Here are my ten British Foreign Policy Must-Reads from a week dominated by debates about immigration and small boats crossing the Channel from France. I’ve not seen anything on Gary Lineker and Britain's international relations, but I’m happy to link to something if (or, more likely, when) it exists. Next week looks likely to be dominated by the budget (defence spending to go up, according to Bloomberg) and AUKUS (The FT reports the UK is to play a bigger role).
UK-France—UKICE: A more cordial entente? Ambitions for the UK-France summit. Amelia Hadfield introduces a new policy brief by the Centre for Britain and Europe, considering the state of Franco-British relations and what issues will be up for discussion at their bilateral summit on 10 March.
UK-France---IFRI: Rebooting the Entente: An Agenda for Renewed UK-France Defense Cooperation. The Franco-British Summit on March 10th, 2023, will mark a much-needed reset in bilateral cooperation, following years of strained relations. With a recently re-elected French president and a new British Prime minister, both sides are committed to making this summit a success and re-launching a positive agenda for bilateral cooperation. The summit, the first since Sandhurst in 2018, will focus on three key topics: migration, energy, and foreign policy. Defense cooperation will also be addressed, as it remains the cornerstone of the bilateral relationship, though it may take a less prominent part than on previous occasions.
Immigration---UKICE: The post-Brexit immigration system: where next? Jonathan Portes gives an overview of UK in a Changing Europe’s new report on the post-Brexit immigration system, highlighting what has happened to immigration policy and immigration trends since the Brexit vote and what might happen next.
Immigration---FT: Britain plans looser foreign worker rules to plug labour gap. Ministers to tackle chronic shortages by easing restrictions for construction sector.
Migrant Boats---UNHCR response—The Guardian: Rishi Sunak ‘extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in UK.’ UNHCR ‘profoundly concerned’ by bill that would allow government to criminalise, detain and deport asylum seekers.
Migrant Boats---Bloomberg: Rishi Sunak’s Tough Talk Won't Stop Migrant Boats. The UK is rolling out yet another deterrence policy with little chance of success.
Brexit---Foreign Affairs: Sunak’s EU Reset. How the United Kingdom Hopes to Mend Fences With Europe.
Brexit---PIIE: The Windsor Framework is welcome but doesn't solve Britain's Brexit headaches. The Windsor Framework signed at the end of February by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen brought expressions of relief throughout much of the United Kingdom and the European Union. The accord is certain to improve the UK-EU political relationship and facilitate the economic recovery of Northern Ireland as a full participant in both the EU Internal Market and the UK national economy. But this agreement, which focuses exclusively on commerce to and from Northern Ireland, will not make much difference for the broader UK economy. Northern Ireland's growth prospects will continue to be constricted by the persistent barriers introduced by Brexit—not least the rolling expiration of many temporary transition arrangements in key economic sectors forged to ease the United Kingdom's ill-advised withdrawal from the European Union. The Windsor Framework averts a collapse of UK-EU relations, but it does not "get Brexit done," as former Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised years ago.
Brexit---International Studies Quarterly: The Art of Brexit, by Benjamin Tallis. Brexit is widely acknowledged as an important event in recent international relations (IR) and emblematic of polarization in Western societies. This article challenges the conventional wisdom that the two sides of the Brexit debate (Leave and Remain) have little in common and that the division of British society into entrenched Euroskeptic/Europhile camps neatly corresponds to cleavages between liberal “cosmopolitans” and conservative “nationals.” Rather, I show that “Euroskeptic” positions are also found in “Europhile” culture. I focus on the British Broadcasting Corporation’s popular and prolific “Art of” collection of miniseries (nearly 40 hours of programming over a decade), which offers a significant but hitherto unexplored archive. I explore this novel empirical material by combining interpretive research with a “societal multiplicity” framework, which overcomes the methodological nationalism of some Brexit analyses, to demonstrate that this seemingly cosmopolitan, liberal programming also reproduces tropes of “Anglo-British” chauvinistic exceptionalism. I argue that this exceptionalism (across the divides) contributed to a mode of societal differentiation that helped drive Brexit and will continue to affect Britain's options and preferences for interaction and combination with other states and societies. This provides theoretically informed empirical analysis of IR “where we least expect it” and shows the policy value of cultural IR.
Iraq War---FT: The Iraq war left western societies unchanged. Twenty years on, the political and cultural legacy of a divisive war is minimal.