Britains influence on global affairs for over three centuries has been due not only to pragmatic considerations of its political, economic, and cultural power and influence, first as an Empire and then, after World War II as the USA's unior partner, but also for the ideas and values it stood for: a democratic system of government respectful of the rule of law and individual dignity that, despite glaring flaws and contradictions, steadily widened its ambit to ever larger numbers of its citizens and deepened it to cover more and more numerous issue areas.
An so we in Britain like to take pride today that for a middle-sized country of just over sixty million citizens we can still punch above our weight on the international scene. We are a founding member of the United Nations, where we hold one of the five permanent Security Council seats, as well as of NATO, where we are one of only 3 allies disposing of its independent nuclear force.
This gives us a prestige and weight on the international scene that only a handful of other states possess - or so we like to think. This view, mostly justified until the election of the Cameron government in 2010, was due to five key factors:
- Our position as the linchpin of three key power networks: the European Union, the United States, and the Developing world;
- Our superbly trained and equipped armed forces, still able to carry out military operations on their own or to play a credible junior role to the USA in NATO;
- Our unmatched diplomatic network of embassies and consulates around the word;
- Our permanent seat on the UN Security Council;
- London's special place as one of the world’s top leading Eco-Regions not only in the domain of finance, trade, services, and real estate, but also as one of the world’s top intellectual. Legal, and foreign policy circles hosting any number of think-tanks, NGOs, conferences, and publications in this field cluster.
All these five factors are today under threat primarily because of the policies of the current Cameron Government. As we have shown in our previous analysis, David Cameron has seriously undermined out relationships with our European and North American partners; he had imposed severe cuts on the budget of our armed forces whilst committing to spend no less than 167 billion pounds on a Trident program that adds little if any value to our safety and security; he has severely reduced our diplomatic presence around the world; and now with the BREXIT referendum and a strong possibility of a win by the ‘leave’ the EU side, he will cause further and incalculable damage to all five of these factors, but also to NATO, global security, and the very existence of the UK itself. As former foreign secretary William Hague recently stated, BREXIT could lead to a collapsing EU, weakened NATO, emboldened authoritarian and terrorist forces, the end of the Anglo-American ‘special relationship’ and the dismemberment of the U.K. itself. Not a clever day’s work indeed...
The United Nations itself is the vestige of a long gone world, dominated by Europe and the United States. There had long been a strong pressure to reorganise its institutions and especially the Security Council, by reassigning one single permanent seat for the EU as a whole and the fifth seat to India, as well as possibly adding two more permanent seats, meant for Brazil and South Africa. With Britain’s exit fro the EU and Scotland's likely independence the pressures on rump-UK to give up its UN Security Council permanent seat would intensify exponentially. What is beyond any doubt is that a rump-UK without Scotland and possibly also Northern Ireland would not only cease to be able to punch above its weight on the international scene, but would also loose most of its influence over and role in global affairs.