we and other second tier countries revert to the 1975 Common Market or
  • simply remaining in but with an emergency brake on immigration and a commitment to reform. 

We will use an agency like YouGov to determine what the people actually want – which option would give a national consensus.  We’d also test whether there was an appetite for a second referendum on this.  It would then be easy to negotiate with the other 27 countries because all three soft exit options are reasonable.  And even easier to negotiate in the unlikely event that the consensus was on hard exit or remaining. 

But if we inherit an unavoidable course towards exit then we will leave maintaining good and effective relations with the EU and keeping open the possibility of re-joining at some time in the future.

If we do end up remaining within the EU we will seek to make the appointment of President of the Commission more democratic and arrange for more reporting of European affairs in British media to promote interest. We will tease a programme of reform along, set up continual improvement mechanisms and maintain continuous discussion of proposals with all heads of state individually.

Maintain regular contact with all countries

The greatest problems of the world can only be solved by international co-operation, So we will give much greater prominence to relations with EVERY country in the world than it has had with previous administrations.

100 days: We will set a rolling programme for visits, one week in four, by the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and officials.

5 years and Longer term: We will implement and maintain the programme.

Set up a Group of Democratic Nations to reduce war risk

In general democracies don’t make war with democracies.   We will set up a group of democratic countries which others will aspire to join providing an incentive to convert to democracy.

100 days:  We will set up a task force to draw up the plans – define “democratic”, list countries to be invited to join, determine the benefits of membership.

1 year:  We will discuss the plan with leading countries and refine it.

5 years:  We will introduce the group and gradually develop it.  We will encourage and help countries who aspire to join to meet the democratic criteria.

Longer term:  Review progress, plan for a next stage to increase the Group’s influence

Mobilise the UN to address extinction threats

The threats that need international co-operation are global warming, meteor strike, nuclear war and possibly uncontrolled Artificial Intelligence.  The UN has initiatives on all of these but we want to make them more purposeful, better understood and better supported.

100 Days:  We will establish a task force to prepare the case and a presentation.

1 year:  The task force will test and refine the case in discussion with main allies

5 years:  We will put the case to the UN and take a role in implementing UN procedures.

Longer term:  This project will need to be pursued and maintained

Tackle climate change

We will take a full part in international action to combat climate change.  See the Department of Energy and Climate Change for the UK’s specific actions.

Review the approach to foreign aid – target one country to turn it around

The UK is committed to giving 0.7% of our GNP in foreign aid.  We support this – inequality is one of the worst problems on the planet.  But our giving is clumsy and ineffective.  We will give aid to a single country with the aim of raising its living standards to those of Thailand (say) within 20 years.  And we will encourage other donor nations to do the same.

The aid will probably be on infrastructure projects, schools, hospitals and Government administration.  As a side benefit of this approach we will use many of our young people, particularly unemployed, unskilled young people in the projects undertaken as a means of boosting confidence and self-esteem.  We believe the ability to tell one’s grandchildren “I made a difference to people’s lives” is a huge character former.

100 days:  We will commission a study to determine the most appropriate country to support and to set out the approach.

1 year:  We will agree the approach and implement it

5 years and Longer term:  We will review progress in the adopted country.  A subsequent Government might consider starting on a second country.

Through the UN regulate the power of multi-nationals

See Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

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