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  • Tim Oliver

BFP10: 19.12.2022-15.01.2023 New Year, New Foreign Policy?

Apologies for the prolonged absence over Christmas and New Year. Below is a longer list than the usual weekly list of 10 reports, podcasts, twitter threads speeches etc. on British foreign policy that I've added to my Zotero database in the past week. Brexit continues to dominate (quelle surprise), but wider debates about defence have begun to appear. That’s not just because of developments in Ukraine but, of course, because of the forthcoming update of the Integrated Review. I hope in future you'll start to see more academic articles and reviews. I’m working on improving alerts from academic journals so expect more in future.


  1. House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee: Report — UK defence policy: from aspiration to reality? The report acknowledges the Government’s announcement that it will update both strategy documents (currently due to be produced in the first quarter of this year) but urges it to heed the Committee’s recommendations which address significant issues including a lack of clarity and purpose in the original Integrated Review. The Committee calls on the Government to set out its assessment of the developments of the last 21 months and provide a clear explanation both of its defence priorities and how it plans to translate the aspirational language of the previous reviews into practice.

  2. FT: UK defence chiefs seek funding increase to confront rising threats. Military has to replenish weapons stockpile and procure new equipment.

  3. The New European: Forget Johnson’s fantasies and forge a new strategy for defence. But above all, we need politicians to be prepared to explain to the public that defence is important and is not just for diplomats and think-tanks.

  4. FT: Sunak and Macron to attend first UK-France summit for five years. Two leaders will use meeting to foster co-operation on security and migration after period of frosty relations.

  5. FT: UK and Japan to sign defence pact to counter China threat. Rishi Sunak and Fumio Kishida will discuss Britain’s bid to join a free trade bloc.

  6. Chatham House: The Director’s Annual Lecture 2023Bronwen Maddox looks ahead to the challenges of the year and sets out Chatham House’s recommendations for change.

  7. Thin Pinstriped Line: A Priceless Pittance - The Benefits of the British Indo-Pacific Tilt.

  8. Prospect: What are ‘British values’? Under the veil of liberalism, politicians have manufactured an idea of Britishness that stigmatises and criminalises minorities.

  9. UKICE: The interconnected foreign policy priorities of an independent Scotland. Stephen Gethins examines what the foreign policy objectives of an independent Scotland would be, highlighting that as well as seeking EU membership, Scotland would need to prioritise establishing friendly relations with the UK.

  10. International Affairs: Victoria Honeyman reviews Brexit and its Aftermath, edited by Sophie

  11. New Statesman: Fifty years after joining the European Communities, Britain still doesn’t know what it is or wants. Britain’s unresolved Europe question is inseparable from its unresolved England question.

  12. FT: How much of a threat is Reform UK to the Tories? Formerly the Brexit party under Nigel Farage, it now seeks to capitalise on voter discontent with the ruling Conservatives.

  13. FT: How to fix the Northern Ireland protocol. Pressure is building on all sides to find a long-term solution and improve post-Brexit relations.

  14. FT: Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trading regime ‘too strict’, says Leo Varadkar. Irish PM admits compromise is possible as Brussels and London seek to reach deal.

  15. BBC: NI Protocol: UK legislation published for border posts at ports. The government has published legislation which will allow UK ministers to order the construction of border posts at NI ports.

  16. The Political Quarterly: Towards a New Ireland. Article by Neale Richmond. Despite all the contemporary difficulties that we face on the island of Ireland, twenty-four years on from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, there is a clear sense of hope for a better future. We should be optimistic for our shared future, even if we do not agree on what form that should take. We cannot discuss Northern Ireland or its future without acknowledging that Brexit has significantly shifted the conversation. Not only has it brought Anglo-Irish relations to a low not seen in the past twenty-five years, but it has also damaged the reputation of the UK internationally and brought the topic of Irish unity back to the fore of our political discourse.

  17. JCMS: The European Summit: A Critical Space for the Development of British-Irish Intergovernmentalism. Article by Darren Litter. The European summit is where the national representatives of European Union (EU) member states have their say on policy issues. It has also been posited, however, that its ‘margins’ are advantageous to the achievement of bilateral as well as EU consensus. This article uses the British-Irish relationship and the insights of British and Irish elite interviewees like Bertie Ahern, Sir John Holmes and Lord Robin Butler to demonstrate this function. Using a novel intergovernmental lens, it shows that not only was the European summit beneficial to this relationship but also it was integral to its transformation, in addition to the key 1985–1998 negotiation phases. The article is relevant to the Brexit context, substantiating the view that it will cause a deficit in the British-Irish relationship. It also serves as a basis for expanded study of the European summit space, and its dynamic contribution to strengthened relationships amongst EU member states.

  18. BCC: Brexit Trade Deal Not Delivering. New data released today from a survey of more than 1,168 businesses (92% SMEs) shows significant challenges for UK firms trying to use the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA).

  19. CER: The cost of Brexit to June 2022. John Springford’s latest update estimates Brexit reduced Britain's GDP by 5.5 per cent by the second quarter of 2022. His model avoids the cherry-picking of data, and performs better than its critics’ methods.

  20. UKICE: UK trade tracker: January 2023. In the third instalment of our UK trade tracker, we look beyond the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and compare the UK’s trade performance to other OECD countries, the G20, and the Euro Area. Data from the OECD, ONS, and CPB (Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis) was used. This instalment also includes, for the first time, interactive graphics that allow you to drill down deeper into the data.

  21. HMG: Inaugural Meeting of U.S.-UK Comprehensive Dialogue on Technology and Data. Senior representatives from the United States and the United Kingdom governments met in Washington, D.C., for the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-UK Comprehensive Dialogue on Technology and Data.

  22. House of Lords Library: UK and India collaboration: Roadmap to 2030. The UK government’s foreign and defence policies include a ‘tilt’ to the Indo-Pacific region. This includes developing closer collaboration with India across a range of areas. UK and India relations are framed by a mutually agreed roadmap to deepen bilateral ties by 2030 with the aim of developing a comprehensive strategic partnership.

  23. BFPG: The BFPG’s 2023 Foreign Policy Calendar.

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