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  • Writer's pictureTim Oliver

British Foreign Policy Must-Reads 7-13 August: UK/London’s wealth, Brexit, Ireland, Energy, US-UK

If as the FT argued this week, the UK would as poor as Mississippi if it were not for London, then that begs the question of whether London can continue keeping the British end up. Pieces on both start this week’s British foreign policy must-reads. As always, there continues to be wealth of analysis about the effects of Brexit, with this week’s coverage including the economic impact, UK membership of Horizon, the effects on the UK art market, and a by now tedious recurring debate about whether the next step in Brexit is withdrawal from the ECHR. Let’s not forget Northern Ireland, with analysis this week on UK-Irish relations and how well the Windsor Framework is working. Finally, the UK is planning to host a major international summit on energy security next year, while it’s been Labour’s turn to talk about how they can advance UK-US economic relations. I might include something on channel crossings in next week’s list. The less said about the government’s pathetic ‘small boats week’ the better.

  1. UK prosperity—The FT: Is Britain really as poor as Mississippi? The answer says much about the monopolarity of the UK’s economic geography.

  2. London—Evening Standard: Housing shortages, strikes and empty offices: is London or New York coming out of Covid stronger? Both are loved, loathed and battling post-pandemic problems. But what can these rival metropolises learn from one another?

  3. Brexit-Economics—New Statesman: Adam Posen: “Brexit is a trade war by the UK on itself.” The US economist and former Monetary Policy Committee member on how Britain became so poor and where Labour is going wrong.

  4. Horizon—The Economist: Eyes on Horizon. Britain should rejoin the European Union’s main research programme without further delay.

  5. The art market and Brexit--The Telegraph Sotheby's owner blames Brexit for art market decline as profits tumble. Exit from the single market making it harder to import art, auction house warns.

  6. ECHR—New Statesman: Why can’t we just leave the European Convention on Human Rights?

  7. UK-Irish relations—The FT: Varadkar says UK reluctant to co-operate on Northern Ireland political crisis. Taoiseach urges London to work more closely with Dublin for resumption of Stormont.

  8. Windsor Framework—The NewsLetter: Analysis: How green is the Green Lane for goods under the Windsor Framework? There are situations in which it could fade or become blotchy. David Phinnemore and Lisa Claire Whitten examine the framework’s green lane for certain GB-NI goods.

  9. UK-Irish relations—JCMS: The European Summit: A Critical Space for the Development of British-Irish Intergovernmentalism, 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.

  10. Energy security—Politico: No global security without net zero, Grant Shapps warns Tories. Britain announces plans for major international summit on energy security in spring 2024.

  11. UAE--The FT: UK asked to obtain assurances from UAE over right to protest at COP28. Human-rights activists have reacted with scepticism to pledge by oil-rich Gulf state it will allow climate demonstrations.

  12. Ukraine—UKICE: Ukraine defines public opinion on foreign policy. Drawing on the findings of the British Foreign Policy Group’s Annual Survey of UK Public Opinion, Evie Aspinall explores how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shaped the attitudes of the British public towards foreign policy, driving a rise in interest in the UK’s role in the world.

  13. China—Bloomberg: HSBC Executive Slams ‘Weak’ UK for Backing US Against China. Ex-British diplomat says at closed-door event: UK is ‘weak’. Cowper-Coles says remarks were made in personal capacity.

  14. US-UK relations—The Guardian: Labour’s shared values with Democrats will aid UK-US trade deals, says shadow minister. If both parties win election in 2024, their ideological closeness would make them strong allies, says Nick Thomas-Symonds.

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