BFP10: 06.02-12.02 Zelensky in Parliament
Here are my British Foreign Policy 10 from the week that saw President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to the Houses of Parliament trigger debates not only about the UK’s approach to Ukraine but about the UK’s wider international strategy: 10 (or thereabouts) of the best reports, podcasts, twitter threads speeches etc. that I’ve added to my Zotero database this past week.
Ukraine — Zelenskiy’s speech to Parliament — BBC News: In full: Zelensky addresses UK Parliament in person. The Guardian: Churchill, a helmet and a plea for planes: Zelenskiy’s speech at a glance. The key messages contained in the Ukrainian president’s half-hour address in Westminster Hall. FT: Zelenskyy’s speech spurs UK to look at sending fighter jets to Ukraine. Ukraine’s president delivers impassioned call for ‘wings for freedom’ at historic address in London. New Statesman: Enraptured MPs put aside their squabbles for Volodymyr Zelensky. A packed Westminster Hall greeted the Ukrainian president’s call for fighter aircraft with whoops and cheers.
Ukraine — FT: Military briefing: how the UK took a vanguard role on arms for Ukraine. British leaders have been feted in Kyiv for their role in galvanising allies to provide weapons.
Strategy — FT: Sunak’s global search for friends and influence. The prime minister must refurbish damaged relations with Britain’s allies — including opponents in the Brexit wrangles. And The Guardian: The Guardian view on UK foreign policy: a post-Brexit void. Support for Ukraine is a good position that conceals an absence of strategic direction and engagement with the rest of Europe.
Defence — Defence & Security Monitor: The British Military’s Winter of Discontent. As the United Kingdom confronts labor disputes, a struggling National Health Service, a possible recession, and post-Brexit depression, the nation’s formerly renowned military faces its own reckoning.
Defence — The Times: Labour’s plans to overhaul armed forces. Britain should concentrate its armed forces in Europe instead of pursuing military expansionism in the Indo-Pacific, the shadow defence secretary will argue in a speech.
Brexit — FT: UK Supreme Court dismisses Northern Ireland protocol challenge. Two former first ministers among those who claimed agreement is incompatible with existing legislation. Supreme Court Ruling -- James Hugh Allister and others (First Appellants) and Clifford Peeples (Second Appellant) v the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and others (Respondents).
Brexit — FT: John Major warns UK government over plans to leave ECHR. Britain could be left among ‘pretty rum company’ over its efforts to control immigration, former prime minister says.
Brexit — FT: Brexit could be reversed — here’s how. Opinion is shifting but the public are running ahead of the politicians. And in The Guardian: Revealed: secret cross-party summit held to confront failings of Brexit. Leading Brexiters and remainers, including Michael Gove and David Lammy, met for two-day ‘private discussion’ with diplomats and business leaders.
Brexit — JCMS, Kathryn Simpson — Tabloid Tales: How the British Tabloid Press Shaped the Brexit Vote. This article focuses on the role of the British tabloid press (BTP), and specifically the eurosceptic press, as a ‘supply-side’ influence on the 2016 EU referendum. First, we focus on the BTP and its role as an ‘agenda-setter’ in shaping eurosceptic discourse regarding the UK's relationship with the EU. Second, we use content analysis of five tabloid newspapers – The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Express and The Daily Star to demonstrate the disproportionate pro-Brexit discourse prior to, and during, the EU referendum campaign. Third, drawing on opinion poll data, we show how this ‘bombardment’ approach influenced the electorate in the referendum campaign. Given the ‘knowledge deficit’ about the EU in the UK, we conclude that the BTP had a significant bearing on tipping the referendum vote towards Brexit.
UK-EU relations — JCMS, John Kenny — The Formation of British Attitudes towards the Common Market: 1957–72. This paper uses an extensive collection of historical surveys that have only recently been made available to researchers to examine the formation of British attitudes towards the then European Economic Community. It demonstrates that – up until 1967 – the demographic predictors of support for UK membership were unstable. Thereafter, coinciding with the second UK application, these attitudes started to stabilise and harden, with support becoming highest among men, the youngest age cohorts, the middle class and those with greater education. The renewed politicization of the issue in 1967 also coincided with Labour voters becoming significantly more likely to support membership. Following the change in the parties' positions, Labour voters subsequently become substantially less supportive than Conversative voters. The paper thus supports existing analyses on the role of elite cues, while providing new, robust evidence of the change in demographic associations over this formative period.