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Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century

Between ambition and pragmatism

Edited by: Danielle Beswick, Jonathan Fisher and Stephen R. Hurt

Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century provides the first analysis of the state of UK Africa policy in the era of austerity, Conservative government and Brexit. It explores how Britain’s relationship with Africa has evolved since the days of Blair, Brown and Make Poverty History and examines how a changing UK political environment, and international context, has impacted upon this long-standing – and deeply complex – relationship. This edited collection provides an indispensable reference point for researchers and practitioners interested in contemporary UK–Africa relations and the broader place of Africa in British politics and foreign policy. Across twelve chapters, the book’s contributors examine how far UK Africa policy has been transformed since the fall of the 1997–2010 Labour Government and how far Conservative, or Conservative-led, Governments have reshaped and re-cast links with the continent. The book includes analyses of UK approaches to diplomacy, security, peacekeeping, trade and international development in, or with, Africa. The contributions, offered by UK- and Africa-based scholars and practitioners, nonetheless take a broader perspective on UK–Africa relations, examining the changing perspectives, policies and actions of political parties, advocacy groups and the UK population itself. The authors argue that the Afro-optimism of the Blair years no longer provides the guiding framework for UK engagement with Africa. It has not, however, been replaced by an alternative paradigm, leaving significant space for different forms of relationship to be built, or reconstructed. The book includes a foreword by Chi Onwurah MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Africa.

Open Access (free)

A World without a Project

An Interview with Celso Amorim, Former Brazilian Foreign Minister

Juliano Fiori

notably the New Labour government in Britain, with its ‘ethical foreign policy’, articulated by Foreign Secretary Robin Cook. What differentiated the Workers’ Party approach from the New Labour approach? CA: I am sure it is easier for someone on the outside to judge that than for me to do so. But why did I often talk about ‘non-indifference’? It wasn’t a qualification. It was a complement to ‘non-intervention’. In other words, where are the limits? I never thought to ‘bomb them into democracy’, first of all because we didn’t have the bombs. But I

Open Access (free)

Fabrice Weissman

organisation and the media may have bolstered the jihadist movement’s claim that they were spies, while enabling the British government to maintain, unchallenged, its intransigent no-negotiations policy ( Dettmer, 2014 ; Simon, 2014 ). In other words, while controlling information shared internally and with the public is one of the key factors in managing kidnapping cases, it does not always follow that a complete media blackout is necessary. ‘Pay, Don’t Say’ Dogma Aid organisations’ preference for quietly managing kidnapping cases is partly a function of private

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When the Music Stops

Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order

Stephen Hopgood

that the major Western powers have been complicit in creating (think Vietnam, Congo, Cambodia, Iraq, Syria, to name just a few). All of which confronts humanitarians with an existential choice. How might they function in a world which doesn’t have liberal institutions at its core? Human rights activists struggle given they rely on broad international agreement – treaties, customary law, courts, Western foreign-policy support – to do their work. Is humanitarianism any different? The version of global humanitarianism with which we are familiar might

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Post-Humanitarianism

Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design

Mark Duffield

solidarity with its victims. For a couple of decades it was successful in publicly challenging Western foreign policy in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia ( Duffield, 2007 : 51–4). Having once exercised a moral leadership, however, after a long struggle against donor absorption and UN control, an international direct humanitarian engagement finally yielded amid the horrors of Iraq and Syria. The War on Terror imposed limitations. Compared to the 1970s and 1980s, humanitarian agencies found their political room for manoeuvre significantly

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Frédéric Le Marcis, Luisa Enria, Sharon Abramowitz, Almudena-Mari Saez and Sylvain Landry B. Faye

: 4), has led ordinary Guineans to feel that a corrupt political elite defends only its own interests and those of foreign companies. And where people can only witness what they understand as predation, they turn to violent words or deeds as a means to be recognised. This has been well described with regards to youth politics in Conakry ( Philipps, 2013 ). The contested nature of traditional authority in Sierra Leone is similarly emblematic of state–society relations. British colonialism left behind a bifurcated state ( Mamdani, 1996 ), with despotic

