I never buy newspapers, and I seldom look at them. But I did make a point of observing the collective blast of hot air from the political and media establishments when news was released of our latest entanglement with the Americans. Since we are a power of no standing outside our own territorial waters – hardly that, looking at the daily arrivals in Dover – there is nothing we can do to protect the Australians. In return for the pretence that we can, we have been signed up to an agreement that amounts to a declaration of war on China, effective on American demand. Our relations with the French, and therefore with the European Union, have been soured for years to come. However, I withheld judgement on this new alliance. It was, on the face of it, so reckless, so devoid of attention to our plain national interest, that it could only be our side of a deal with the Americans that would give us a very favourable trade agreement.
But there is to be no trade agreement. Boris Johnson turned up in Washington yesterday, to be reminded of our place in the American order of things. “The Americans do negotiate very hard,” he said ruefully. So, for all the vast dangers of this new military alliance, we are to have nothing in return.
I could make hard observations on America. It is a power in headlong decline, and it continues to act with the diplomatic bad faith and strategic incompetence that it could afford only when luck had given it no serious rivals. But why bother? Everyone knows what the Americans are and always have been. The problem is entirely on our side. Every other power knows that any deal with the Americans must involve payment up front. Despite nearly a century of experience to the contrary, our own rulers remain convinced that the Americans like us and will see us right.
Of course, Boris Johnson is in charge, and must carry full responsibility for this latest disaster. The man is a notorious fool. In Athens, he would, for less than he has done, have been fined or driven into exile. In Rome, he might have been thrown from the Tarpeian Rock. On the other hand, he is advised at every step in his dealings with Washington by an army of Foreign Office officials who appear to see their duty as the systematic betrayal of the country that pays their salaries and pensions. I imagine someone with a public school accent will be wheeled out in the next few days to explain that “Her Majesty’s Government doesn’t trade favours. Instead, we do what is right.” This may be followed by some meatless bone tossed our way from Washington, and then by more hot air from the usual suspects in London.
That is all I have to say about our present arrangements. I will end by outlining my own foreign policy should I ever take power as the front-man for a military coup. This goes as follows:
- Immediate withdrawal from any military alliance to which the United States is a signatory;
- Immediate withdrawal from any agreement that involves sharing information of whatever kind with the Americans;
- Immediate expulsion of all American armed forces stationed in this country and from British territory anywhere else in the world;
- Publication of all diplomatic and military correspondence with the Americans since 1936;
- Trade agreements and full diplomatic understandings with the Russians and Chinese.
I will add to this:
- Dissolution of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, plus any other entity set up to deal with foreigners, and the sacking without pension rights of all the officials there;
- A new Department of Foreign Affairs under my direct control, in which anyone known to have attended a fee-paying school will be ineligible for employment.
I may also revive this oath as required in public of every person taking any office of profit under the Crown, or employed in any other body funded by the tax-payers, or standing for any elected position:
I, A. B., do utterly testify and declare in my conscience that the Queen’s Highness is the only supreme governor of this realm, and of all other her Highness’s dominions and countries, as well in all spiritual or ecclesiastical things or causes, as temporal, and that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority ecclesiastical or spiritual within this realm; and therefore I do utterly renounce and forsake all foreign jurisdictions, powers, superiorities and authorities, and do promise that from henceforth I shall bear faith and true allegiance to the Queen’s Highness, her heirs and lawful successors, and to my power shall assist and defend all jurisdictions, pre-eminences, privileges and authorities granted or belonging to the Queen’s Highness, her heirs or successors, or united or annexed to the imperial crown of this realm. So help me God, and by the contents of this Book.
This all might, for the first time since 1659, give us a foreign policy in the interests of the English people.