Saturday, December 03, 2005


... in Europe! Here the term is, as John Lloyd notes, for the most part, one of insult.
Nicolas Sarkozy burnished his credentials as a toughie during the riots in France, but he’s given no sign that his foreign policy would extend to agreeing with a strategy of spreading democracy.

In the US, the attacks on the Bush administration increase, from both liberals and conservatives. Will a future Republican candidate pick up Bush’s baton and remain as wedded to exporting democracy as he has been? And will a Democratic candidate craft a version of it? The answer to these questions might be, first, he will if he’s John McCain and, second, she will if she’s Hillary Clinton. [...]

If the US is the most important country in this regard, the UK is the most intriguing. Of the Labour cabinet, probably only one would have taken the decision to support the US so wholeheartedly in Iraq - and he was prime minister.
Thus there’s much to play for and, to make the play more interesting, a new society was recently launched at a crowded, sweaty reception in the House of Commons. The Henry Jackson Society is named for the US congressman who insisted that US governments consider the internal character of the states with which they deal. The society is seeking to occupy the ground of an intellectual buttress for these ideas which have come to be known as neo-conservative: a ground crowded in the US, but empty in Europe.
Its main movers are a mix of academics and policy wonks, with a few MPs. The Tories are led by Michael Gove, a former Times journalist and among the brightest of the 2005 intake. Labour is headed up by Gisela Stuart, the determined, German-born former junior health minister who, with the former European minister Denis MacShane, are the only two of the party’s MPs willing to put their signatures to the founding statement. Labour supporters among the organisers and signatories include the banker-writer Oliver Kamm and Cambridge historian Brendan Simms.
In the same issue of the FT Magazine, Lloyd also features in 'Epistles at dawn', an exchange of letters with John Humphrys on the role of the media. Just as a sample JL says:
we should take much more care and time to be carriers of debates that take place outside of the media - in parliament above all, but also in other assemblies, in conferences, associations, union meetings, ad hoc groups, boards - everywhere where citizens commune, argue and seek to agree. We need to be what we call ourselves - media, channels to carry other messages than those we create or affect. Above all, we can’t take the place of an opposition.


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