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The Blair identity

Leadership and foreign policy

Stephen Benedict Dyson

Why did Tony Blair take Britain to war with Iraq? Because, this book argues, he was following the core political beliefs and style—the Blair identity—manifest and consistent throughout his decade in power. Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, and finally Iraq were wars to which Blair was drawn due to his black-and-white framing of the world, his overwhelming confidence that he could shape events, and his tightly-held, presidential style of government. This new application of political psychology to the British prime ministership analyses every answer Blair gave to a foreign policy question in the House of Commons during his decade in power in order to develop a portrait of the prime minister as decision maker. Drawing upon original interviews with major political, diplomatic and military figures at the top of British politics, the book reconstructs Blair's wars, tracing his personal influence on British foreign policy and international politics during his tumultuous tenure.

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New Labour and the European Union

Blair and Brown’s logic of history

Oliver Daddow

New Labour came to power in 1997 promising to modernize Britain and make it fit for the twenty-first century. This book studies Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's combined attempt to sell the idea of a European future to the British people. It is about the art of rhetoric, persuasion and the techniques of modern political communication, and the 'Europe question' in British politics. It traces the progressivist elements of New Labour's discourse on British European policy with reference to the place perceptions of history occupied in Blair and Brown's speeches on foreign policy. The book explains the idea of 'norm entrepreneurship' and how it can be adapted to help us think through New Labour's handling of British European policy. It focuses on various aspects of the politics, language and decision-making style of New Labour. Theoretical approaches to Euroscepticism to help us understand, through the empirical data in the speeches, how Blair and Brown constructed their identity as 'Europeans' against their perceived 'sceptical' opponents. The method of discourse analysis used to study the strategies Blair and Brown put in place to realize their goals, is discussed. The book presents the evidence on the ways in which the Prime Minister and Chancellor discursively constructed the Europe question as a matter of protecting and/or advancing vital British national interests. Trapped between a broadly hostile media and an apathetic public, Blair and Brown failed to provide the necessary leadership to see Britain to a European future.

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Peace, war and party politics

The Conservatives and Europe 1846–59

Geoffrey Hicks

This book examines the mid-Victorian Conservative Party's significant but overlooked role in British foreign policy and in contemporary debate about Britain's relations with Europe. It considers the Conservatives' response—in opposition and government—to the tumultuous era of Napoleon III, the Crimean War and Italian Unification. Within a clear chronological framework, the book focuses on ‘high’ politics, and offers a detailed account of the party's foreign policy in government under its longest-serving but forgotten leader, the fourteenth Earl of Derby. It attaches equal significance to domestic politics, and incorporates an analysis of Disraeli's role in internal tussles over policy, illuminating the roots of the power struggle he would later win against Derby's son in the 1870s. Overall, the book helps provide us with a fuller picture of mid-Victorian Britain's engagement with the world.

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Globalisation and ideology in Britain

Neoliberalism, free trade and the global economy

Craig Berry

The ‘globalisation’ concept has become ubiquitous in British politics, as it has in many countries of the world. This book examines discourse on foreign economic policy to determine the impact of globalisation across the ideological landscape of British politics. It critically interrogates the assumption that the idea of globalisation is derivative solely of neo-liberal ideology by profiling the discourse on globalisation of five political groups involved in making and contesting British foreign economic policy between 1997 and 2009: New Labour, International Financial Services London, the Liberal Democrats, Oxfam and the Socialist Workers Party. In addition to the relationship between neo-liberalism and globalisation, the book also explores the core meaning of the idea of globalisation, the implications for the principle of free trade, the impact on notions of the state, nation-state and global governance, and whether globalisation means different things across the ideological spectrum. Topically, it examines how the responses to the global financial crisis have been shaped by globalisation discourse and the value of ideology as an analytical concept able to mitigate debates on the primacy of material and ideational explanations in political economy.